The Zen of Christmas

Keep it Simple

As you are all probably well-aware of, Christmas has become the most over commercialized holiday on record.

Where are those Christmas Day’s that saw us making presents for each other, or simply buying one token of appreciation for that special someone instead of amassing them with a dozen gifts whilst maxing out your credit card?

It all seems a bit over-the-top to me.  Christmas has gone haywire!  We overspend, over-consume and over-indulge.

A Change for the Better

In an attempt to rekindle the spark of this festive season, my family and I have decided to get together for a celebratory meal, to exchange gifts that are either home-made or to stick to a budget of no more than around $8.00 (or a really nice idea is to donate to a cause close to their heart, in their name).

The focus is going to be on having fun, counting our blessings and having the honour and privilege of being together.

Bring the Sparkle Back with Simplicity

Let’s try to bring back the magic to Christmas by making things simple.

  • Prepare a simple meal (you know what I mean — most people go way over the top and end up cooking for a small army).
  • Make, or even better, bake your gifts!  There’s nothing that says you care more than a gift from the heart (especially a tasty one!).
  • Simply be kind to everyone you meet (you should try to make this an everyday practice and not just a seasonal tradition — but to start at Christmas-time would be a giant leap in the right direction).
  • Instead of hyping yourself up with all the preparations and festive manic fiasco’s, do a ‘go slow’.  Maintain a calm and peaceful resolve and enjoy yourself — make it about fun and festivities, not chaos and tears.  I promise you will get more done this way.  Simplify and you will gratify.
  • Try to play it safe this season.   Limit the alcohol intake, the traveling (unless you really have to) and on pain of death — don’t combine a mixture of the two!

Free Zen e-card and Festive Timeline

Below you will find a free zen e-card that you can send your family and friends and you can jazz up your Facebook timeline with this zen-themed picture for the season.

Here is your free zen Christmas e-card (click on the picture, right-click and ‘save as’ to your computer, then upload from your computer or just simply copy and paste into the e-mail):

Here is your festive zen-themed Facebook Timeline (click on the picture, right-click and ‘save as’ to your computer, then upload from your computer onto your Facebook page as a cover):

Check out the ‘Zen of Life’ HERE

Other posts you may enjoy:

Zen Christmas Wallpaper

The Zen of Life

Gift Ideas for Christmas…Part 1

Part 1 – Getting an Idea

As unbelievable as it is, Christmas is starting to loom over the horizon.  I don’t even want to go into the fact that time is definitely speeding up because it is of no actual help to us when we start to think of the panic and mayhem of the ‘silly season’.

So, this weeks art blog is going to be one of many, leading up to Christmas, on getting creative with gift ideas.

Feel free to post/comment anything that you have discovered that is of help in the great gift ideas department!

Today I am going to be talking about the wonderful idea of designing your own products.  There is a great store called Zazzle, that allows you to customize designs that are already available or, if you are feeling creative, to design your own products.

Zazzle Dazzle!

It is easy to open an account with them and only takes a few minutes to get started.  They also offer tutorials on how to make a start.  Click here to go to the store.

The excellent thing about Zazzle is that you can send the product directly to the person you are making it for and you can add a personal message with the gift for them.  Nothing could be simpler!  Just the click of a button.  This makes it so easy for those loved ones overseas that you want to send something to.  Zazzle also offers affordable products – there is something to suit every pocket.

All that you need to do is upload a photo onto a mug, T-shirt or any one of their massive product selection.  Or you can really get creative and start working on your own masterpiece (maybe you already have some art or sketches ‘lying around’ gathering dust from yester year).  All that needs to be done is to get a good quality digital image of the desired picture and you can start designing your own product.

Sounds easy?

Well, it is!  Get creative – design your heart out (you can even slip in a bit of doodling at the office while no-one is watching…although I don’t want to get you fired – perhaps leave it for your lunch break).

There is no excuse for not finding some idea that will work and that is yours…this is your chance to show your family and friends at Christmas how innovative and productive you really are.  And besides a little head-swelling, you are giving them something from the heart.  Your personal creation.

Right, this all sounds really fantastic but I have no ideas – where do I start?

To get you started, here are some useful tips…

  • What are you passionate about?  Horses, dolphins, flowers, a great sunset, anime, stick art, collage, patterns?  Start from here and brainstorm…
  • What style do you like?  Simplistic, photographic, 70’s retro, digitally enhanced images, hand drawn?  Figure out how you are going to implement the design…so for instance you have a great photo of a flower but you like impressionist style painting – well, most computer programs offer special effects that you can apply to your image.  Play around with different effects and most important, have fun!
  • Do you have a great photo of someone that you can use to create a personal gift with – this has to be the most simple way to give a unique gift.  Just remember to make sure that they also like the photo – there is nothing worse than getting a beautiful photo framed for someone only to find out that they think they look ‘hideous’.  If you do this you may have to redirect them to my article on yesterday’s blog ‘Do you take things personally?’…just for a laugh. 🙂
  • Try recognizable signs and symbols if you are having a tough time figuring out what to do.  Peace signs, hearts, stars, emoticons…there is a wealth of stock available for you to use.  Just make sure you add your personal touch to it.
  • If you are really stumped then do a Google photo search for images that you are interested in and start to work out a plan from there.  Be careful not to use someone elses work for copyright reasons.  You can get ideas but don’t be a copycat.

If you truly don’t feel like going to the effort of creating your own masterpiece then here are some unique gift ideas from my store that you can personalize (add a name or phrase to)…

    

Or you can visit the store here

Remember that you can personalize these products when you are in the store (click on the ‘customize’ button at the bottom right hand side of the product).

Stay tuned for more gift ideas in the weeks to follow and don’t forget to share your comments and inspirational ideas for the festive season.