For a change of pace, I’ve decided to add a bit of fun to the site in the spirit of the festive season. Basically it has very little to do with living with CFS or chronic illness, and more to do with celebrating this festive time of year. AND you can win a prize just for taking part.
My Love of Christmas Decorations
Since going on exchange to Germany in 1988/89, when I purchased my first Christmas decoration from the Nurnberg Christkindlesmarkt, I have been collecting Christmas decorations from all over the world. My aim has always been to get one from every country – a bold aim, admittedly, but I am definitely a person of bold aims!
The magic and wonder created by the whole spectacle of Christmas lights and stalls full of gorgeous decorations at the famous Nurnberg Christkindlesmarkt was indicative of one of the many things I love about this festive season – the visual beauty that lights up my heart and spirit!
Give Me Colour & Pageantry!
I have written about this elsewhere about my love of this time of year – “A Season to be Jolly” – but basically, I love any excuse to add a bit of colour and pageantry to our otherwise often-monotonous, grey lives managing CFS and all the other stresses of everyday life. I am the queen of the dress-up and I love any reason to decorate the house with bright decorations, tinsel and anything colourful. So Christmas is the perfect time for all that – and more and more people seem to be embracing it, which I love!
Now, despite being quite a spiritual person these days, I do not identify with any particular religion, although I was brought up in a Christian household and a country dominated by Christian beliefs and history (Australian if you don’t know!). But the thing is, I don’t think it matters what your personal religious/spiritual beliefs are, or whether you have any at all, I still think we can all get something out of the joyous atmosphere this season brings.
Not A Joyous Time For Some
Now, for some people, certain sad memories will pop up in this festive season, whether it’s due to the death of a loved one this year or in years past, whether it’s due to the magnification the season seems to put on our illness-based challenges, or whether it’s due to loneliness when everyone else seems to have someone to connect with and you don’t. I don’t deny these things put a dampener on what is generally considered a happy time of year.
Now, this may seem a big ask, but I’m going to ask anyway. Regardless of what you’re dealing with right now, I invite you to embrace the Christmas/festive spirit with me and see if you can, indeed, bring some festive cheer to yourself and others.
The Joy of Giving, Friends, Family & Celebrating Life
To me the festive season is no longer about what lovely gifts I get given (as it was when I was a child), but more about the celebration of the best the human spirit has to offer.
The celebration of friends and family, the gratitude of acknowledging what we have compared to so many others less fortunate, and, for me, it’s about the joy of seeing someone else’s face light up when I give them a gift that warms their heart (I’ve always loved creating gifts that are very personal to the person I’m giving them to).
It’s also about the way people from all walks of life spend hours and hundreds of dollars decking their houses out with lights and ornaments, just so other people in their community can get joy out of them. Remember, the owners of the lights are in their houses most of the time, so can’t really see their lights. What other time of year do people put so much effort into to giving joy back to their community?! I don’t think there is one – at least not in Australia.
So Let’s All Get In The Festive Spirit – The Get Up And Go Guru Festive Photo Challenge!
Now saying all that, let’s have some fun!
I have told you of all my Christmas decorations, many of which I have enlisted others to purchase for me in their world travels (particularly my Aunty who does a lot of travelling). What I’m going to do is create a board of my Christmas decorations on Pinterest, and I will also be trying to complete my “collection” of world-wide Christmas decorations by finding them on the internet and “pinning” them to my board.
Now, I only signed up for Pinterest yesterday, so nothing like learning on the job! I also signed up for Instagram, so that if I come across a particularly beautiful Christmas display while out and about, I can photograph it and put it up (once again, learning on the job folks, so don’t expect big things!!).
What I’m inviting you to do is join me in creating boards on Pinterest (or another platform) of joyful photos that light up your heart during this festive season – whether it’s your own Christmas tree, your own decorations, you dressed up for a festive party, beautiful festive lights in your town, a gorgeous window display that delights your senses or one of the many great Christmas images/blog on the net. I don’t mind what it is as long as it LIGHTS YOU UP!!
I was going to suggest posting a daily photo/pin on Pinterest or Instagram, then tweeting it, but due to our community having CFS and other chronic illnesses, I think that would be too demanding (even for me!).
So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to just post/pin 25 festive-based photos onto a Pinterest board by December 22nd. As you post, share, share, share on Twitter and Facebook and any other social media platform you use, so that you share the Christmas/festive cheer with as many people as possible. The hashtag we will use is #spooniefestivepics.
Now, as I said, I’m way behind re Instagram, but if you can make albums in that (really need to do my research, but I’m running out of time!), please do so, then hashtag it and share it with us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I’m also investigating an app that I read about called Pinstagram, which links the two platforms together, so stay tuned for an edit once I look into it.
AND You Can Win A Prize
On December 23rd I will be choosing a participant at random and they will win an audio book of their choice from Audible (if you are not an Audible member you have a 30 day free trial option, and I believe if I send you your gift you will be able to use it as long as you sign up for that trial – you also get 2 free books in the trial I believe, so that would add up to 3 books! Then, if you wish, you can cancel your membership after 30 days). Some of the books on Audible would cost almost $100 to buy and some (like the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series that I’m such a huge fan of!!) give you up 65 hours of listening pleasure!
The only condition for entering the competition is that you like my Facebook page and post at least once on Twitter or elsewhere using the hashtag #spooniefestivepics. Oh, and you have to have 25 pics/pins up on Pinterest or Instagram by 22nd December. You can put them up a day at a time or all up together. It’s up to you!
You can also put them in an album on Facebook, but if you do use another platform to display your photos, just make sure you post the link on Twitter with the hashtag #spooniefestivepics so I can find you.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this bit of festive fun (on Twitter or in the comments section). I thought of it the other day and wanted it posted by December 1st (as it still is in some parts of the world!).
Despite my lack of experience with Pinterest and Instagram, I decided to try using these platforms as they seemed most suitable for the activity. I’d be very happy to hear from any of you who are much more familiar with these platforms if you have suggestions for how I could improve the workings of this comp.
Really, I just wanted to have a bit of fun with the community, plus get us all focussing on something that makes us smile (even if it’s only for a short while in our day).
Happy Pinning and photographing everyone!
Keep Smiling – Louise