Friday, November 28, 2014

Advent Calendars! Fun for adults too...

Assorted candy, buttons, and mini books wrapped up and placed in a refillable snowman advent calendar.
My partner, Danny, loves gifts. He especially loves finding or making the perfect gift for those on his list.

I love giving gifts as well, and there is no greater joy than finding that perfect gift for someone I care about... but as an anxious person, I am seldom convinced that I've found the right gift. So I tend to worry about it starting in August.

Since Danny has yet to agree to any "no gift" options, over the last few years I've used a refillable advent calendar to take some of the pressure off. I still get him a larger gift each year but since I've given him 24 other gifts by the time he gets it, I am less worried when he opens the final gift of the season.

Anxiety aside, I remember how excited my sister and I were to check our calendar every morning in December.

Plus, putting together an Advent Calendar for someone (even if they aren't a kid) can be great fun. This year I grabbed some discount Halloween candy, separated a couple 4-packs of mini buttons, and separated an 8 pack of fun mini-notebooks. I wrap all the items, and fill the calendar. The books don't fit so they sit numbered on the bookcase beside the Calendar.

Bonus: this tall snowman calendar is half my Holiday decorations and easily replaces one of our pictures on the wall (I keep it simple since we both go home for the Holidays each year).

Happy December!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Small Actions Accumulate into Big Changes

My first step in using the evolutionary process of niche construction as a guide for active change in
my own life is to think about my actions in terms of their accumulated effects on my environment and how these changes feed back to affect me.

Small Actions Accumulate to Create Immense Change (text over photo of waterfall: Troll Falls, Alberta taken by Shari Monner)
A familiar example of accumulated effects is recycling (or not recycling). While a single plastic lid placed in a recycle bin instead of a garbage bin may not do a whole lot to reduce the size of our landfills, each decision contributes. I personally forget my awesome, sparkly, reusable mug about once a week and end up using a disposable coffee cup instead. If I put all 52 of those recyclable plastic lids in the garbage, I’ve increased my contribution to my local land-fills by quite a lot each year. If, on the other hand, I take the extra couple seconds to separate the components of my weekly memory laps and put the lid in the recycle bin, I am decreasing my contribution to my local land-fills by that same amount.