Dec 182020
12 Days of Christmas Challenge

This year, I’m doing something different to my usual gift guide. I want to focus on things other than “stuff”. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to spend more time with family, think about our communities, and prioritize issues that are important to humanity. For my 12 Days of Christmas Challenge, I set myself goals over this festive season to focus on the positives, and the things that are important. I encourage you to make your own list of 12 challenges! As you’ll see below, I included a mix of personal well-being objectives, charitable commitments, productivity goals, and family/friends centered activities. Feel free to share in the comments if you want to do any of these things this Christmas, or if you have activities in mind you’d like to do. It can be anything from not worrying about the prefect Christmas meal, to attending a church service, volunteering, or eating lots of cookies!

Gift guides from previous years: Christmas Gift Guide 2019?Christmas Gift Guide – 2018 ?Christmas Gift Guide – 2017

Blenheim Lights 2020
A photo Lucy took at the Blenheim Christmas lights 2020


1st Day of Christmas

GRATITUDE – I want to focus on appreciating what I already have. This year has brought to the foreground globally poverty, grief, loss, unemployment, abuse, poor health, corruption, and environmental disasters. I just want to try my best to focus on gratitude.

2nd Day of Christmas

MENTAL HEALTH – I want to gift myself self-care this Christmas. Depression, for me, is like the tide. You forget about it most of the time, and then it starts to lap at your ankles. If you don’t pay attention, before you know it you’re adrift with very little motivation to find your way back to shore, or you’re drowning. I need time to re-charge and look after myself.


3rd Day of Christmas

BAKING – I want to set myself the enjoyable task of baking three items on my Christmas holidays. I’m planning on baking: butter tarts, shortbread cookies, and gingerbread cookies… and maybe more? 🙂

Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts and Mince Pies – a new beginning

Traditional Shortbread Cutouts ~ Four Variations

4th Day of Christmas

BOOKS – I would like to try and read 4 books this Christmas vacation. I’m close to reading my New Year’s goal of 20 books for 2020, and I’ve really enjoyed reading this year as escapism. On my “to read” list are: This Changes Everything (finish), The Western Wind, The Thursday Murder Club, and The Innocents.


5th Day of Christmas

CHARITY – I made 5 charitable donations this Christmas. It wasn’t anything massive, but I just wanted to give back where I could. Donations are a hugely personal decision, so do what’s best for you. I donated a toy via The Giving Tree initiative for Kids Out, which supports children in refuge in the UK. I donated to Earth Trust, which is an Oxfordshire environmental charity. I have made donations to the RSPCA, to help out the critters, and Mind, which is a mental health charity. We are also making weekly food donations when Lucy does the grocery shopping.

6th Day of Christmas

EXERCISE – I would like to do a minimum of 6 hours of exercise over the Christmas break (excluding Wilbur walks). That doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve only had the motivation to do a few 10 minute workouts recently, so 6 hours is an ambitious goal to help me feel healthy this indulgent season.

7th Day of Christmas

FILMS – My goal is to watch 7 Christmas movies during my annual leave. On my list are: The Santa Clause (already watched), The Holiday, Home Alone (1&2), Elf, Just Friends, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Love Actually!

Wilbur Watching TV

8th Day of Christmas

SNUGGLES – I’d like to have 8 snuggle sessions with Lucy and Wilbur on the sofa. This shouldn’t be difficult since we do this most nights!

9th Day of Christmas

CATCH-UPS – I would like to video chat, or at least email, with a minimum of 9 people. Christmas is the time that I schedule catch-ups with friends and family in Canada, because it’s easier with the time change when I’m in Vancouver. Nevertheless, I will try my best to connect with as many people as possible this season!

10th Day of Christmas

PRODUCTIVITY – For some people, work is the last thing they want to think about during the holidays. But, I use my annual leave as an opportunity to work on my blog. I have some archive editing to do, Pinterest pins to make, and content to pre-write for the New Year. I’m aiming to do 10 hours of blog work… but I don’t really think of it as work.

11th Day of Christmas

MEMORIES – I want to make sure I take at least 11 good-quality photos this Christmas with my camera, not just my phone. Christmas may be different this year, but it’s important to document the celebrations, however small!

Sofa Snuggles

12th Day of Christmas

WALKIES – I’d like to go with Lucy and Wilbur on at least 12 winter walks. I mean, he gets walked every day, but I don’t always have time to join when I’m working, so the Christmas holidays are a perfect time to fit in family walks.

There you have it, my 12 days of Christmas challenge! What do you want to focus on this holiday season? I encourage everyone to challenge themselves to celebrate mindfully, and look after yourself and others.

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