There was a time of my life when I truly disliked Christmas. I used to hate it when my parents made me go to family reunions and lunch with their friends––instead of, for example, letting me go see the Colombian show jumping finals––and I hated that you had to give presents to people just out of compromise. I also hated having to see all the inequality my country––and the rest of the world, although I probably didn't realise it back then––emerge in front of my eyes, after receiving lots of presents, yet seeing kids starving on the streets.
And although I still sort of dislike having to do things just because it's Christmas, and I honestly think we have a lot of room to improve in terms of humanitarian affairs and equality, I would never say I hate Christmas anymore. I actually love it, and I would even dare to say it's my favourite time of the year––except it's a little too cold!
What I love the most––and you probably know it by now––are the fairy lights! I love how they are the basis for any sort of Christmas decoration and how they always make the coldest of winters a bright and happy one. But I also love doing small things that will make me––and hopefully others as well––happy. So I decided to build a small Advent Calendar, with one action a day, to help me get prepared for Christmas!
December 1. Attend the lighting of the Upper West Side Holiday Tree
December 2. Call grandma & grandpa
December 3. Finish working on my Christmas crafts
December 4. Write holiday cards for my loved ones
December 5. Send out the holiday cards I write
December 6. Attend my first long running session of the winter
December 7. Light some candles in honour of one of my favourite Colombian traditions
December 8. Visit a museum
December 9. Go ice skating!
December 10. Start decorating my Christmas tree
December 11. Toast for the end of the academic semester
December 12. Go out for a very long stroll around New York
December 13. Watch Christmas movies in bed all morning––Home Alone, The Grinch...
December 14. Hug my sister and my mum
December 15. Drink a huge cup of hot chocolate––made the Colombian way!
December 16. Sing carols with my family––we're not very good singers, so it should be fun!
December 17. Visit the Jingle pop-up store
December 18. Sing happy birthday to my daddy––even if it's on the phone and long distance
December 19. Walk around NY seeing the Christmas lights
December 20. Visit one of the holiday markets in Brooklyn
December 21. Have a huge and happy brunch at home
December 22. Go see The Nutcracker
December 23. Write a thank-you letter to Santa
December 24. Cook dinner for my family
Photography: Laura Beltran-Rubio