It’s that time of the year when the Western countries are winding down a little and are getting ready for the Christmas break and the New Year. I have always enjoyed the changed attitude of people around this time – as long as you can avoid shopping, of course. Here in Japan, Christmas is a purely commercial thing, and although I am not religious at all, this overemphasis on Santa Claus and Christmas baubles and pure commercialism does annoy me a bit. This is partly because Christmas cannot be further removed from Japanese culture, and partly because I am probably still longing for that childhood feeling of expecting something very special…

Hence, I have decided to make my own preparations for Christmas Eve and I have made myself an advent calendar. Traditionally, those are calendars meant for children filled with small pieces of chocolate for every day until Christmas, and this is even the first year I found one in a department store – imported from Germany, obviously. However, I went a slightly more adult route, so behold my very own advent calendar:

personal advent calendarIt’s not very obvious, so let me explain: On the right is a Christmas card from a friend of mine, who always sends me an advent calendar every year. I will open the windows as time goes on. The large glass on the left contains one piece of paper for each of the 24 (now: 21) days until Christmas, and on each paper there is a single “to-do” item for that day.

I have chosen things I really like to do, but very often don’t make time for in my schedule: “take a long bath in the evening”, “watch a movie”. Some things are expensive: “buy a box of chocolates”; others are free: “walk along the river”; some things involve people: “call friend x”; others are very personal: “make rice pudding”. Each day, I will draw one of my papers out of the glass and indulge myself.

What a pity I don’t have an oven here, otherwise I would have included “bake cookies” into my list. But then again, as I have found out over time, I am only inspired for that when it is snowing outside. And that is certainly not going to happen this year any more…

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