Today is the second day of the Filianic month of Astrea. It is also the second day of Advent. This is a hard time of year for me. I have a great deal of sad and painful things associated with what is, for most people, a time of gaiety and joy. I am, however, determined not to let this cast a shadow over things this year. As such, I am working on coming up with small celebratory things I can do each day of the months.
I am still working on my devotional journal. (I am actually a bit behind because of life complications over the last few months.) I am making a concerted effort to at the very least be grateful in my entries if I can not be joyful. It has been hard, though, because witnessing the atrocious things happening in the world, I have much fear and sorrow in my heart right now. It is my hope, however, that with focused effort, I will find things that will lift me up.
I was not able to locate an advent calendar for the boys that I liked. Most of the ones I found had strong Christian overtones (which is not surprising because that is the primary market for these things). I tried to find secular ones but those that I did find were constructed in such a manner where it was difficult to see the numbers on them. This leaves me in a position where I am seriously considering fashioning something of the sort on my own.
When the kids are at school, I will be making a paper chain marking the days until Yule. I am planning on doing something special with them weekly, at the very least. I have begun the process of getting things out of hiding for decorating for the season. In the past, I left holiday decorating until the last minute. Now, however, I am going to see if I can make arrangements to have a small tree that we can decorate a little bit every day. I don't think we'll be using all the fancy ornaments that we have in storage. No, I have decided that we are going to make our ornaments. I have egg cartons that will be turned into bells and snowmen with a few additional supplies. I have paper to cut into snowflakes and to make paper chains with. I have bags of popcorn to be popped and strung onto thread and hung up.
I'm going to try delving into my memories of what I did as a child to celebrate the holiday and see if I can reacquaint myself with the happiness and excitement I felt for this season when I was a girl. I have cleaned off the entertainment center in preparation to make a place where we might hang stockings. I figure on the day of Nativity, we can put on a youtube video of a crackling fireplace as we open presents. I look forward to taking my few trips for holiday shopping over the next few weeks. I do enjoy watching how the boys light up at the sights of the holiday lights and displays. I also love to watch them pick out presents for each other.
My stockpiling of empty quart sized jars will be soon turned into things like cookie mixes, hot cocoa mixes, and other goods that I will be giving as gifts. If I can, I am probably going to put the boys to work in fashioning these things. They've got some math skills now, I think it is a good time to get them started with how to measure things in the kitchen as a first step towards cooking. I don't know if I am going to get much done in the way of baking this year. As much as I would like to make some traditional foods such as Stollen and shortbread, I recognize that not everyone in my family would be interested in eating it.
My plan for overcoming the anger and grief that this time of year brings out in me is to fake happiness and cheer until I can make it happen. It may be that I tire myself out with this. But, a wise person I knew once said that happiness is a learned trait. I like to think that my late grandmother was right about that one. So, I'm going to try to teach myself how to be happy with this time of year. I will let the anger and such wait until January, if I can.