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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Also....Advent (an Alternative Advent Calendar, 2020)

This year I decided to once again use the digital Advent calendar creation site

However, I noticed that they don't live forever! That is why this blog post is happening.

For the calendar (doors conveniently opening for each day prior to Christmas, but locked shut until it is time), I used existing collage art I've created with sourced vintage images and my original cut up poetry. That's a project I call #digitalDADA

I then developed a tip / cheeky piece of advice or a suggestion that to some extent went with the image and sentiment of the cut-up phrase and was hopefully practical or inspiring. At the close of caption I end with "also..." (that's usually the cheeky bit); hence, the title of the calendar itself - "Also... Advent".

Let's take a look:


Day 1

Aloha is used for "hello", "goodbye", and "love"! Today, try showing some love and care for someone you don't normally chat with... reach out to an old friend, a quiet neighbor, a relative you don't see that often, a co-worker from a different team. Also, try out a shaka.

Day 2

Take an hour to completely disconnect from technology and others! Treat yourself to a date with your own mind. What can you imagine or create when you are not preoccupied with miscellaneous connectivity? Also, it's OK to bring wine to that date with yourself.

Day 3

Do you ever feel alone when together? Is there something on your mind you are suppressing from sharing with others? Silence isn't always golden. Take time today to start a conversation, ask an interesting question or share a silly joke to break from the frozen tundra of emotional distance. Also, one does not need to be a dad to tell a great "dad joke".

Day 4

It's been a dicey year emotionally, particularly when the media bombards us with negativity. Today, try to find the things that bring you even the merest glimpse of joy. Children are good at that - so are pets. Also, Dean Martin.

Day 5

It's a bit tricky to do a full-fledged mall storm this year and to be honest, who needs all that mainstream stuff anyway? This year, try shopping for unique hand-crafted niche items or even things that bring experiences rather than collect dust. Also, treat yourself to that artisanal Serbian butcher knife you've been longing for.

Day 6

Most of us lead pretty sedentary lifestyles and feel drained from work and this kooky year. Today try setting a timer every hour and do something completely different for 15 minutes - dance in place, doodle, do a face mask, take a power nap, write a poem, weed that garden. Also, tea - lots of tea.

Day 7

Have you ever decided to make potatoes au gratin instead of mashed? Blondies over brownies? Goth burgundy lipstick instead of gloss? Wasn't it delightful? Today challenge yourself to step out of your norm - change up your exercise routine, walk a different route, watch a musical instead of the news. Also, be careful you just don't make any rash tattoo decisions.

Day 8

It's time to banish the beige and bring on the bohemian! What's unique about you? Find that : and nurture it 'till it grows. Make an effort to avoid doing the same old same old - especially if everyone else is doing it, too. Also, your first step in this might be loading the dishwasher backwards.

Day 9

There's a reason Picasso had so many girlfriends and it wasn't his penchant for striped tees. Today tap into your sensual side and get artsy. Make something for pure aesthetics that doesn't even have a use. Better yet, share your creation on social media so we can partake in the glory of your hot artsy brain! Also, anyone can try a Pollack; it's pretty cathartic.

Day 10

The day we've all been waiting for! Holiday time is perhaps too carb-centric but let's face it the entire year has been one big loaf of sourdough. Life's short - make your grandma's cookies and savour that IPA (well, maybe not simultaneously!) Also, there is a reason leggings exist and it's not specifically "yoga".

Day 11

Flâneurie is the act of strolling, sauntering, roaming in a loafing way. Today take a wander or wonder around your town or neighborhood. Notice the architectural details of the commendable landscaping of those folks up your street with the fancy gardening tools. Don't forget to snap some macro photos and look up and down. Also, a walking stick will add to your flâneur flair!

Day 12

Napoleon Bonaparte noted (pun intended) that "music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows"... Today carve out some quality time with your headphones or hi-fi. Spin some bops. Embrace your inner deadmau5. Blast some Beatles or crank up The Cure. Also, don't forget to dance.

Day 13

It's Sankta Lucia Day and in Sweden they celebrate the light in the darkness by wearing candles on their heads (oh, and saffron buns). Get your goth vibe going today by reading Poe by Black Forest-scented candlelight, feeding your ambivalent cat, inserting a chiaroscuro photo into a baroque frame, or wearing velvet. Also, try some Swedish glögg; it's pretty goth.

Day 14

Halfway through December and stress can catch up with you. Today check yourself before you wreck yourself. The new year is approaching ...what are your goals? Are you on the right track or lost on a back road down by the river? Do some finding... identify what makes you fulfilled, and what inspires you to aim higher. Also, do not make weighing yourself any part of this.

Day 15

Decisions are great, but let's face it, a bit boring. Today bring on the serendipity and spontaneity. Throw out your plans! Do something in the spur of the moment. Also, try cutting bangs (fringe for the UK audience).

Day 16

To quote the 20th century philosopher known as Debbie Harry: "Dreamin' is Free". Today sort out your wild aspirations. It's OK if they seem crazy and did Elon Musk's. Writing them down is the first step in manifesting their reality. We need to stop merely existing and reach for the stars ( 'cause we are made of stardust, after all). Also, it's understandable if you're dreaming of that Tesla Cybertruck.

Day 17

We’ve had to change up our concept of “fun” this year - concerts, parties, sports games have all disappeared thanks to social distancing measures. Today think of ways you can still infuse “fun” into your life - perhaps even repurposing elements from the “old fun” into the “new fun”. Play Pictionary with your family? Bake cookies with your aunt over FaceTime? Have a Zoom cocktail party with friends from all over the globe? Also, Netflix watch party is the new slumber party.

Day 18

Dopamine Day! Try on your cutest shoes, sip that whisky you’ve been saving, cuddle your kid, kiss that special someone, pamper your pet. Today is about reveling in all the feels. Also, it’s ok to watch a soppy holiday rom-com at this point.

Day 19

Today’s about traveling back in time, taking a trip down memory lane. Drag out those old home movies, pop in that claymation Christmas flick from the seventies, peruse through heirloom photo albums, or re-invent your mom’s meatloaf (this time, vegetarian?) ...”nostalgia” comes from the Greek “return to suffering”, so it’s ok to shed a sentimental tear whilst yearning for days of yore. Also, a reminder that if you actually wore it in the eighties it’s probably not a good idea to wear it.

Day 20

We all know this year has put a kibosh on travel and large get-togethers. This means you are likely missing someone dear to you you can’t be near to you. Take time today to reach out to them from afar. Also, even a texted gif with “miss you”, preferably involving a cat or Keanu Reeves, will do wonders.

Day 21

As Christmas approaches so do the crafty cocktails. Try some new brew or elixir this season, maybe with frozen cranberries or a sugar-frosted rim. If you’re not into hooch whip up a sassy mocktail - an oversized ice cube and fancy-schmancy crystal hi-ball glass will compensate for the lack of booze. Also, keep it festive not FUBAR.

Day 22

Let’s admit that sometimes it’s hard to hold everything together during the holidays. Sometimes seasonal anniversaries bring up painful memories or at the least, melancholy under the mistletoe. Remember that people love you for you, not what you do. Everything doesn’t need to be “the best ever”, nor does it have to be picture perfect for Instagram. Also, gingerbread men with wonky bodies taste just as good and can be strategically camouflaged with Royal icing.

Day 23

What gift do you bring to the party? No, not hot artichoke dip, Belgian chocolates or a nice ficus plant....what is the gift of YOU? Today concentrate on being fully “present” (pun intended) with the folks you encounter. Look people in the eyes, listen attentively, touch them gently on the arm. Also, half the gift is in the wrapping so package yourself up nicely with a new frock or tie.

Day 24

Silent Night... all is calm, all is bright. Today is your time to cast aside all the hullabaloo of the past month (and year!) and focus on your blessings. Instead of a list for Santa, why not jot down all the things and people you are thankful for - yes, even that little spider friend on the kitchen window sill who murders all the ants. Also, leaving out cookies and a carrot for the reindeer is a good idea... just in case you haven’t been that naughty.

The original digital calendar can be found here (though it might not stick around for long):


If you would like to purchase any of my #digitalDADA or apply them to a product please let me know.

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