Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Writer's Wednesday: I Wish You a Merry Christmas (well, only after Thanksgiving)

This Wednesday share in some traditions with Harlequin American's HOLLY JACOBS!

I am so not a fan of walking into a store before Halloween and finding Christmas displays already out. I try to ignore them. I close my eyes and pretend they’re not there. Even in November, I ignore the trees and lights in a rather Scrooge-ish sort of way. I mutter Bah Humbug as I catch the displays out of the corner of my eyes. It’s my own personal tradition. LOL

But the day after Thanksgiving, my holiday spirit kicks into overdrive. I love going to the store and seeing the decorations. I pull out my Christmas CD’s. I put the Christmas wreaths on my windows as I sing along with Trisha Yearwood. I put the small tree in my front window (we get a real one and put it up the week before Christmas) and decorate it with all the ornaments my FIL–a true woodcarving artist–made before he died as I sing along to I’ll be Home For Christmas. I make candy to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels. I bake and hum Silent Night. And I plan our family gatherings.

The family gatherings are my favorite parts of the holiday. A few years ago, we all decided to downsize the Christmas gifts and concentrate more on the family togetherness part. And we began the new tradition of the holiday jigsaw puzzle. The trick is to start it on Christmas Eve and get everyone who visits help put a few pieces into it.

Traditions. Some we’ve had for y ears, and some we’ve just started.

Last year, I started a new tradition with my nieces, we have a Christmas date. They came over last weekend, we went to the mall and they picked out their presents, then we did Taco Bell for dinner and they came and spent the night. The youngest is convinced that Christmas dates are something everyone does...even though my sister-in-law keeps trying to convince her that it’s a Aunt Holly thing. She’s been asking other relatives when their “dates” are. LOL

But Christmas Eve mass is a long-standing tradition. I was in my teens when I started joining my dh’s family at church on Christmas Eve. They were life-long members. The one stained glass window of St. George was donated by a family member when the Church was built. There’s a feeling of belonging there. Some years we’d go to an early mass, some years it was midnight mass, but I love both. I love seeing all the flowers, and the church filled to overflowing. I love the Christmas hymns. I love sitting on a pew with my whole family, then coming home to our Christmas Eve dinner together.

Family. Friends. Traditions. They’re all part of the holiday for me. I really tried to bring those elements into my Harlequin American Romance American Dad trilogy. This month’s book, Once Upon a Christmas, features Michelle, who’s playing mom to her nephew, and her nephew who wants to find his real father. When he shows up with Daniel McLean, Michelle and her nephew have to try to find a way to adjust their holiday to include someone else. The question is, can they adjust their lives and form a new family with him? In my UK release, Christmas Eve Kisses, a single dad and his sons find a new shopping tradition...and maybe the dad finds a new love on Christmas Eve.

So, what about all of you?? Do you have an old family tradition? A newer one you’d like to share?


PS. While I’m here, I want to thank PHS for allowing me to visit here with all of you this year! I’ve so enjoyed hanging out here!


  1. We've loved having you here, Holly!

    I love Christmas. This year I'm really poised to enjoy myself. Last year my husband was mid-chemo and the previous Christmas my lovely mum was in the last stages of ovarian cancer. Boy am I ready to p-a-r-t-y!

    5 children makes Christmas expensive - and that's only going to get worse when they're older and have families of their own. Soooooooooo we've initiated the 'lucky dip'. We have a 'pick' - grand event over Sunday lunch on the last Sunday of November - and then we get to buy the present for that person on behalf of the 'inner sanctum' which is us seven. This year I'm buying for offspring one. Oh the pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And then there's the stockings ... I do those because I'm the 'mum'. Sssssssh. If you don't believe in Father Christmas don't hang out your stocking, that's all I have to say!!!

    Don't you just know they'll go back to school and say the got a 'glue stick'. They get one every year. vbg.

  2. Oh, Natasha, last year sounds as if it was truly...well, I was going to say hard, but that doesn't really cover it. I so hope that this year is marvelous...every minute of it. You so deserved a joyous holiday!

    I love the idea of your "Lucky Dip." It sounds like a lot of fun! And I won't say a word about the stockings! LOL And a glue stick is a lovely tradition! LOL

    My oldest asked this year. She called from the shop the other day, and I just read them my card that was some easy shopping! LOL

    Wishing you a very, very merry Christmas this year, Natasha!


  3. I'm with you about the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, I mean seriously what are they thinking!?

    Your Christmas date sounds like great fun! Every year one of them becomes "Santa" for the day and it's a battle between them up until Christmas day as to whom it will be this year. For Christmas (and Thanksgiving) Dinner each kid has a specific dish they prepare.... Yearly we sit down, decide what we'll have for each meal, the kids then decide which dish they'll be creating... believe it or not, that's one of their favorite traditions. Also when we put up our tree each kid puts their specific ornaments on the tree while Christmas music blares in the background. We've more, but I think I'll stop there :D Lots of traditions here.

    Happy Holidays!

  4. Netti, I love the idea of the kids all having a dish to prepare! As for ornaments, I started a box where I stored all the kids specific ornaments, and kept notes on who gave them each, what year... My older girls have their own trees this year and I gave them their boxes. They were thrilled going through them. I don't know that when the day comes, that my son will be as thrilled, but hey, he still has one!

    And thanks for joining my I-Hate-Christmas-Before-Thanksgiving club! I won't buy anything before Thanksgiving, because I don't want to be responsible for encouraging the stores! Maybe next year, we should start a movement...I won't buy Christmas anything until after Thanksgiving! LOL


  5. Hi Holly! I'm still not quite in the Christmas spirit but that could be because I have taxes to do first.
    My sister and I always make a Christmas list and the first item is always a pony. We've never got one and it is now a family joke about how deprived we were.
    The last two years we have celebrated in London at my sister's and this year I am hosting. It will be odd, my sister won't be with us as she lives in the US. I don't have room for everyone and a tree but I have seen these little holly trees which I think will work.


  6. Biddy,

    Ugh...taxes. That's enough to remove a twinkle from anyone's eyes! Ours aren't due until April, so I've got some time! Hope they go quickly!

    I had to laugh at your pony...uh, laugh in a nice way! LOL You'll have to let me know if you ever get that #1 pick!

    I'm sorry your sister won't be there this year. Two of my kids won't be home until after the New Year's, so we'll be having two Christmases!

    Holly--PS I think the Holly trees are a lovely touch!

  7. Hi Holly! great post and we're happy to have you ANYTIME!

    I have tons of traditions with my kids, and more seem to crop up every year, I think! LOL. My eldest who is 10 this year makes the gumdrop cake. My youngest (8) makes chocolate peanut clusters. They started that one last year. We also spend an afternoon making ornaments - usually from the ornament kits at the craft store. We keep one of each for our tree, and then the rest go on prezzies to grandparents and aunts and uncles.

    The girls each also get a personalized ornament in their stocking. When they grow up and move out they will have a box of ornaments already for their own tree.

    And one of our biggest traditions is one that we sometimes do all year long but especially at Christmas. We take a Sunday afternoon, a cup of real hot cocoa, and a girlie movie (like White Christmas or Miracle on 34th St) and snuggle on the couch together.

    Natasha - love your lucky dip. We do that with our brothers and sisters, so that instead of buying for everyone we buy for one family. With people spread out, it does mean sending one parcel instead of 4 as well.

  8. Donna,

    I never heard of a gum drop cake, but it sounds yummy! The girls will really love those ornaments when they get older.

    But really, that snuggle on the couch with the movie really sounds wonderful. I hope that tradition remains part of your holiday for years to come. I'll confess, my girls are really my best friends. I love those girly moments with them!


  9. We, too, have always done a Christmas jigsaw puzzle for the holidays although we usually do it throughout the month of December. This year we are a little behind as we are at this very moment getting new windows throughout our room for a puzzle, yet!

    You might enjoy my page, Looking For A Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle.


  10. Brenda, New windows...that's lovely, but it can be a mess! And very cool...I'll check out the site!!