Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What A Lady REALLY Needs for Christmas.... by Grace Burrowes

Where I live, the first frost has hit. My daughter in Denver has seen snow on the ground, and slightly north of her, the bitter cold and heavy snow accumulations have already started.

It's November, our next holiday is Thanksgiving, and for some people, that makes this the toughest time of year.

Cold keeps us indoors, shorter periods of sunlight can affect mood and energy. Most of us are making less Vitamin D, and that has all manner of metabolic implications. Flu season is upon us, driving can become perilous, and soon we'll be expected to come up with clever, insightful, tasteful, but not too expensive gifts for half the people we know or work with.

This can be a tough time of year, but NOT FOR ME.

I recently figured out that I sleep better in the colder weather, and thus I have more energy than when it's warm--despite the lack of sunlight. I also have more time to myself, and being a Warp Nine introvert, time to myself is another place I find more energy. Because of snow days and holidays, I have more time to stay home and marathon-write, and that's another source of energy and joy for me. When the leaves come off the big maple trees surrounding my little log cabin, my house has more natural light, and it's that sharp, contrasty winter light that seems to pierce all gloom.

I love this time of year, but not for the usual reasons. Not the getting together, not the holiday meals, not the time off from "work."  The depths of winter are Grace Holidays--solitude, big word counts, good sleep.

Often in our romance novels, the hero or heroine has to re-examine what is working for them, and what isn't. My heroines come to the realization that they loathe the shallowness and exhaustion of a London season. The heroes might have to admit they're not keen on hanging out in smelly, smokey, clubs; they aren't fond of brandy; and they like loud waistcoats.

We should all have permission to assess what about social assumptions works for us, and what doesn't, and to readjust accordingly. I've more or less backed into my ideal winter season, with lots of "writing holidays," time to myself, and cozy reading in the late evenings. Many other people thrive on the holiday shopping, the frequent socializing, and the hordes of house guests.

Where do you fall on the continuum between people who thrive in winter, and those who simply endure it? What's your ideal winter holiday, and is there a way you could have some of that, despite all the expectations you might have fulfill to the contrary?

To one commenter, I'll send a $25 Amex gift card, which I hope she'll use FOR HERSELF. To two other commenters, I'll send a signed copy of What A Lady Needs for Christmas.

25 comments:

  1. Like the snow in Winter

    BN100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. So so I. I'm not as keen on needing four wheel drive to get around where I live though, because that means a much larger carbon footprint, at least for now.

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  2. I endure it. I hate the cold. I'm so glad I love someplace warmer for now!

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    1. mk, my ridin' buddies come down where you do. Between cold, wind, frisky horses, snow sliding on the roof, horses growing winter coats that hold the sweat.... cold weather is simply no danged fun if you ride horses. Hard to make progress when the weather is fighting you six months of the year. And for my elderly parents, Southern California is a lovely.... but I'm not them. Yet.

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  3. Like you, I function much better in cold weather. I just dissolve into a sluggish puddle on hot, humid days. I love Christmas, but even better is the slow, quiet time in January, February, and March when nothing much is happening and I can work without interruption. Best of all are snow days, when no one could expect me to even leave the house.

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    1. My fave: When the governor declares a state of emergency, and even the courthouse and the Social Services close. BLISS, but then I think, "What if I were having chest pains in the middle of this state emergency?"
      Not so bliss.

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  4. I LOVE winter so I'm paddling the same boat you are...hot tea, hot chocolate, warm cookies, lots of writing time...ALL of it! My fat cells are so happy that they can stop whining about fear of the heat rendering them out and making bacon drippin's. My favorite winter holiday is Christmas because we go to the beach for 2 weeks. I KNOW...crazy time to go to the beach but it's quiet and I get mega amounts of writing/editing done to the music of the gulls and the sounds of the ocean! Loved this post and for the reminder that summer is gone and winter is around the corner in my part of the world, too!

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    1. I once spent a week on the Outer Banks in the fall. Lovely, lovely. I don't think beaches like to be crowded, and I certainly got a better appreciation for why anybody would spend time near the ocean. The beach AND hot chocolate? Now that has possibilitiies.

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  5. I LOVE this post. I am also a "warp nine introvert". Just as you mentioned I sleep better, love the isolated "me" time, get more done, and adore snow. I do not like the holiday hustle and am NOT a fan of people at my house. :) I do like the family closeness feel and smiles on every face I see. Great post - lovely to know I'm not alone. LOL

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    1. I also like the sense of goodwill in the air. Maybe I'm projecting my own seasonal cheer, but I do think the message of the holidays means something: Good will toward ALL, even in the mall parking lot--maybe especially there. Even in line at the post office. Even at the urgent care. I love that.

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  6. Boy, I understand that introvert aspect. As long as I don't have any obligations over the holidays (i.e. cooking a monster turkey), I'm all good. I consider Black Friday a perfect day to huddle in and write! I love a Christmas romance. Can't wait to read this one.

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  7. I endure during the brief and sporadic Houston winter. Today it was 50 when I woke up at 4:30 to do bootcamp. 50 is cold here, and I was miserable. I can't wait until it's 75 again (probably 2 days from now). That's enough winter for me. I'd rather be hot than cold any day. I do like a Christmas romance, and I'll take my snow and frost fictional.

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  8. I don't mind winter. Not only is there a certain beauty in watching the snowfall, but it seems a natural precursor to Christmas.
    penfield716(AT)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. Hi, Grace. I'm not a fan of winter. If I were able to stay snuggled and cozy in my house, it'd be great. But I have to trek downtown five days a week, and we get some brutal storms right at the Lake Erie shore. Spring and fall make me happy. :-) (Please don't enter in contest - I have the book!)

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  10. Winter is typically great here in Houston. (Right, Shana?) Temperatures are mild. While we will get some cold (yes, even freezing) days, they are intermittent and atypical. The family is used to shorts and tee shirts for Christmas, windows down while driving (thankfully, a respite from air conditioning!) in January.

    My favorite winter holiday is Mardi Gras, which generally falls in mid to late February. (In 2015, it will be on Feb. 17.) The weather in south Louisiana where I attend the celebration is generally cool enough for a jacket for the night parades, but sunny and mild during the day. Mardi Gras is definitely low-key preparation for the masses--a giant free party!

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  11. I endure winter and summer. My most comfortable seasons are spring and fall. However, I love the food in winter and the getting together with friends and family so make that happen.

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  12. I hate the cold weather and driving on ice but love it when I don't have to go out in it lol. I now limit myself to on one big party a year which is a tree trimming party. I enjoy it once I've done all the cleaning, shopping and cooking!! I do get stressed with gift buying because I never know what to buy anymore (it was so much easier when the children were young) but yet gift cards seem too impersonal and I'm really not a shopper and I always overspend lol. But that said, I'm really trying to go with the flow and enjoy what comes.

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  13. I don't like the cold, I find myself counting down the days when winter is over. If I could live where it is 75 year round I would be happy

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  14. I live in New England by the ocean. Winter means lots of snow and power outages. I like the first few storms and any snow that magically appears on the weekends. Shoveling out is a way of life as is traveling to work in 4wheel drive.
    I love the holiday season and we celebrate with a small group of friends and family. We decorate the porch with lights and I inherited my parents candles for the windows. I like to see the candles as I drive down my street during the winter, it's a welcoming sight.

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  15. I've finally come to the realization that I would never go outside if I lived in a cold climate. I really don't like being cold, and I'm just fine in warm weather, especially in the West. I'm living in Florida now, and I don't mind the heat, but I could do without the humidity. When it starts getting cold, I become very unhappy and start bundling up with layers, and we're not even talking "real" cold. My ideal winter holiday would be spending it with my family, wherever that might be. Last Thanksgiving I spent up in the So. California mountains, braving the cold but loving it because I was with my family. I don't like traveling at that time of year, but I left a bit early and came home a bit late, so I missed most of the craziness, just to make my sister happy. Of course it made me happy too. :D

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  16. I am not a fan of really cold weather - only one reason I've stayed in my part of Texas. I can handle a few days like we are having now, but I do not thrive when the temps stay in the 40s and below. It's kind of ironic that I love boots, jeans and the clothes that go with winter . ;-)

    As for all the socializing and events that come with the various holidays... I love the food and getting together with smaller groups of friends and family but I have never been on for big parties. And I am one of those women who can always find something I'd rather do than shop - like read a book. :-D

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  17. I do not thrive in winter. Don't like the cold or the lack of sunshine. I plan trips to visit my mom in FL that help me get through it. The opportunities to spend time with family also helps. The fact of your loving this time of year benefits us!!

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  19. Well, 50-50 can I say?
    From one point can't stand cold,to me is never enough warm in winter :D, not a big fan ,but from the other side I love to watch through window when is falling snow and also to walk on the snow and to hear that crunching sound :)
    And winter is much more relaxed,you don't rush anywhere,you simply enjoy in your warm home :)

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  20. I tend to be able to move around more when it is cooler but I have to admit that I like using the electric blanket so the bed is nice and warm when I get in it, lol. And we don't get snow, I'm just a wimp! I do prefer spring, though, watching all of the little plants flourish and not having to bundle up!

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