Where did that year go?
My budget isn’t ready for this!
The kids are off school earlier than ever!
I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet!
And the days are so hot, all I want to do is stay in the pool!
All these and more make December into a time of stress, a time of highs and lows, a time when disasters are magnified and joys can bring a prickle of unexpected tears. And this is exactly how your characters experience the festive season too!
Consider writing about the celebrations that bring families together, and sometimes tear them apart. Whatever else Christmas is, it is seldom a time of boredom. Emotions run higher than usual – joy, stress, loneliness, embarrassment, awkwardness, gritted teeth – all these can be woven into a single day – and in my experience, often are! So use them!
Writers are magpies. We collect ideas and moments, snippets of dialogue, facial expressions, the way someone concentrates on opening a gift, the subtle interactions as families and friends come together to share a once-a-year emotion-laden feast – these moments feed our muse, these keep our imaginations delighted. So long as we remember them. Write them down at once! Use a pocket-sized notebook. Scribble a memory jog on a napkin. Ask for a Moleskin notebook for Christmas!
And what are you to do with all these notes? January is the perfect time to write short stories for next Christmas. Write, edit and polish, and get them out to the magazines by March; they work months in advance, October is far too late.
And maybe you can then work some of those priceless moments into your next novel. Emotions connect us all – use your writerly skills to remind us of our own cherished memories.