Holiday Let’s Talk

Happy Holidays!

Today, we’re sharing how holiday traditions changed over the years.

New birth and Hanukkah for Nancy. December holidays for our family in the earlier days meant gathering around the menorah each evening in the dining room, lighting the candles, and then watching our kids open one of eight or more gifts for Hanukkah. We laid the wrapped packages on the cocktail table in our living room, not having a Christmas tree, and decorated the dining table with silver tinsel and blue ornaments related to the holiday. Once our kids grew up and moved to Orlando, we shifted our preparations to the condo we own there. We’d have them over to our place and do a gift exchange. This time, we’ll have a whole new family. Within the past year, our daughter has married and given birth to a son. Her extended family lives in Orlando. So we’ll be there with them starting a new tradition. May you find love, laughter, and good eats this holiday season! Nancy J Cohen

Fun and Menu changes for Cheryl. Over the years, our Christmas celebrations have changed dramatically. When we first moved to Florida in 1975, we celebrated with the other newcomers in our apartment building. We not only shared our dishes but helped each other navigate the tricky path to living in the Sunshine State. Since we were the only family in Florida, we began a tradition of going to either Busch Gardens or Disney World for a day or two of fun and a great meal. Now that our sons have wives and children, we alternate between traditional family celebrations here in St. Petersburg and family in Dayton, Ohio. Another major change is creeping into our meal preparation routines. This will be the first year that a significant percentage of the guests are vegetarian/vegan. This has happened gradually, so we’re well prepared to overfeed everyone, but I realized for the first time that the shift is permanent. The main focus is still on hospitality, generosity, and friendship as well as being thankful for our friends and family. Season’s Greetings. Cheryl Hollon

A Very Meow-y Christmas for Diane. Family traditions inevitably change over the years, and nowhere is this more evident than with celebrating Christmas. Children grow up, move out, marry, and return with spouses and kids, and the ways of making merry adjust accordingly. But what about we now-grown children who don’t have children and grandchildren of our own? My husband and I answer that by including our cats and dogs in the holiday season. They “sign” cards and gifts to us, and in return receive presents from their human mom and dad. We put Santa hats on their fuzzy little heads and take pictures of them under the tree. And, yes, we’ll even take them to sit on a “Pet” Santa’s lap. You may scoff, but traditions are an important part of the human existence. And for us pet-only parents, bringing our furry family into the holiday celebration is sometimes the best excuse we have for commemorating those special days.Diane A.S. Stuckart

The Christmas Shuffle for Lois. Beginning when I was nineteen, for most of my adult life, I spent Christmas Eve with dear friends. The tradition increased in size over the decades as I married and had children, their family grew, and another family joined us. But life happens, and sadly, all good things eventually come to an end, including our Christmas Eve tradition. Kids grew up and start their own families. People moved away. We now have one son and his family living on the West Coast, the other down South. We’re rarely all together. My husband and I shuffle back and forth because it’s cheaper for two to fly than four or five. The last time my entire family celebrated Christmas together was four years ago, a year before the birth of our youngest grandchild. I’m hoping next Christmas we’ll be able to gather everyone together in one place. Until then, there’s FaceTime.Lois Winston

Online Shopping suits Debra. Although I know my family and friends enjoy receiving Chanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa gifts from me, I’m going to share a secret with you. For years, except for books I found browsing at our local bookstores, I’ve hated shopping for the other gifts we give. Fighting mall traffic, bucking crowds, running in and out of different stores looking for one more item and then having to wait in another long line to pay for it has frustrated me. Last year, I still shopped the bookstores, but then with Christmas carols playing and the first Menorah candles twinkling, I curled up with my computer and did my holiday shopping. What joy! What peace! A perfect new tradition.Debra Goldstein

The Joy of Music for Maggie. I love music throughout the year, but I especially love Christmas music. So many hymns and secular songs are forever ingrained in my head and threaded through with childhood memories. Through my love of Christmas Carols, I learned a little about music and joined a church choir. This holiday season we have four performances of “Miracle of Love.” (I’m not a brilliant singer, in fact I sing like whoever is standing next to me, which is why it helps me to sing in a section of sopranos in a choir.) New music continually comes along, and one of my newer favorites is “Mary Did You Know” by Pentatonix, an acapella group. Here’s a link if you’ve never heard the song or group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY1JoN_swbQMaggie Toussaint

As always, thanks for hanging out with us at Booklover’s Bench! Wishing hugs, smiles, and stacks of books for everyone this holiday season!

Nancy, Cheryl, Diane, Lois, Debra,and Maggie
Your author friends at Booklover’s Bench

Comments

  1. Wishing everyone a very happy holiday of your choice and all the best in the coming year!

  2. maggietoussaint says

    Safe travels, everyone!

  3. Have a safe and happy holiday with good health in the year ahead. And watch out for all those crazy drivers on the road at this season.

  4. Christa Nardi says

    Great post and thanks for sharing. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Whatever Holiday you choose!

  5. Happy holidays everybody!

  6. What a fun post — wishing our Benchers and Readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Solstice, or whatever holiday you celebrate. Here’s to health, happiness, and family and friends!