Hello, Romance Readers’ Café patrons! Happy December! I hope this advent season finds you well.
Are the lights and stockings hung with care in your home? Is there the hustle and bustle of cookie-making, menu planning, and present buying? How about the excitement and anticipation of the glorious day we’ll celebrate on December 25th, in which God put on flesh, becoming a child who would grow up to save us all? Yeah, we’re in the thick of all of that too at our house— and trying to make it more about the latter than the former.
But, I’ll admit, December is also filled with stress for me, often a time where I must fight for and be intentional about having any peace amidst the planning and preparations.
One thing that brings a fullness and a joy to the Christmas season for our family— and something that I transfer to my writing— is making time for traditions. The old mixed with the new. History brought to life in the present. Remembering our roots, where we come from, who we are. Passing things that were special to us down to our children. But we’ve also built in new traditions too.
For us, a few things that make our traditions list are: decorating our tree and home with ornaments and decorations that each have a story, making cookies (and memories) and getting really messy, finding ways to give presents to children who may not otherwise get gifts, read the Christmas story from the Bible and lots of Christmas books leading up to Christmas, watch our favorite Christmas movies, do a tour of the best Christmas lights in our area, celebrate with our immediate families and extended in the ways we always have, open one present Christmas Eve, add a new ornament each year to our collection, go to Christmas church service (and our girls usually sing), and we try to make it to one of the local Christmas parades and/or parties. Whew! It’s a lot. But it’s fun!
Okay, so what does this have to do with my writing? (Bless you, if you hung in there with me.) You guessed it, I write about traditions.
As I’ve come to understand myself better as a person, and who I want to be as a writer, I’ve realized that tradition, new life breathed into old things, is so important to me. It’s funny because I always unconsciously scattered these nuggets of history into my stories, but it took someone else pointing it out to truly recognize and embrace it.
So, while I write in contemporary settings and love it, the traditions, legacies, and stories behind the stories take up supporting roles in the books that I write/want to write. I find something irresistibly nostalgic and full of wonder deep in the roots of where family has tread before, laying the foundation for my heroes and heroines to walk. Learning from those who’ve gone before. Seeing the differences and similarities of the old against the new. Finding the beauty and importance in both the then and the now.
For example, in one story I wrote, the main character’s grandma loved to send postcards to herself on her travels so they’d be waiting for her when she returned home. After the grandmother dies, the postcards become beacons of hope and wisdom for the granddaughter.
In the book I’m writing now, the heroine is desperate to find the books her mother left for her after she passed away. Not so much because of the books themselves but what they represent to the daughter— a sense of who she is, where she came from, and the memories they possess (of her mother reading them to her.)
If families are present in my stories (of course), then traditions and family history are sure to follow. Like in one story where every Christmas whoever refuses to do the polar plunge (Is this just an Up North thing? It’s jumping into frigid water, by the way. Not actually recommending this!) on Christmas Eve, is the person who does all the Christmas dishes the next day.
Carrying on traditions and appreciating history in real life and in our fiction add richness and depth, don’t you think?
So, tell me, what are your traditions? Do you have some unique things you do on or around Christmas that you’d like to share? How about in your contemporary fiction, do you like to have some of those touches of history?
A born and bred Midwesterner, Mollie Rushmeyer makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. From a young age, she loved putting words to page and dreamed of becoming an author. As an inspirational contemporary romance and women’s fiction writer, she loves to bring stories of hope to messy, prodigal gals just like her.
She’s an active member of ACFW and is the Vice President of her local chapter. In her “spare” time she lives out her Lois Lane fantasies as a local print journalist, writes encouraging online content for Crosswalk and iBelieve, is an outdoors enthusiast, a passionate champion for the freedom of human trafficking victims, loves to sing and read, and enjoys full-time employment as a monkey-catcher… ahem, mommy.
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