Every year since we found a home to fit the family, I have put up a Christmas countdown calendar. It is no ordinary one. I am especially proud of the idea since, as far as I know, it is my own. You see, come November I browse hundreds of pics captured in the previous year. It is quite a task. I pull out about fifty, focusing on different members of the family, now including our latest canine editions, a highly peppy Sheprador pup and a beloved canine cousin, an enormous Retriever in retirement, visiting with us for two years. I also include pics of old friends and friends in the making.
Then, each day after Thanksgiving, I ask a different family member to choose a new pic and we number it for our countdown. (Note: I haven't asked the dogs yet. ) Their choices, as well as my own, tell the tale of high points, happy moments, things too funny to believe and everyday memories. Where my advent calendar differs markedly from others is here: Even after we have exhausted all our days, I leave the calendar up on the wall. It only comes down to make way for the next year's string of photos. It not only furnishes happy memories. It serves as a constant reminder that there are more to make.
I love this time of year because more than ever, it is a time for reflection, evaluation and an affirmation of those things which count most in life. I'm sadly aware of the fact that I cannot start taking pics of my students. I would probably need a set of waivers or signed release forms to do so. So, the best memories created in my classroom must sit in my memory banks. Yet, they are comfortable there. Sometimes, it pays to focus on the positive--because, thankfully, there is still plenty of it. Wishing you happy holidays and happy days, no matter what you celebrate or how you count the days.