Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


It’s December, and so it’s time to admit it, once and for all.

I love Christmas. I do…all of it. The incessant carols, the busy rushing gift-buying madness, the crazy schedules, the decorating, the excitement of the big day and wondering whether your loved ones will like what you got them.

Yes, I realize Christmas is too commercial. But I don’t give a (insert word of your choice here). I love to stretch my creative legs, trying to come up with the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Sometimes it’s homemade, sometimes it’s store-bought, and sometimes it’s a combination of the two. I love seeing faces light up, and that’s the best part of the holiday for me.

I also love indulging in holiday tasks. Should I be kickboxing? Probably. Do I have a novel that needs rewriting? And more novels to write? Definitely. But screw it, that’s waiting until January while I bake eight different kinds of cookies to give away. Whew! (I also made peppermint ice-cream.)

I’ve never really gotten over the whole anticipating-Christmas-morning childlike excitement I had when I was a kid (probably because I don’t have kids myself). My parents still fill a ridiculously-over sized Christmas stocking for me, and I serve as their personal shopper as I also fill the stockings for them. It’s one of the only occasions where being an only child is a good thing. 🙂 Once I come back home to the city, The Boy and I will celebrate Christmas #2, with shared stories, love and laughter, and yes, more Christmas stockings and probably too many gifts. But it’s the first Christmas that we’ve both been out of debt in awhile, so we’re splurging a little. We’ll get back to the tightfisted budget in…yep, you guessed it–January. (And no, we’re not going back in debt for Christmas. That would NOT be cool.)

Wrapping presents, visiting friends and family (oh, if only people made such an effort to spend time together throughout the year), watching cheesy holiday movies, and gazing at the lights on our (environmentally friendly artificial) tree for hours…it doesn’t get much better than that. It almost makes winter worth it. Almost.

I never thought I would be the type of person who would own singing penguins wearing Santa hats. But there you have it–I do. (And everyone secretly loves them, even though they pretend to be above it all.)

Happy holidays, everyone! If you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa (or whatever, really–I’m not fussy), what’s your favorite tradition/activity?

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  1. Mystic_Mom

    Holli – I love Christmas too…celebrate it and enjoy the season!

    We celebrate our faith and we enjoy time together, making gifts and food and treasuring the moments when we put up the tree, make presents and visit with friends and family.

    My favorite tradition is baking…and baking and sampling and sharing.

    Bright blessings my friend.

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks for your comment, MM. Happy holidays to you! What’s your favorite thing to bake? I always have to make gumdrop-coconut cookies and whipped shortbread, both of which are my mom’s recipes, but I love trying new things as well.

    While I don’t belong to an organized religion, I used to enjoy going to Christmas Eve mass with my Catholic friends. It’s a good time to remember all we have to be grateful of, no matter who–or what–is responsible. And the music was beautiful. I miss singing in my old choir!

  3. TS

    Yea for Christmas love!
    Yup, I too love the Christmas carols and all. I always wait impatiently until Clear 102.3 switches to 100% carols. It drives M nuts, but that’s too bad.

    (Luckily this year with my emotions – read: hormones – all over the place I get more leniency 🙂 Heh, this also got him to put up the tree despite our household chaos)

    For me, my special happiness is listening to “kolędy” – or Polish Christmas carols. (With Internet you would figure it would be so easy to find songs online, but unfortunately the only ones I’ve found are horrid YouTube versions that are even too cheesy for me.)

    I also love Christmas baking. Sadly this year, with no kitchen I’m missing out. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll make up for it in years to come 🙂

    So Happy Holidays! Enjoy the falling snow, sparkling lights and Christmas-morning-excitement!

  4. Laura Best

    I very excited to be spending Christmas with my daughter and granddaughter who will then spend the entire week with us. Here’s hoping the weather holds up and travelling is not a problem.

    Merry Christmas, Holli! I’m so glad I found your blog. 🙂

  5. Christine Murray

    I love Christmas! I’m not religious, but it was always a special time in my house when I was a kid, so it’s still special now.

    Am now craving peppermint ice-cream…

  6. Story Teller

    Thanks for sharing your holiday traditions with me!

    @ TS – I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a Polish carol. I have no doubt that they are difficult to find. Enjoy the special treatment–you’ve earned it! 🙂

    @ Laura – Thanks for the kind words, as always. I’m glad I found you as well. Enjoy the holidays with your family.

    @ Christine – If you have an ice-cream maker, it’s really easy to make. I highly recommend it. Much nicer than the occasionally nasty stuff you get at the store.

    Happy holidays!

  7. Ev Bishop

    Aw, Merry Christmas, Holli! I love the season too–and though I’m not going crazy with gifts this year, I love finding the *right* little thing for someone, all the crazy games and appy nights I’ll take part in, the caroling, the sappy (LOVELY) Christmas movies on TV (have watched 3 already this year) and so much more.

  8. Story Teller

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Ev! Enjoy your holidays. I was thinking yesterday, as I watched how much more social and happy people are at this time of year, that it would be so wonderful if we could make the spirit of Christmas last all year…or at least through the winter!

    Much love to you, my friend.


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