Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Our busy, topsy turvy year is coming to a close. There is still time to reflect on the year behind us – the things I am proud of, the things I learned, and the things I have yet to accomplish. As the new year begins, I will lay out my goals and plans for 2017 – personally, professionally, with the blog, and with my writing. 

But for this week, this day, and this moment, I will open my heart to my myriad blessings. I will love my family with all my heart. And I will forgive myself for the places where I failed this year.

Best wishes to all of you during this joyous holiday season. Whatever your situation, I hope you can find some joy and peace. 

More to come in the new year!

Gifts for Your Favorite Book Lovers

Yes, it’s true. There are 18 shopping days left until Christmas. But don’t despair! If you have book lovers in your life, I have some great ideas for you. I have several nieces and nephews who are avid readers, and I searched high and low this year for something creative to get them. I always get them a gift card for Barnes and Noble, but what could I get them that would be interesting and unique?

  1. Zipper pouches, Bags, and T-shirts made with classic book cover images: Vintage Books
  2. Clip-on Booklights
  3. Journals: There are so many kinds, you can choose one that really suits your reader/writer. There are small ones ideal for backpacks or purses, larger format ones with room for sketching or doodling, and even ones for beginners like the one my son chose. There are even ones with writing prompts to get you started!
  4. Story Cubes: I bought these for my niece who is a budding writer. Each set has different images. To get you started on writing a story, you just roll the cubes and write something about whatever turns up.
  5. Personal Library Kit, with date stamp included: I wish I had one of these when I was young. I made up my own version for my personal “library.” My brother was never particularly good at returning my books on time.
  6. In the Library Perfume: Really.
  7. Tablet covers and Purses that look like book covers
  8. Car Window Decals: I thought I had seen all versions of the family decals, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Reading Family decals!Xmas bulbs 2013

Best wishes in your shopping endeavors. I’m heading to my local independent bookstore next week to snag some other creative gifts.

What are you buying the readers and writers in your life this year? Share in the comments!

Can I Give Myself a Gift This Christmas?

I always thought it was weird when someone would tell me that they bought their own Christmas gift. “It’s easier that way,” they’d say. “That way, I get what I want.”

Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that defeat the point? Can’t you buy yourself a present any day of the year? Perhaps it makes a person feel better to have an excuse to purchase that big screen TV they’ve been eyeing, or those designer shoes.

Bryant Park Christmas TreeI was taught as a child that Christmas is about showing those you love how much you care about them. Not by how big or expensive the presents were, but by how much thought you put into them. And by the immense value of just being together, enjoying in the traditions we have built.

This year, I am making every effort to follow those guidelines. I eagerly anticipate having my whole family together to enjoy our Christmas rituals, including the magic of Santa’s visit, stockings overflowing, and Dad’s scrumptious Christmas morning french toast.

My son and I have completed several service projects for needy children. I am trying to make the gifts I give as meaningful as possible. So what is there left to do for a special Christmas?

Give myself a gift.

Wait a minute, you say. Didn’t you just say not to give yourself gifts? I’m not talking about  a new perfume or a spa day. I’m talking about a gift that I really need. A much more personal one.

I’m going to give myself the gift of persistence.

I’ve worked really hard this year- on my writing, on my home, on raising two balanced children, and on some personal issues. And as December ticks by, I look back and wish I had gotten further. Wrote more, hugged my children more, looked out for myself more. But alas, I can’t change any of those things. They are done.

What I can do is give myself some help- a little boost if you will. A little push to keep going- keep working on those novels, keep trying to be patient with the unplanned challenges of life.

After all, before you know it, it will be a new year. A time to plan for new goals and dreams.

What gift would you give yourself this holiday season?