This is supposed to be part of my photo challenge titled Pick a Word that I run every month of the year and now it is time for December.

December, the most challenging month, is the time of year when I am more introspective than usual. The work and chores triple and and everyone around thinks only about partying and what to drink and eat. Not in my household though, thankfully, and the fact that I have been temporarily removed from insensitive office environment has made my professional life easier.

Still, why do I sound as if I am bitching? Because I am.

Today I went to one of the sites (a new and one of many locations in Zagreb) of the 4-week Christmas market, a festival of flashy lights, white kiosks offering greasy food and spirits in many forms. Apparently, you need liquor to keep your spirits up and survive holidays.

If I dislike the commercial aspect of Christmas time so much why do I go to such places, you may ask…. Usually, I don’t. But today, foolish and credulous as I am, I went to see what the students and professors of the Art Academy in collaboration with the city officials chose to put in their park inviting people to linger (and to accumulate more rubbish that later on the city government will have difficulty to dispose of).

(Now I wish I had taken photos to show you the disgrace of the site that people were queuing in hours to see on the first day of the food/drink binging festival. I went there in broad daylight to “assess“ the site, without the distraction of crowds and with the kiosks closed.

I went there “hungry” not for the spirit of Christmas, for Christ’s sake I am not a child, but for some inspiration, to see beauty, to see human spirit beat consumerism, and all I saw were some ridiculous installations hoovering over three or four sculptures that had always been in that park (no Christmas surprise there), but now they were covered in dog (and I hate to think whose else’s) pee.

What I am trying to say…. is that if you belong to one of those places whose government decided to close Christmas markets in order to slow down the effects of the pandemic, and you feel awful about that, you don’t have my sympathy. The only way I could feel sorry for you is if your livelihood depended on the goods that you were going to sell there.

Otherwise, if you can’t find joy inside you, no amount of turkey or booze will bring it to you.

With this deliberation off my chest, I am still going to challenge you…. this time with the photos and the assigned words that celebrate children and the child in each and every one of you.

Good health, peace and joy to you all!









  1. I really relate to what you said about Christmas and I’m saving this quote from you: “if you can’t find joy inside you, no amount of turkey or booze will bring it to you”. So very, very true. I wish you quiet joy and love this wintertide…and a spark of inspiration because your posts inspire me and many others.

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  2. Dear Paula. I appreciate your raw, authentic candor in your narrative! A big round of applause and thanks for your very honest sentiment. I refuse to live my own life according to the whims and peer-pressure of an arbitrary Hallmark Card-dictated calendar. Your commentary was very well said, honest, and true. Plus I adore your photos! Best, Babsje

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  3. Your comments were well said, especially the quote “if you can’t find joy inside you, no amount of turkey or booze will bring it to you”….. Best wishes, Sue

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  4. I do relate to your words and feelings about humankind and the need to have a trashy time of year. Getting away from that office is a godsend for you. I am sure you are much better mentally and physically. This year I haven’t spent much on gifts for those I love and have wrapped them in tea towels with string. Except the 5 year old who adores ripping paper. I shall be back later to contemplate your fabulous words that are challenging. I wish I had a photo of you to use for befriending. Hope you can have a wonderful time. Much love 🥰💕

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  5. I enjoyed your candor and respect your feelings and I also enjoyed the contrast between your written words and your lovely photos, perhaps the same contrast between the sort of Christmas you describe and the real Christmas. Years ago I chose material with different Christmas designs and my mom sew bags of various sizes. I “wrap” our gifts in those, tying the top with yard and only actually wrap gifts that are going somewhere else. It really saves so much paper. I also save ribbon and bows from wrapped gifts we receive and then re-use them whenever possible. Anyway, I hope you have a Christmas filled with joy and simplicity and surrounded by family and friends.


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  6. Much love to you, Paula. I have been slow and nonblogging much…but I will try to send something this last time of the year. I used to love so much, and many, but I am tired and…happy you are feeling better. I can only agree with your words. And my parcels this year are all home made, like in the old days. This is Christmas Eve, and it is snowing – I cannot ask for more. The child in me is still there. ♥ Wishing you a warm and lovely holiday.

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  9. I love your shots to illustrate the words, mostly the ones with the children. Wonderful captures. – Re: Your thoughts: The only time I go to Christmas markets is with friends. I prefer the smaller ones and we were lucky that Frankfurt kept a small one open. It is on the outskirts, surrounded by trees, and we had a lot of fun. The bigger the festivals (and that goes for Octoberfest, town festivals, etc. as well) the less I usually like them. The food was also quite good and it gets more international every year – gone are the days when you could only get bratwurst and mulled wine. I’m sorry you had a bad experience and I hope the rest of the Christmas fesitivities liftet your spirit.
    I’ve started taking photos of little people (the one’s that usually populated miniature train sets) and not only did I find a tiny present with one little old lady under the tree , but quite a variety of little people. So I chose to make all five words this month with them as models. I hope you like them and that they might bring you some cheer!

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  10. I too become very introspective at years close, combined with my birthday falling out the last day of the year marking not just the passing of the year but also my age. I love your images, and will be back with mine.

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  13. I agree with everything you say but it’s hard to fight the big chiefs of consumerism. Every year I watch in amazement as people rush into debt to buy ‘stuff’ that no one needs. I see it in my own family and I despair. I sometimes think if I didn’t dish out presents to the younger set I wouldn’t have a presence in their lives, that’s how it has become. I’m glad it’s all over now, I’ve packed away the presents I can use and like and hidden those I will have to re-cycle or sell next year while I worry about everyone’s future. It’s futile, I know. I asked everyone to give me presents I can eat or drink but I didn’t get ANY. Ah well. I suppose I should stop being a grumpy gran and be grateful that I’m still here and still able to grumble!

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  14. Hello Paula. A long time since I’ve caught up with your blog. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments, expressed with such fine and justified crankiness! I wish you a 2022 free of everything you dislike, and full of pleasures.


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  16. Thank you for the images and for the song and its lyrics, they all did me (and I am sure many others) a lot of good. May the new year treat you and all the world well.


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  20. Hi Paula, wising you a 2022 suited to you in love, health, inspiration and fortune. And I appreciate the beautiful direct way you use to get your feelings across. I agree with most what you say. Take care and know your blog is a inspirational to me, not only in challenges but a vast amount of work that is beautiful.


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