When I began imaginary traveling in my bullet journal, I knew that I wanted to go to Cuba for Christmas, because so many of my Christmas traditions are Cuban. But then things got confusing. At first, I tried setting up my Cuban spreads as I had with my imaginary travels to Santa Barbara, Paris, Seville, and Shenandoah. In all those cases, I looked for inspirational images of the places I was visiting. But as I looked for images of Cuba, I couldn’t find any that spoke to me. I soon came to realize that what I was really looking for was my Cuban family and my Cuban traditions.

So I changed course. I thought about memories and traditions that are important to me, then cobbled together a series of spreads that evoked my personal experiences. Here’s what I came up with…

One of my early memories is of looking out our big picture window, fascinated by the play of snow and lamplight. So this image of a little girl watching the snow fall makes me smile each time I turn to my cover spread.

For the monthly spread I went full-out Christmas with a tree and lights and presents. I debated whether to add ornaments to the tree, but at a certain point I just had to move on to using the spreads instead of making them.

December always involves a lot of extra projects and planning, so my projects spread has expanded this month. I’ve created two dutch doors and a top secret gift tracker by folding two pages of my notebook. On the sides (which will be visible from multiple pages) I’ve doodled some of my favorite Christmas foods, including frijoles negros on the stove. The quote is from Madeleine L’Engle, and says “There is nothing that makes me happier than sitting around the dinner table and talking until the candles are burned down.”

Flipping the first dutch door, you can see my list of Christmas projects on these two half-pages. Both dutch doors were created by folding pages towards the center of this spread.

When I open the folds that form the dutch doors, I can see my top-secret gift tracker. It includes columns for item and source, plus checkboxes for ordered, received, purchased, and wrapped.

Re-folding the dutch doors and turning the second one brings me to a spread I’ll use to plan Nochebuena—the Cuban celebration of Christmas Eve.

I may not need much planning space for Nochebuena this year, as it will just be our small family of four (as opposed to 20-30 people). But I don’t usually have trouble filling up empty spaces.

And finally, the weekly spread for Christmas week.

It’s been fun pretending to travel through my bullet journal destinations, but I seem to be shifting away from that. Certainly the last two months had me focusing on events in my life rather than imaginary travel. Not sure what 2021 will bring, but for now, I’m enjoying the way my spreads evoke Christmas for me.

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