Let's Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Happy Holidays from All of Us

December 15, 2016

We’re so happy to have friends and fans join us here at Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners, and we hope you’ll continue that tradition in the New Year. We’ve shared some holiday memories and traditions below to help put you in a holiday mood. Be sure and join us next year for more fun with the Booklover’s Bench authors.

web-z-holly-berriesFor the first 40+ years of my life, my family gathered at my parents’ house for Christmas morning, where we opened presents and had brunch. The family grew from the six of us (my parents, my sisters and me) to include spouses as we got married and, as the families grew, our children. Forty plus years of fond memories that I will hold forever. The “children” are grown now, with children of their own, four generations. My parents moved from their home, necessitating new traditions, and it is increasingly difficult to gather us all under one roof. Now I look forward to the time I can spend with my children and my grandchildren, and I will be forever grateful for all the years of family love and togetherness. Thanks, Mom.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you the best of the season. – Karla Brandenburg

web-airplaneI hate to travel during the holidays. Roads, airports, and trains are all crowded. Despite, or perhaps because of, the holidays, tempers seem short, making the traveling experience even more stressful. Now we replace physical presence with an electronic one. Our newest tradition is to use Skype or Facetime to connect with physically distant family. It’s especially fun to watch the grandkids’ reaction as they open their presents from us. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and lots of entertaining reading in the New Year. – James M Jackson

yule-logEvery year, we kick off the holiday season by celebrating Yule, the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We spend the day with friends playing board games and eating far too much food, and then at night, we light the yule log. My husband has a particular talent for making these. He uses holly and pyracantha (also known as fire thorn), pine needles and camellia blooms. His creations often resemble animals, though exactly what kind of animal usually remains a mystery. Regardless, it’s a lovely way to gather with those we love and remember that the light will always return, even after the darkest night. – Tina Whittle

chinesefoodWhat do we do on Christmas? Go out for Chinese food and a movie. It’s a tradition! But then, it’s not our holiday.

Our Hanukkah holiday celebrations have gotten more and more low key. When I was working, I’d start early, baking mini loaves of cranberry orange bread and pumpkin bread, as well as making fudge and baking cookies. I’d freeze them, then take them to work to share with colleagues.

When the kids were little, we’d set aside one night of Hanukkah and invite neighbors in for latkes to share our holiday traditions. Nowadays, it’ll be just our 2 local children and our grandson for latkes and exchanging gifts.

nite8Now that we’re no longer working and live in a very rural area, we’re more likely to watch a movie on Netflix than go to the theater, but we still go out for Chinese food. We light the candles every night, and Feebie, our dog watches the ritual with great interest. I think it’s because she gets a treat afterward. –Terry Odell

Growing up, the rule in our household was that gifts got opened on Christmas morning, but you had to wait until the grownups got up to unwrap anything. That meant the Santa gift to each of us was fair game. My brother and I were quick to check the glass of milk and the plate of cookies we’d set out for Santa – always empty – and to forage around in our stockings for treats of Florida-fresh oranges and nuts to crack.

web-decorated-treeOnce everyone awakened, the presents were quickly dispatched and various relatives would drop in throughout the day. Christmas night, more likely than not, the Santie Claus Band would turn up and play for the neighborhood. They had a homemade bass and a washtub drum but the voices of angels. We thought the homespun music was awesome. What I remember most is that feeling of belonging and community. We didn’t have much, but we had each other and it was enough. – Maggie Toussaint

Happy Holidays from Karla, Jim, Maggie, Nancy, Terry, and Tina!

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Posted in Let's Talk, with James M. Jackson, with Karla Brandenburg, with Maggie Toussaint, with Terry Odell, with Tina Whittle, zed: Former Authors • Tags: , , , , , , , |  8 Comments


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