When we were living in Brasil back in 2008-2009, I got many opportunities to stretch my creativity. One of my favorite times was at Christmas. Since Christmas falls right in the middle of summer, it feels more like the Fourth of July. It was steaming hot and very green. Nothing like the freezing white and gray of Michigan. One of the problems we encountered while preparing for the holiday was the lack of a Christmas tree. Although there were pine tree growing in our neighborhood, we didn’t see any lots selling trees. I heard there might be some in Sao Paolo, but I also heard the price they were asking was obscene. So instead of buying a fake tree (which is what most well-to-do Brasilians do) I decided to do something different. I had Blake bring home a bunch of old blueprints from work. Fortunately they’re not actually blue, they’re white, and they’re big, measuring 2′ tall by 3′ wide. I taped three of them together, creating a sheet of paper that was 6 ‘ long and 3’ wide. A couple of lady friends of mine, (also expatriates) joined in and we all drew the outline of a Christmas tree on the back of the big sheet of paper. Then we had our kids put their hands in tempera paint and then made hand-prints starting at the top and working all the way down to the bottom. Like so… After it was dry, we cut it out and taped it to the wall. We put ours outside in the backyard kitchen area. Then I taped string lights on it in a zig-zag pattern. We cut out a whole bunch of snow flakes from white paper and then taped those over the wire of the string lights, creating a “garland”. Then we made ornaments by cutting circles out of red construction paper, covering them with glitter. On one of our walks around the neighborhood, we collected pine cones from beneath the pine trees, tied yarn around the top and hung them from the tree as well. Then I had Garrett paint a yellow star, covered it with glitter and we taped it to the top. Viola! We had our very own Christmas tree. It worked out GREAT! I didn’t have to water it, or pick up pine needles. Nobody ever knocked it over, and we could still fit presents under it. Although it took us a little over a week to finish putting it all together, taking it down was a snap. I pulled the lights off of it and then rolled it up, put it in the barbecue and lit it on fire. Within minutes it was all gone. No stress, no fuss.
It was a really, really weird Christmas that year. We had a whole bunch of people over for dinner, which was wonderful, and instead of trudging through snow, we went swimming. I remember laying on a floaty thing in the pool with Garrett, singing Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Just weird, you know?! But it was fun and it gave us an opportunity to stretch our creative muscles. Instead of worrying about what we couldn’t have, we created something completely unique and fun.
So what about you, my friendly blog reader? How are you stretching your creative muscles this year?
I’d love to read about it in the comments below.