3/30 The District of Christmas (And All Holidays Too)

My clients and friends tell me I’m more of a coach than a consultant and that I am at my best when I’m able to relate my experiences to theirs.  This has been a random journal in the past, but I’m transforming it to a space where I can share the stories behind my work.  This is the third of 30 year-end posts I will devote to “Things You Can’t See On A CV”.

“Is that what your little note says? It must be hard living your life off a couple of scraps of paper. You mix your laundry list with your grocery list you’ll end up eating your underwear for breakfast.” – Natalie, Memento

For some, life as a creative can involve a certain amount of mess and list making.  I myself am a list maker, I do it not only so I can measure my productivity but also because I am cursed with an overabundance of ideas on a daily basis.  Thats not to compliment myself, because it literally keeps me up at night.  Visions, just random thoughts, things I saw that I make into other things, ideas for people that aren’t even paying me, it never ends.

So, one of my contacts in my phone is myself.  I can send myself a text with any extra thoughts or a grocery list and have it right in my pocket as a reference, I use twitter the same way as well.  These are my sticky notes, my Leonard memos that keep me “organized”, or just nuts, who can tell the difference.  Hopefully one day I wont end up like Howard Hughes.

I took the metro yesterday for the first time in ages and it felt nice to commute into the city.  As a freelancer, I work from my home studio, which I’ve loved, but there are days when I never leave the house.  That sounds worse than it is.

As a ad/branding creative, its not only nice to see people bustling about the city (Chinatown in DC around 9pm and 45 degrees is magical), but you get to see the various ads and messages they are receiving and observe the mundane moments that connect people, places and objects.  Ok, maybe I am a shut-in.

DC is gearing up for the holidays, and with it comes plenty of decoration and a myriad of events, galas and parties.  I have kept a mental list of some of the projects I have in mind for DC, a few of which I am working on now, but some of which I share just because.  There should be pieces of yarn linking my tweets to my autobiographical texts and now to my blog.


1. Why does the National Christmas Tree have to look exactly the same every year? Why aren’t local artists tapped to decorate it differently?  While I appreciate tradition, shouldn’t this say more about us as a country?  Its looked like a tree trapped in a fishing net of lights for decades.  And ps, that aluminum hangar disaster that sits in Georgetown,the one anchored by sandbags, is embarrassing.

2. The lighting display hanging at Convention Center’s breezeway is one other missed opportunity.  With all of the Holiday events hosted there, we need something more dramatic and elegant than white lights strewn back and forth. Cummon people.

3. Public Transportation/WMATA: While our metro is by no means the wonder of the world that is the NY City Subway, there’s plenty of culture we could capture to showcase the peculiarities of our buses and trains.  A photo campaign stuck to the floor, decorative smart cards, catchy phrases for the different lines…so much could be done.  During the holidays we should pick a few major stops to host a lighting installation, those ceilings are beckoning.  And oh yeah, the space man in the L’Enfant stop has gotta go.

4. The Washingtonian, DC Modern, Capitol File or Washington Life should publish a DC Fashion, Music & Art issue every year.  Preceding gala and auction season.  One big fat huge book.  We may be scrappy, but our artists, musicians and designers are only getting better.

5. Sidebar: I think there should be a parade here on the Fourth of July.  This should be the only city you want to be in that day.

6. I live on a stretch of Columbia Pike that is tree lined, I think everyone in the neighborhood should donate a strand of white lights and we should light it up.  Im just not sure where the plugs go.

7. For the holiday, The Proper Topper should ask local artists to design signature hat boxes that feature Washington scenes.  Woodies did this years ago and I covet the black hat box I found at an antique shop years ago.  People would buy the hats if only for the collectible boxes.  I also think DC could single handedly make awesome hat wearing standard again.

8. Last sidebar: There should be a coffee table book about The Tiny Jewel Box released over the Holidays about gift giving tales.  That place has too many stories, some of which they cant tell.

9. Store windows in Georgetown and 14th St should light up like Old Town does.  Make it international, interreligious, I dont care, but those strips could be our Macy’s windows.

10. Speaking of, on the night the National Tree is lit, museums along the Mall should invite artists to create a display that is appropriate to each museum.  Reindeer at the Natural History, a special exhibit on religious art at the National Gallery, you get the drift.  And special evening hours, maybe even libations, are a must.

Now that I read through this, its pretty heavy on the lighting ideas, but its not meant to.  I just think that we can do more to engage the artists in our community to decorate the city year round.  Christmas makes me so creative, as exemplified by my Holiday Shop on Zazzle.  I also have a few clients that are stirring with ideas and the new Mayor is welcome to call anytime.



    • Maggie
    • November 30th, 2010

    Agreed across the board woman!!

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