Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: This is actually a two-question post: What’s you favorite holiday story? Could be a book or a movie, anything you like to revisit year after year. Also, what’s your favorite way of “sneaking” in a little extra writing time over the holiday season? (As Lee posted yesterday, we still need to be writing–but how?!)
Diane MacKinnon: My favorite holiday story to read is not very original: It’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore. Every since I was a kid, I’ve loved reading this poem out loud–the rhythm of the words just carry me, making the well-known ending exciting every time I read it.
As to the second question, I sneak in writing time over the holidays the same way I do it all year: by showing up 15 minutes early to events so I can get a little writing in, and by always having a small notebook to jot ideas in. I use my phone if I don’t have access to my notebook, but I prefer using my notebooks. My husband has some time off between Christmas and New Year’s, so I’m hoping to head off to the cafe early some morning to get a chunk of writing done. I’ll have to let my husband in on that plan sometime soon!
Jamie Wallace: My favorite holiday stories are all picture books. There are almost too many in our collection for me to pick just one, but if I had to I think it would be Bear’s First Christmas. Written by Robert Kinerk and beautifully illustrated by Jim LaMarche, Bear’s First Christmas tells the story of a young bear who is awoken in the middle of winter by a mysterious sound and his journey through the snow – meeting new friends along the way – to find its source.
This quiet little story is like an island of calm in the midst of the holiday chaos. And I love that it has nothing to do, strictly speaking, with gifts or shopping or Santa or anything else of that nature. It’s about kindness, peace, and magic. The rhymed prose is a pleasure to read aloud, and LaMarche’s illustrations are – as always – radiant and full of warmth.
As for finding time to write during the busy holiday season, I actually often have a little extra time on my hands once Christmas Day has come and gone. Because all my clients are shut down for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and because my daughter spends at least a couple days of her Christmas vacation with her dad, I can usually find a few extra hours for writing somewhere. I must admit that I’m not always terribly motivated, but the time is there.
Lisa J. Jackson: I heard a similar question posed the other day – what’s a favorite Christmas song you can hear over and over and not get sick of? For me, that’s the fun diddy, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”. Makes me giggle every time.
I don’t have a particular story I read or seek out. I do enjoy the oldish (from the 60s and 70s) Christmas cartoon shows, Rudolph, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Grinch, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and many others. I don’t know what it is about them, but they keep pulling me in.
Finding writing time during the holidays is not usually a problem for me – the holidays are like any other days – where I make my own schedule and such!
Deborah Lee Luskin,
M. Shafer, Photo
Deborah Lee Luskin: I love the music at Christmas, especially Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, which I sang in high school chorus and listen to broadcast from King’s College, Cambridge, each year. I also love Handel’s Messiah, which Rose and Percy listen to in Into the Wilderness. Like them, I also enjoy the traditional carols – both listening and singing them.
As for writing: I know that if I don’t write I get out of sorts, so I’ll write my morning pages before anyone else in the house is up. This will keep me from getting cranky. But I won’t accept any jobs or set myself any deadlines for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when family far and near will gather here. I know how precious this time together is, so I’ll try to keep the “Holy” in holiday.
Wendy Thomas – I have two favorite Christmas stories. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. They turned it into a movie but do yourself a favor – skip the movie and read the book.
The other Christmas story I *love* is The Homecoming by Earl Hamner. I’m a sucker for stories filled with simplified living, family, and Christmas tradition. This book fills the bill many times over. One of my all-time favorites (and in this case, the movie is equally as good.)
As far as getting time to write. Not a chance for me. With all 6 kids home and no routines for anyone to follow, I simply go with the flow, do the absolute minimum and promise myself to buckle down once the holidays are over.
Julie Hennrikus: I adore A Christmas Carol. Five years ago I