Friday, November 7, 2014

Looking Forward to the Holiday Season

By Dana Grimaldi, Assistant Editor/Editorial Assistant

Last Saturday, I looked out the window to see snowflakes drifting by. Although I wasn’t particularly happy at the reminder that winter is coming, it seemed fitting that the season’s first snow waited until the start of November…the same day Heartwarming published four Christmas-themed romances.


We’re so proud of this month’s new releases! Holiday Homecoming by Pamela Tracy is the third book in the Scorpion Ridge, Arizona, miniseries and The Mistletoe Melody by Jennifer Snow is the fourth Brookhollow story. Christmas, Actually by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart and Melinda Curtis is an anthology that tells the stories of three siblings who live in Christmas Town, Maine. I’d also like to congratulate Kate James on the release of her first Heartwarming book, A Child's Christmas.

Thanks to this month’s holiday-themed reads—and despite the fact that I’m still eating Halloween candy!— I’ve started thinking about my favorite Christmas traditions. Here are my top three:

3. The Sound of Music
This has to be my favorite non-Christmas Christmas movie. I’m not sure why I started watching The Sound of Music during the holidays—it doesn’t actually take place during Christmas—but every year, I look forward to watching Maria and Captain von Trapp folk dancing in the garden.

2. The Nutcracker
Whether I’m watching the ballet, or just listening to the music, nothing brings the holidays to mind like The Nutcracker. A couple of years ago, the National Ballet of Canada put some of the costumes and props from the Nutcracker on display. One of the highlights was seeing the tutu worn by the Sugar Plum fairy.

1. Scrabble.
Every year, on Christmas morning, I sit down for an intense game of Scrabble with my family. I love the game and playing with such smart, challenging opponents, but the best part about playing Scrabble on Christmas is the tradition. It doesn’t matter how hectic the holiday has been, I know that my mom will cheer up anyone who feels bad about having a low score. I know that someone will complain about my patented move of making a new word by adding the letter S to an existing one. And I know we’ll talk about the chewed-up letter A, a tile that was stolen by my childhood pet, a miniature poodle named Ginger.

I’m realizing now that all these traditions have one thing in common: they remind me of what it’s like to be a child at Christmas. And I think that’s what we’re all aiming for this time of year. We’re trying to relive the magic of Christmases past and we’re working to make Christmas a special time for everyone we care about—especially the young people in our lives.

I’d love to hear about your Christmas traditions and what they mean to you. And in the meantime, let’s all read this month’s new releases and look forward to a wonderful holiday season.

--Dana

30 comments:

  1. Hi Dana! Great to see you here. All our covers look so pretty! Every year on Xmas eve, my mom and I watch The Nutcracker (Baryshnikov version)...and then on Xmas morning, we build a Lego set we've agreed on (Harry Potter, Hobbit, someday...the Death Star!). I don't dare bring out a Scrabble board--she'd beat me in 2 moves, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post Dana! Christmas Eve was always the big day at our house-the anticipation and Christmas Eve dinner with new pajamas and a reading of 'The Night Before Christmas'. Even though my brother and I are in our thirties now, we still all gather at one house (ours) and have a sleepover with my parents too and wake up before 5 to open presents lol. We can justify it again now because of my four year old, but we were still doing it before he came along lol. Enjoy the holiday season and the holiday reading everyone!! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Christmas eve PJ party sounds amazing!

      Delete
  3. Love THE SOUND OF MUSIC, too, but my Christmas watching is more traditional - have to see IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, WHITE CHRISTMAS, an a few more recent holiday movies I'm come to love. My husband grew up in Wisconsin and remembers Monopoly games that went on for a week when the family was snowed in over the holidays. I grew up in a tenement in an industrial city and remember the wonderful ethnic treats that traveled up and down the street among the neighbors, and the laughter and good cheer that was always there but particularly wonderful at Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you believe that last year was the first time I watch It's a Wonderful Life? Now I finally understand the humor in the movie The Wrong Guy where the evil savings and loan company is trying to ruin the bank. :D

      Delete
  4. Love the Sound of Music! Most of my family's Christmas traditions center around food.... We always have clam chowder on Christmas Eve (yum!) and prime rib dinner on Christmas. But years ago I started allowing my nieces and nephews to open one present on Christmas Eve and now they all count on that tradition. It's fun because that gift manages to keep them happy until Christmas morning and it doesn't get lost in all the Christmas madness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard about the "one present on Christmas eve" tradition. I think it's a great idea!

      Delete
  5. We always got up before 5, too. But I remember one year for some crazy reason, our parents told us that Santa might come early...and he did. Mother took us out to look at Christmas lights and when we returned, Santa had arrived and brought me a bicycle. I'll never forget the look on my best friend's face when I rode my bicycle to his house and he thought Santa missed him. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if it would've been too difficult to hide a bicycle all night long? :D

      Delete
  6. My family are big game players. We like a lot of board games. I give new ones for gifts. It's hard when part of a family celebrates on Christmas Eve and part on Christmas morning. We used to always celebrate Christmas Eve, but then my daughters married men who celebrate on Christmas morning as did one of my sisters-in-law. It made for confusing times. I love all of the Christmas movies, and am looking forward to reading the Christmas books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you ever played the board game Ticket to Ride?

      Delete
    2. Dana, I haven't heard of it. Will have to look it up. Are you recommending it?

      Delete
    3. Definitely. It's a lot of fun! Here's a link to the website: http://www.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/usa/

      Delete
  7. It's watching A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out, kid!") while I cook. No one really watches the movie anymore, except to say pieces of dialogue where appropriate. They're all too busy talking, drinking coffee and hot chocolate, and asking me when we can open presents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds wonderful! Some years that movie is playing non-stop on Christmas day. :)

      Delete
  8. We haven't had our first snow yet. But I already bought my first Christmas present. I also started watching the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. I love them and I have favorites, most of which I have on DVD's, yet I still sit and watch them or at lease listen to them while I write or work on something else. It's such a fun time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You have such lovely traditions, Dana! I especially related to your family's Scrabble match-ups. My husband's large family is very competitive and we always play board games after cleaning up the holiday meal. The kids, parents and grandparents play until late into the night. Such a fun way to end the day and reinforce family and the love we share :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. My holiday movies are usually White Christmas, Christmas Vacation and Home Alone. Of course we always watch Charley Brown and the cartoon Grinch. We like to play games too after our big meal, it's always a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should definitely re-watch Home Alone. :)

      Delete
  11. I love all of these. I watch all the old movies and some of the new ones (if it has Bing Crosby in it, I'm sold) and we play games, too. We're Christmas morning people, but our family has scattered so much it's become quieter. It's its own kind of joy, but I miss the noise. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn (which was actually the first movie the song "White Christmas" appeared in.) :)

      Delete
  12. Love A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation and The Grinch! Also Miracle on Thirty-fourth Street. One Christmas at my in-laws' home we all caught the flu and played non-stop Jeopardy with boxes of tissues and cough syrup bottles at hand while fighting about the game clickers. Still one of our favorite family memories talked about every year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love people who make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes I forget to and just gripe.

      Delete
  13. Nice post Dana. I look forward to reading the new holiday titles. My family watches Elf every Christmas. That movie never gets old. The Polar Express is also a favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Me, I looked at the scrabble game and wanted to play. Great post, and love that Christmas is right around the corner :)

    ReplyDelete