I hope this finds you well and enjoying the December holidays, no matter how you celebrate them (or not). If reading is on your list for this strange in-between week, or if you have a reader in your life, there’s still time to pick up the wonderful Holiday Collections StoryBundle!
You’ll get seventy-two (yep, 72) holiday-themed short stories by a group of amazing writers. And both the excellent Annie Reed and I are offering bonus collections of holiday shorts with proof of purchase, so you can get even more escapes for the incredible low price of $15. My collection is actually an anthology my husband Jason A. Adams and I put together called Uncommon Holidays: A Different Side of the Season.
And even though the major gift-giving days have passed for many people, this is a great chance to make the readers in your life happy. You can also donate to AbleGamers, a charity dedicated to creating connection where it’s needed most, at a time when so many people need it.
But this amazing StoryBundle ends one day before December and 2021 do, so check it out before time runs out!
As for this odd week at the end of another extraordinary year, my collection A Tapestry of Holiday Tales: Winter Adventures from the Odds and Endings Bookstore is set in the days between Christmas and New Years Eve. Much as I might have wished for a storytelling festival in the hidden basement of a magical bookstore, I never quite got that lucky.
But this time of year has always held a touch of magic for me.
When I was a kid, my father always got at least the last couple of weeks of the year off, same as my brother and I did from school. We normally stayed home rather than visiting folks who lived several hours away, a trip reserved for summertime.
So these days of holiday and year-end limbo were an extra-special family time for us.
We had quite a run of fabulous snowy winters in the Seventies and Eighties. And for us, that meant time to get out and play! Snowball fights and snow tunnels and forts, sledding and snow angels and homemade snow-cream.
The basic routine was we’d get bundled up and go out, stay outside until we couldn’t stand it anymore, then come inside and warm up for a while.
Then once the shivering stopped, head right back out the door for more fun.
All of that running around required fuel, of course, and we loaded up on hot chocolate and Mom’s delicious chili to go with the usual holiday snacks of cheese and cookies and such. To this day I have a special nostalgia for those tiny little loaves of brown bread, which we made miniature sandwiches out of rather than fancy hors d’oeuvres.
Besides all that outdoor fun, I remember watching movies together on TV, years before VHS and DVD and streaming. Playing games when we could agree on which ones. Often that meant UNO or The Game of Life, and more than one energetic round of Battleship.
My brother and I always got a new pair of footie pajamas for Christmas. The kind that were all one piece with the white plastic soles on the bottom. So snuggling up in those was a huge part of the in-between week, partly because both of us were growing so fast they never lasted long. One of the best things about those was learning how to shuffle along on the carpet, building up quite the static charge in the dry air, so I could shock whoever wasn’t paying enough attention to avoid me.
I do remember my Dad altering a pair by cutting out the feet and sewing socks to the bottom so they’d last longer! Sadly that made the shocking potential drop considerably, but I did get to wear them for a few more months.
And because I’ve been a reader since the minute I learned the alphabet, I had my nose in a book as often as possible. That precious break from schoolwork meant I had all kinds of catching up to do.
When I went out into the working world in my early twenties, I quite clearly remember being horrified that office jobs didn’t all close during that magical week. What on earth were these people thinking, making us drag ourselves into work when we were supposed to be savoring our mid-holiday break?
I know that sounds naïve now, and I’ve had plenty of jobs that didn’t close in late December since. But after all those years of my childhood and college, it was definitely a shock to my system.
I truly appreciate folks who keep everything running, and I’ve always made a point of being extra kind and generous when I’m out and about.
I also quickly got into the habit of saving up vacation time so I could take that week off whenever possible!
Not that I do as a writer and working for myself. But Jason and I do make a point of spending more time relaxing and catching up on reading and movies and TV.
I make sure to get my writing finished earlier in the day is all.
Anyway, just putting all those memories into words really shows me where a lot of the Mid-Holiday Madness festival that’s the centerpiece of A Tapestry of Holiday Tales came from.
There’s a book-loving family gathering together, and great food, and crazy pajamas, and a snowstorm complete with hours spent outside having fun. All wrapped up with plenty of stories to share.
No wonder I had so much fun putting this collection together, and recapturing a bit of that childhood holiday magic.
To grab enough holiday magic to last well into the new year, pick up the Holiday Collections StoryBundle while you still can. It ends at midnight today, December 30, 2021.
Happy New Year to you and yours, and Happy Reading!