Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter/holiday banner 2012

A New Year's gift to all Viajeras: Book a cheap flight to Atlanta by using the promo code FL15 on CheapOair!

A page from Griffin and Sabine's extraordinary correspondence.

My husband is absent for the holidays. His mind has already gone off for vacation, more specifically, to the Philippines where we will be in about a month. I on the other hand am still trying to get through the holidays, what with the gifts to wrap, my son’s birthday, and figuring out how to layer on as much without looking like a mummy. But then again it’s not fair to say that I am just trying to “get through” this season like it was a chore. Christmas is a magical time for this family. Not only are we celebrating the coming of Emmanuel, we’re also commemorating my mother’s and my son’s birth.

A page from a Pienkowski book from

This season’s banner is an ode to the birth of the babes, represented by the Jan Pienkowski book on the banner. I’ve accumulated several Christmas books since the arrival of our son. The collection came in handy when my husband declared a new Christmas “rule”. No gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve. This way, our son will wake up in wonder to see all the presents laid out for him by Father Christmas.  I couldn’t stand the sight of a bare floor under the tree, so I surrounded the base with the Christmas books.

No gifts under the tree before Christmas Eve. Christmas books then!

Christmas, the King James Version, is beautifully illustrated. Also an illustrator, Pienkowski retold the nativity story with the use of silhouettes, ornamental gilding, and a shimmering background. It sort of reminds me of the Wayang Kulit, Indonesian story telling through shadows and puppets. It is a whimsical and enigmatic way of revelation-  because you cannot see the expression on the faces of the characters, you are left to imagine the feelings evoked.

The Griffin and Sabine double trilogy

Another literature I’m featuring here is the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, another wonderfully illustrated set of books where the idea for my son’s name came from. If we are to have a girl, then you already know what her name will be.  The series is about two artists and dreamers, and their story is told through the letters they’ve exchanged: stunning handmade postcards and gracefully written letters with beautiful drawings. Each page is a work of art, either a postcard or an envelope which you open to pull out the folded epistle.

Every year we buy a train ornament for the tree until it is surrounded by steam engines! 
This one is from our beloved Aunt Tracy.
What does this trilogy have to do with travel? Well for one, it takes the reader back and forth between England and the South Pacific, but more importantly, it takes the audience with the characters through their journey to the stars and their dreams. 

Another one for our train tree from Poland in four separate cars.

The books were a gift from my husband, also a star-struck dreamer, when we were dating. They say you can tell a lot about a man by what he wears or more specifically his shoes. I say, you can tell a lot about a man by what he reads (and the books that he gifts – the fact alone that he gives books as a present tells a lot too!).

The big ones are obviously for the little one.

Mostly, he enjoys travel books, Paul Theroux being one of his favorites, and he also reads the new voraciously.  Apparently, New York Times limits views from a specific IP address to a certain number every month. He always exceeds the limit, so I got him a subscription for his birthday (yes, we get more excited about a newspaper subscription over an iPhone 5).

Thanks to because I'm too lazy to take a pic of the cover.

Included in the subscription is the T Style Magazine which I appreciate not only for content but for the elegant layout. It presents itself as a style publication but offers more substance and quality reads. Its first winter issue, Travel, features a not-so-popular destination: Nicaragua.  T and I have made it there before “the rest of the jet-set arrives”. I featured one of the issues on the desk. Unfortunately you can’t really see it under the Christmas book, but I still think it’s worth the mention.

Like my banner, my corner of nostalgia changes with the season.

I had this holiday desk all set up when I realized something was missing, a representation of our homecoming to the Philippines in the next few months.  A few minutes later, the friendly postman (who always dispenses a smile or a pleasantry along with the mail) delivered my son’s first passport, the beginning of his life as a little world explorer. We already travelled to the east coast and nearby states in Middle America with him, but it will be the first abroad. This should be a fun experience and it will be such a great gift to have my family and friends experience him for the first time.

This is the kind of clutter that I don't mind on my desk.

 Finally, my birthday and Christmas wish for my son is best expressed by the last page of Pienkowski’s Christmas:

“And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, 
filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”

May the Star of Bethlehem shine bright for you the entire year of 2013.


As the seasons change, so will my desktop banner. I will be adding little touches to it, moving the items around, and customizing it for the season. I will archive its transformation on My Desk. 

Read more about how I put the banner together and how my real writer's desk looks like at My Desk. And tell me how your desk looks like, and I will tell you who you are.


Love the Christmas book! and i look forward to travel to nicaragua someday!

Have you read the other series - The Gryphon: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Is Rediscovered? You need to get that too!

Enjoyed reading this. Thank you!

Nicaragua is a great destination yet to be discovered. frankly, i'd rather keep it a secret.

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