Preparing for Christmas

We bought our Christmas wreath today. We’ve had an artificial tree for nearly two decades, but each year Christmas Wreathwe drive up to a tree farm at the base of the Pocono Mountains to buy a real wreath. Oh, I love the piney smell that oozes from a real tree indoors. A wreath hanging outside in the cold doesn’t give off such a scent. But that’s how things have developed in our home. We trim a fake tree hauled up from the basement, and hang a real wreath hauled down from the Poconos. It’s now a tradition.

This year’s wreath is smaller than last year’s. Most everything about this year’s Christmas will likely be smaller. No matter what a person’s income, it has become impossible for anyone to ignore the country’s current economic condition. And who knows what 2009 might bring?

Across America, banks are foreclosing on houses. Factories and plants are closing their doors. Those still employed wonder – am I next? Layaway plans are making a comeback and frugal living blogs abound. Rampant worry over the publishing industry has published authors encouraging others to buy a book to give this Christmas. Hey, a book is a great gift anytime!

Our giving this year leans heavily toward the practical, and the personal. Our sons are now on their own. They’ll find useful gifts under the tree. For geographically scattered siblings, I’ve created a newsletter blog. For others, I’ll give gifts from my kitchen.

But how does this influence our writing? The industry has realized that we’re in a recession. Publishers are laying off employees and downsizing books. For aspiring authors, is it practical to maintain professional memberships? What about next year’s conferences? Can we hope to sell? But in the grand scheme, does it matter? Life, after all, is a cycle. Shouldn’t we simply keep writing?

And shouldn’t we rejoice in the spirit of the Christmas holiday? This year can again be a time of profound beauty, if we prepare.

Will the current state of the economy influence how you celebrate this year and, if so, how?

4 thoughts on “Preparing for Christmas

  1. We have to look ahead with optimism. We’ll manage. It will be fine. I come from a country where the economy has been in a terrible shape for decades. But things do go ahead, lives flourish, and happiness finds ways to enter people’s souls a little each day.

    One thing I’ve noticed with my own family is that the more we struggle, the more we become sensitive to other people’s struggle and we become more giving, more involved, which is turn makes us happier. That’s worth feeling grateful for.

  2. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom, Lori. There’s much truth in what you say. We will survive, and be the stronger for it. Adversity toughens the soul. Many who lived through the depression went on to fight the battles in WWII, either in combat or on the homefront. They’ve been called The Greatest Generation.

    And I agree, too, that struggling ourselves makes us more sensitive to others’ struggles. As writers, we need to write through it all capturing the good and the bad. Translating it into stories that will endure. (Or at least, that’s what I’d like to think.)

    Good hearing from you!

  3. While my heart aches for those who will be in the cold and hungry this holiday season, I give to those charities who help them.

    As Lori says, we must look for the joy around us and our holidays may be scaled down but still filled with the wonder of being with loved ones, giving them something to affirm that love, and giving to those in need.

    We become stronger in dealing with challenges. I’ve learned that in my life, but I am lucky that I still see the joy that surrounds my life. We may just have to look a bit harder and in a few more places than before.

  4. Deb, we’re cutting down a tiny bit, but we’re not normally big spenders. As for the publishing industry, I bought a lot of books these last couple months, more than usual. I’m doing my share. 🙂

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