Here we are again. It’s the first of December and the holiday season is now officially in full swing. We’ve been bombarded with Christmas related advertising since October, but now it’s time to get serious. There is the gift list to make, shopping, buying, ordering, wrapping, decorating, card writing, cantatas, school programs, office parties, church parties, school parties, baking, cleaning, and trips to make. The list goes on and on and seems impossible to get done. I know we all have dreams of the perfect Christmas season. We want this to be the “hap – happiest time of the year.” When in reality so much is happening that our Christmas spirit can be stolen. If we’re not careful the season can become one of misery with tears, frazzled nerves, and frustration.
In all honesty, Christmas is what we make it. We can choose to be loving, generous, peaceful, and joyous. We just might need a little help to unwind each day. There are many suggestions on how to relax during the holidays - listen to joyful music, drink a cup of hot chocolate, sit by the crackling fire, read holiday stories, take a nap, light candles, take a walk, or simply sit in the dark and gaze upon your beautiful Christmas tree. Keeping joy in the season means we must get rid of some of that stress and here's another idea that might help you relax.
Coloring allows us to switch off our brains from stressful times and focus only on the moment. MaryGrace Berberian, a certified art therapist and the Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU says, “coloring definitely has the therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus, or bring [about] more mindfulness.”
I have always loved to color. Some of my earliest memories involve coloring. I remember my mom coloring with me. So, when coloring books came back into popularity, I had to have one. Well, honestly, I have more than one!
Here's what I like about coloring:
- There are no rules. Color the sky green and the grass blue. Color outside the lines. Scribble if you want to. The season is stressful, your coloring shouldn’t be.
- Coloring distracts and takes my mind off the busyness of this season. There is something so soothing about the rhythm of coloring.
- Supplies are readily available and fairly cheap. I have bought coloring books for as little as $1 or even found pages free online. Crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, watercolor pencils, or markers are pretty cheap, too.
- Small coloring books and pencils are portable. I can take them with me almost anywhere. I can color while I eat my lunch or while waiting for an appointment.
- I don't have to color for long periods of time. Just a few moments when I'm feeling stressed or at the end of the day.
(The coloring book on the left is a reproduction of a coloring book I had as a child.)
Coloring is a wonderful family tradition. When my daughter-in-law’s family gathers during the holidays they all color a page in Christmas coloring books Then they sign and date them. I think this is such a special tradition. Imagine sitting down each Christmas and looking back through those coloring books. Reliving the memories of special times with family. Maybe this year would be a good year to start the tradition in your family.
I could go on, but I think you really don’t have time to read a longer post and you get the picture. Coloring can bring relaxation and now is the time we need it!
I’ll end with a few links of free coloring book pages. I’m not endorsing any of them. I just did a Google search and found a few links with pretty pages. You can start coloring today. Just print one out, find some colors, and have fun.
The next two sites offer Christmas themed pages.
If you become serious about your coloring, there are even magazines and web sites available with tutorials. My favorite coloring book artist is Johanna Basford. Check out here website, she has some good tutorials. Alisa Burke is another coloring book artist I like. She has an article with tips and tricks for using crayons.
Even if you don’t have any desire to color, I hope that you’ll find your own special way to make this the “happiest time of the year.”
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One more thing before you leave. Today starts a new monthly photo focus. We’d love to see some celebratory bokeh on our Flickr page and IG stream. We all have favorite decorations and traditions so let’s bathe them in bokeh. After all, the is just about the most bokeh-licious season of all!