Holiday Creativity Makes Memories
I have many nephews and nieces so holiday creativity can yield memory making gifts and help with a tight budget. It’s always a scramble to find them awesome gifts under $40 bucks. Most importantly it has to be a balance of affordable and thoughtful. Nobody wants the be the lame Aunt or Uncle. Yes, they would love to have $100 lego kits or $100 gift cards to go on a spending spree. My mission every year is to search for the gift that they open and immediately stop opening other gifts to start playing.
In the past, it has been bongos, old fashion steel tool boxes, vintage musical toys, journals, and wooden handmade trains from Russia etc… On a more serious budget this year I thought it was a perfect time to use creativity.
Prolific Over Perfect
Trying to be more prolific over perfect in my content journey this seemed to be a great time to use my holiday creativity. My goal is to write and illustrate a children’s book in a week. One week deadline because the book needs to be ordered and shipped before Christmas.
• Plan – Get the story down on paper and convert it to the BookWright application then use Adobe Illustrator to create the art. I’m hoping to use a mix of original and free vector art to put this all together.
Time to be absurd, silly and make the best Christmas story picture book ever for under $40 and in a week using my holiday creativity.
How I came up with this idea – Seriously, I always wanted to create a kids show and write a series of children’s books that would come with a cd or digital album with original instrumental songs. An old project I did complete was a series of beats with my old band called, “The Lightheads” named, “Kids Show“. This project was for an adult audience and tells the story of two guys who are creating a kids show and the ups and downs of trying to get it published and on TV.
Before starting this holiday creativity journey I did a quick search on medium and skimmed through this post about picture books — Picture Books 101 (from Alison Hughes) Looking back I just read through it and didn’t really follow some of the guidelines like reading a couple children’s books before starting this project. In addition, I’m on a tight deadline to get this finished and printed before Christmas. Children everywhere will be depressed and uninformed about Ukuleles if I fail to use holiday creativity for presents…
My First Draft — On Paper —
The Ukulele Kids
The Final Project (I get that you might not care about this journey and want instant gratification, that’s why I am making the PDF finished product available now)— The Ukulele Kids — or continue reading and dig into my world of ups and downs in this process.
It’s might just be easier to get gift cards at this point. smh. No curse words Rich Marks the Spot because it’s a friggin kids book although I did mention the parents drinking some strong teas. Could be marijuana tea, magic mushroom tea, grain alcohol but it’s all up to the imagination for the reader. How will you get inspired to make holiday creativity? Hmm… You know how I feel about following strict guidelines! Don’t do it, be rebellious with holiday creativity and always stay in trouble.
The Kids Book Digital Draft
Title: The Ukulele Kids
- This is a good way to cross-post content and document the journey. Any project you are thinking about starting, document a couple of ideas on paper and then put them down digitally too. We all know ideas get better and better as we work on them and the creativity starts to flow.
Imagine you woke up on Christmas morning and received a present you didn’t ask for. Would you be sad, excited, happy, or curious? This is a story about five children just like you who received a rather interesting gift from Santa.
It all started the night before Christmas and cheer was in the air for Camden, Brayden, Gavin, Mikey, and Winnie. The Dads were in charge of helping the children prepare a snack for Santa while the Moms were making a special strong tea for after all the children were asleep.
The phone rang! Who could be calling this late? All the children curious about the late phone call yelled out, “Who is calling so late? Is it Santa?”.
It was Dziadziu checking in on everyone to make sure they leave a delicious snack and get to bed soon so Santa can come. He asked them individually what they had picked out from the market for Santa.
Camden had picked and washed a big bowl of purple grapes with Gouda cheese. Brayden had picked out green celery adding peanut butter and raisins. Gavin picked out yellow Bartlett pears sliced with honey. Mikey picked out orange carrots with hummus and Winnie took a clear mason jar layering it with yogurt, granola, and bright red raspberries.
They know for Santa to go all around the world in one night he would need his energy. “What healthy snacks,” Dziadziu said. Now Santa will have the energy to get presents to everyone! Goodnight Dziadziu, Goodnight Dad, Goodnight Mom, Good Nightmoon was one of each child’s favorite bedtime stories. They always made sure to say Goodnight to the moon.
The children could hear the soft sounds from the vinyl record player and laughter as they fell asleep. What strong and aromatic tea the Dads said to the Moms.
The night seemed to go by so fast and before you could blink an eye the sun was peaking up over the horizon and right into the children’s rooms. Each child ran into the living room and Santa had most certainly come. Presents of all sizes had been perfectly placed under the tree and stalkings full with little individually wrapped treats.
Camden is the oldest put on a pot of coffee hoping the aromatics would awake the sleeping parents. It most certainly worked and they had been given permission to start opening the stalkings. Hey, Camden, you make a pretty good cup of coffee! Thank You.
One horizontal present stood out from the rest with its bright blue wrapping paper. There was not one of these horizontal bright blue presents but five right in a row. Winnie said, “I think it’s a cat” joking because the cat was mewing under the tree playing with tinsel. It’s not a cat Brayden said laughing uncontrollably.
Everyone curious about the 5 gifts gathered around and started opening them one by one. First Mikey. What is it? What is it? Before he could even finish unwrapping the gift Gavin started, and then Brayden, and then Winnie and finally Camden joined in the chaos. All at once they shouted, “It’s a mini guitar”. And Dad said, “I think it’s a Ukulele”.
This was a gift no one had asked for and one that no one expected. Mikey was most confused because he wanted a race car. He asked if Santa had forgotten about him to his Mom. She simply said Santa didn’t forget about you Mikey, he must have a plan for you so I would be thankful. What kind of plan was Mom talking about Mikey wondered? Trusting that she knew best he continued on with his morning, helping with breakfast and getting dressed to go to the family Christmas party.
On the ride, they listen to ukulele songs and played air guitar pretending to jam out all the way. They couldn’t wait to tell everyone what they had got for Christmas and because it was the most usual item.
Babcia was busy in the kitchen making everyone’s favorite her famous Sałatka the most perfect side dish to a baked ham. She called all the children in and asked them what Santa had brought them. Ukulele’s everyone shouted playing air guitar again and dancing. Babcia told them that music was a big part of the families history.
That their great-grandfather was a symphony conductor in Poland and organist at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. Babchia said this must mean that Santa wants everyone to study and practice music together and possibly start a band. Mikey was now very happy that Santa got him a ukulele just like everyone else so that he could be included. Sometimes Santa and parents know what’s best for children.
Dziadziusays, “Now that we have all these ukuleles what is the name of the band going to be?” THE UKULELE KIDS!
Outline, Morning Coffee’s and Hope
I used this digital outline to plug in the typography into the BookWright over 22 pages. After sitting on the outline a day and reading it over with a morning coffee I made story adjustments and hope it makes sense. I’m going to leave the first draft as is and I’ve provided the final as a PDF. Hell, the internet makes everything easy so I even took 5 minutes after ordering the printed version and clicked the sell ebook button. It was super easy to upload and now my book is available for purchase. I’m not expecting anyone to buy it but it’s great to know in the future I can write a book, publish and start marketing it for profit.
Look at my book for sale here – The Ukulele Kids Book – Hell Yes Internet!
Getting More Organized
I organized the visual elements by sketching them one by one. More importantly, I wrote down a couple words for each to summarize the themes of the picture. I’m hoping this will make the process go faster moreover,
Polish words to define — Dziadziu (grandfather) Sałatka (Potato Salad) — pronunciations…
Entering in the typography into BookWright looked something like this:
Adding an image is easy by dragging into the template:
Here are some finished images from Illustrator that I created using free vectors and couple photoshop png images. If you are not familiar with Abobe Photoshop I recommend learning the polygraph tool which allows you to trace out parts of any photo and delete everything but that selection. Save as a transparent PNG file and add it to any other photo or vector project.
Ending Thoughts About Holiday Creativity
Firstly, I understand that an individual might not be able to complete a project like this as a Christmas gift given that not everyone can use the Adobe Creative Suite on command or even has access to these programs. Secondly, I currently can’t afford the CC subscription, however, am lucky enough to have access through my job.
Before buying a gift and above all really think about things you can make that person. It could be a series of poems or even short stories handwritten in a cool cheap journal. Maybe you can cut some pieces of a houseplant a couple months before and root the plant in water eventually planting it in a vase and giving that as a gift. Even better if the person commented how nice it was months ago. Use the internet and make then a picture book or framed picture. Another idea could be to make them a custom sweatshirt or pajamas. Anything is possible and it could mean the most to that person so don’t be scared to use your holiday creativity.
Content Creator Magic
If you are a content creator try taking on projects and force yourself to finish them quickly. Something magical happens when you hit publish. Therefore getting past that feeling of I could do better or it’s not perfect yet is hard but once you free yourself of being judged you improve. The words and ideas flow more freely and learning as you go improve every project. It could bog you down working on the same thing over and over again so accept every project for what it is in the good and bad.
I think people like seeing the progression of creativity in an individual. That’s the most authentic path because it’s transparent.