Advent Calendar of Happiness

I have just come up with an ambitious project. Ambitious for me anyway. I’m not climbing Everest or doing a triathlon or anything like that. And as I am a firm believer in committing yourself to paper as a way of actually making something happen, that’s what I’m doing. Well, not actually paper, but you get the idea.

Since my last blog post about looking on the bright side, I have been thinking a lot about positive mental attitude. There is so much awful stuff happening in the world right now. Terrorism, war and refugee crises on the international stage, and cuts to welfare, the NHS, social services and education at home. It can be hard not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of need and sorrow and violence in the world. This project is my solution to not letting the dark side of life overwhelm me. Easy, relatively speaking, for me to say, because I am lucky enough to enjoy familial and financial security. I am aware that I am lucky, and often that consciousness in itself depresses me. What right do I have to a happy marriage, healthy and delightful children, a comfortable home, when I have done nothing to deserve it?

advent-calendar-006The answer of course, is no right to these blessings at all. All I can do is appreciate what I have, and try to pass on some of my happiness to others whenever I can. My project is inspired by the tradition my American cousin-by-marriage shared with us of going round the table at Thanksgiving, or Christmas in our case, and talking about one thing for which we are thankful. It’s quite unBritish to be so open and unreserved, but my husband and I both love the idea, and plan to make it one of our family Christmas traditions. My extension of it for this year is to celebrate the countdown to Christmas by writing each day about one of the things which make me happy. I don’t want to be smug about it, but I do look forward to having a tangible record I can look at when the state of the world depresses me, and to reminding myself of how much I have to be thankful for. Tonight I will be filling  Anna’s beautiful Advent Calendar, handmade for her a few years ago by my super-talented sister-in-law and then, starting tomorrow I will be making my  own Advent Calendar. Twenty-four blogs in twenty-four days about the things that make me happy.


  1. Helen, this is a really positive blog. These days it seems to be “no news is good news”, that all we hear about are the bad things that are happening in the world. However there is so much good in the world, and in individual lives too. We must appreciate the blessings in our lives and your ideas so und great. Good luck. X


    • Thank you. It’s funny – my husband was saying the same to me recently when I got very depressed watching the news – good news stories aren’t news, and don’t get reported. It made me think about celebrating happiness when and as we can. x


  2. lovely idea. Think I will pinch it for work Our charity works so hard to help people and we ring a bell whenever there is good news. To actually record something everyday for a month is a brilliant idea.


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