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It’s mostly about Christmas


Our tree at 2 below. Don’t let the sun fool you!





December is not my month to write. November-even with Thanksgiving, Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday, my birthday,  and Clam Bake-finds me writing like a whirling dervish dances. (Thank you, NaNoWriMo.)

Though December is a bust creatively, organizationally I need to be on top of my game. (I think this requirement applies to at least 50% of the adult population in the US. You know who you are.) It’s mostly about Christmas, naturally:

  • Designing and ordering photo Christmas cards. (No signing as our names are printed on the cards. Nice.)  Addressing the card envelopes. (Who did I mail cards to last year? Where is that list?)
  • Designing and ordering photo family calendars. (Just a gazillion texts to daughters and searches on my phone and Facebook for the perfect pictures.)
  • Shopping for presents. (Pretty much just for my mother. Phew…)
  • Writing checks for grandchildren’s  Christmas presents. (It’s such a relief to put the burden for buying presents onto my daughters.)
  • Shopping for those ingredients-eggs, flour, sugar, nuts-that I don’t normally keep on hand so that I can make cookies with my two local grandchildren.
  • Baking cookies without my grandchildren.
  • Keeping my husband away from the cookies before I have a chance to hand them out.
  • Trekking to the local tree farm to buy the Christmas tree. (My Fitbit appreciates all the extra steps I garner looking for the perfect tree.)
  • Perfectly decorating the damn perfect tree.
  • Buying gifts for the Yankee swap and making food for the writing group party. (That’s it, one non-family holiday party to attend. No more dashing through the snow to get to those parties crammed into the two weeks right before Christmas.)
  • Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Love Actually,” and all the Hallmark Christmas movies (several times).
  • Scheduling and planning the family Christmas party.
  • Checking the weather forecast two weeks in advance of the party.
  • Rescheduling the family Christmas party for a day when we aren’t forecast to get lots of snow followed by freezing rain.
  • Enjoying the holidays!

This list is nothing compared to what it was when I was a working mom with three daughters at home. (About the age that they are now.)  And that’s something I’m grateful for. As I’ve gotten older, I am less able-and willing, I must confess-to juggle all of the additional demands that a busy holiday season can place on me. And as I look back over those years of hectic Christmas celebrations that seemed to last for the entire month of December, I wonder if a simpler holiday season would have been a better option for my family.

Now, what really complicates my month of December isn’t Christmas. It’s the amount of preparation it takes to spend the next four months in Arizona. That list just might compete with Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list. Totally worth it.


Looking forward to 12:01 a.m. December 1

This will be short as the deadline for NaNoWriMo is just three days away. I have attained 42,829 out of 50,000 words with three days without commitments remaining so I predict that I will “win” NaNoWriMo. Yippee!! I am ready for 12:01 a.m. on December 1 to arrive so that I can stop writing “Full Circle” what feels like every free minute of every day.

Of course, I exaggerate. I have taken some extended breaks during the month and I’ve enjoyed every moment of them, especially my vacation to the Cancun area. I only wrote one time out of the five days we were gone but that one time was quite satisfying. I even hit my word count on Thanksgiving day–and I hosted the holiday dinner after returning from my trip at eleven the night before.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I am able to write regardless of the circumstances. I don’t need the perfect chair (I wrote on the airplane) or to be in the mood to write. I can even write while indulging in (gulp) Hallmark holiday movies. Wish I could say that they didn’t have an influence on what I wrote, though love stories and happy endings aren’t all that bad. Maybe my next novel will take place in a castle…

Another lesson has been that it isn’t that hard to whip out a lot of words if I’m prepared to also whip out a lot of revising. In the future. Revising that I’m actually looking forward to doing. Not lying.


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