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Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis The Season...

Does anyone remember what it's the season for? If my kids add one more outrageously expensive gift to their Christmas lists, I think I might have to boycott the holiday all together. No... I won't do that, but I am ready for them to start thinking about what it's really all about. Regardless of religious affiliation, I think this time of year is about family. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I'd venture to guess that it has something to do with spending time with loved ones. So, this week, I want to share some of my favorite holiday memories. None of which have anything to do with presents received. I'm going to start off with something that was a tradition for my family when I was growing up. Every Christmas Eve (if we weren't traveling to Grandma's house), my mom would cook up a big batch of beef stew and an enormous pan of monkey bread. (Hey now, I never said my favorite memories wouldn't involve food.) As a family, we shared many meals throughout the year, but this meal seemed special for some reason. No one fought or argued. No one was in a hurry to get to a practice or a meeting or whatever else we were involved in. It was just us with all the time in the world. Lately, I've heard a lot of buzz about the added stress the holidays bring. Thinking back to when I was a child, it was the opposite. Things seemed to slow down for my family. I want it to be that way as an adult. So, this holiday season, I think I'll try to slow down and remember that life is so much sweeter (with or without monkey bread) when I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere else. Same kind of goes for this thing called writing. When we're always trying to get the next best thing, whether it be finishing the next novel, signing with an agent, selling to a publisher, hitting the Bestsellers list, etc., we fail to truly enjoy the craft of writing. What about you? Do you have any slow-mo holiday memories to share? If so, please do.

29 comments:

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I remember eating my weight in chocolate chip cookie dough and living in my pajamas for weeks at a time.

Ah. What a life!
~ Wendy

Girl in My Own World said...

I remember sitting around with my cousins and eating and just having a lot of fun. Christmas did not become a burden until I got older and started trying to buy presents. I agree with you about the writing. I think that we should just focus on where we are in the moment. For me, right now I am back to just writing for myself. Yes, I still dream, but I think just as with the holidays when you start putting the pressure of a price or other expectations (on the writing) then it just becomes some what of a burden and I do not want that to happen with my writing. :o)

lotusgirl said...

I love Monkey Bread. One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is hang around the piano singing carols with family and friends.

Paul Greci said...

I remember laying under the christmas tree with my brothers and just staring up at the lights. I loved it.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

I think as children time goes very slow. I remember the days before Christmas were torturous and everything was a memory. As we grow older, time speeds up.

You slow down and enjoy your holidays. Don't let anyone bring you down.

The Book Nut said...

When I was about 14 or so, we hosted Christmas at our house for my mom's side of the family. Everyone was able to make it and stayed with us for several days. We had a little camper trailer that was fairly well heated so my two cousins, my brother and I all slept in it due to the lack of sleeping quarters in the house. We stayed up all night playing cards until none of us could function! Then we all crashed and slept a couple hours before going in for the Christmas morning festivities. It was a great time of games, goofing around, food and fun. I think we had about three days with everyone there. It was wonderful. That was the last time the whole family was all together.

I have made it a rule that Christmas day is ours. We don't try to go to everyone's house, we just relax at home and have fun together. People stop in sometimes and that's just fine but the entire day is spent without a schedule to stick to. This year I managed to work it out so that I can take the entire week between Christmas and New Years off so it's going to be even better! The kids will be home and we can do whatever we want! I can't wait!! :)

With writing, I agree, I don't think I would enjoy it if I had to try to please someone else. I have had some people warn me that it's not a good idea to post my writing on my blog because someone might try to steal it. I don't really care about that, I am writing because I love it and if something like that happens, it will be frustrating but not the end of the world! :)

I hope you have a relaxing Christmas. It is possible!

strugglingwriter said...

Christmas Eve church service was always a tradition. Toward the end of the service everybody in the congregation would light their candles, they would turn down the music, and would sing Silent Night. Those were good times.

Patti said...

Christmas is always spent with family and I love the fact that there isn't practice to go to or a tournament, although this year we do have two weddings between Christmas and New Years, but since it's with family that's okay.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Looking back I'm amazed at how much wonderful cooking and baking my mom did and she NEVER complained, snapped, looked tired, or anything. Plus she did all the shopping and wrapping. She NEVER stressed.
It was always just good family time and good food. :)

Carolyn V. said...

My holidays were slowed down as a kid too. I don't know if it was crazy for my parents (although it probably was). I'm trying to slow them down now and focus on what makes Christmas important to me. I think it's a great tradition Susan!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love Christmas memories! I wish I could slow down all the days around Christmas but it does help to remember what Christmas is really about instead of getting caught up in all the stress and gift giving. I hope your Christmas is nice and slow and wonderful!

Laura Pauling said...

It's so important to slow down so we can enjoy life! Definitely baking and food is always involved in good memories!

Robyn Campbell said...

I remember sneaking into my parents rom and finding the MOST beautiful bike I had ever seen. Dadai asked me not to tell Mamai that I'd seen my present so on Christmas morn, I PUT ON THE SHOW OF MY LIFE. Dang, I was good. He said I overacted, but I did NOT. I should'a been famous, I tell ya. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Uh, that's my parents room. They never had a rom. *wink*

Lily Robinson said...

My favorite holiday memories are when my daughter and my two step-kids were young. The first Saturday of December, we'd freeze our butts off at a 'cut-your-own' Christmas tree lot, tramping through the icy mud. We take our time selecting just the right tree. Once our prize was home, out came the Christmas albums. The classic tunes played in the background while we decorated the tree.

Jen Chandler said...

We always spend Christmas Eve at BOTH my grandparent's houses. Needless to say, the back and forth wasn't very stress-less. Now that I'm married, we travel back and forth between families still but the slowing down is definitely been on the top of our discussion list for next year. Don't want to make anyone feel left out, but you're absolutely right! Christmas is about being with those you love, enjoying the blessings you have, and breathing deep of life. Not dashing through the snow (or, in our case in Georgia, the dead grass).

Cheers and Happy Christmas,
Jen

Jen Chandler said...

woops! That first line should read "spent" not "spend". Sorry!

MG Higgins said...

You always post such great advice and reminders. Slow down and appreciate. Yes! I love the joyful, sparkly brightness of the holidays, when the days and nights are the darkest.

Karen Peterson said...

For a long time, my holidays always felt so rushed because I was trying to get from one family to the next. Now, I just try to take it easy and see people when I see them. Christmas to me is the whole month of December, not just the 25th.

Melissa said...

My family does a sort of small gift-exchange, competition thing called the pie-pull (I posted about it today so you can read more about it if you are interested). And all the best memories of christmas have to do with that. It's so much fun and my favorite memories are of that. I guess it involves gifts but that's not the point. You know?

Colene Murphy said...

That's a great plan. Slow down and enjoy the family. I like it! I have been hearing a lot about the stresses this year too, more than usual. And it just seems like people bring the stress on themselves. They don't enjoy doing all the things they do for the holidays and I can't understand why do them if you aren't enjoying it!? Great post! MORE FAMILY!

Amy Tate said...

I love our Christmas Eve campfire for this very reason - no rush! We try to cram in so many activities that no one enjoys them because we're all so pooped. I love those sacred moments when we pause to think of the real reason we celebrate! Merry Christmas Susan!

#167 Dad said...

Very nostolgic...
Monkey bread, huh?
With my family, it was oyster stew and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

T. Anne said...

My kids Christmas lists could stimulate the economy all on their own. When I was little my parents didn't believe in presents and I hated it. Really, it taught me nothing. Is that sad?

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Christmas Eve as a kid. It seemed to last FOR-EV-ER! :0)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL. One of my kids wanted a 3D TV for Christmas. Try to top that!

I've recently realized there's no point rushing to finish your novel so that you can start querying it and begin a new project. Now I'm savoring the writing process. It's the writing, researching, and planning I enjoy, not the querying. ;)

jenheadjen said...

I'm not sure I slowed down much during the Christmas season, but I do notice that it seems like it takes music to bring out the spirit of it for me. If I don't get to play some music, or hear some special performances, I have a harder time feeling moved. That said, I think a batch of monkey bread could really help the situation! :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Time definitely speeds up as we get older. I remember it taking forever to get to Christmas- now I blink after Thanksgiving and it's already here.

My daughter is four- she has one toy on her Christmas list. A Playmobil school. It's pretty darn cute- she loves Preschool and wants to play school at home too!

Name: Holly Bowne said...

What a great topic to post about, Susan. I've been running around like a maniac and just today I was reflecting on how much I need to slow down and truly treasure this time of year.

One memory I have actually involves our kids when they were younger. We used to encourage them to donate gently used toys they weren't playing with. At first, they had a hard time with this concept. Then my hubby drove us through some inner city areas near where we live to show the kids the lack of playground equipment, and what tiny yards children had to play in. When we got back home, our kids had a huge attitude adjustment!