Category Archives: Christmas

A Writer’s Wish List for When Your Spouse Says, “Honey, What Do You Want for Christmas?”

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When your spouse, or significant other, asks, “Honey, what do you want for Christmas?” here are some suggestions.

A Writer’s Retreat
Writers’ retreats can be as extreme as a cruise or as simple as a few days at an Airbnb.

A Writer’s Conference, Seminar, or Class
If you Google conferences, seminars, or writing courses for 2017, you’ll find many to choose from.

awm_primarylogo_195x195A Literary Trip
Travel to the setting of your favorite novel, or the setting of your work-in progress. Visit literary landmarks throughout the USA. Be one of the first to visit the American Writers Museum, opening in Chicago in 2017.

Take a virtual tour online.

A New Laptop Computer
A laptop allows you to take your work with you wherever you go. If you already have one, then add to your gift list a carrying case or sleeve.

Professional Feedback
How about a consult with a literary agent, or hiring an editor to help with your work-in-progress?

postcards-002Business Cards and Other Promotional Items
Vistaprint makes it easy to design your own business cards, and it’s affordable! Use their designs, or your own. Add a calendar, tip table, or other information on the back side. Check out other options like their marketing materials for book signings, etc. Along with competitive pricing, Vistaprint ships fast.

New Software
Is your software old? Add an upgrade to your gift list. Or ask for new software to make your writing tasks easier.

Noise-cancelling headphones
If you want to shut out distracting sounds, get some noise-cancelling headphones. You can listen to music while you write, or write in silence. Check out ten recommendations.

Your Own Website
Ask your honey for the gift of a professionally designed web site. Every author needs one!

office-makeover-reveal-4Home Office Makeover
Start the new year by giving your home office a fresh look. Some paint, new carpeting, bookshelves, maybe a new desk . . . put these on the “honey-do” list, or hire a professional.

Take a look at this makeover from “Love Grows Wild.”

A Writer’s Shed
Every writer wants one of these. A quick search on the Internet will provide you with plenty of options from plans to prefab. And don’t forget about big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Garden sheds are easily converted to outdoor office spaces.

Cleaning Service
A cleaning service takes a big item off your weekly to-do list and frees up more time for writing. Angie’s List offers tips on finding a reputable cleaning service near you.

A Virtual Assistant
This won’t cost your honey a dime—if he or she is willing to to do your grunt work: printing, mailing, schlepping to the store for supplies and other tasks that whittle away your writing time.

Peace and Quiet
Ask your honey for peace and quiet. Have him or her take the kids out, once a week, so you can have a few hours of uninterrupted writing time. BONUS: Your kids will love spending fun time with one parent while the other writes.

11388026183_18186c3f74_o-copyDon’t forget coffee and chocolate!
A coffee gift card is always a good gift for writers. Or how about one of those fancy coffee makers so you can have espresso or lattes at home? And chocolate—ask your honey to fill your Christmas stocking with chocolate to snack on while you write.

How to drop a big hint to your honey: Vistaprint has blank gift certificates starting at $2.79/10. Order today. Then print out this list and leave it along with the gift certificates where your honey will find them. What happens next—is a surprise.

Good luck!

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Filed under Christmas, Gifts for writers, Uncategorized

The Best of Christmases Past

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“Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else. It’s amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room. A song you didn’t even pay attention to at the time, a place that you didn’t even know had a particular smell.”
― Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed

 Old Victorian houses made modern with enclosed front porches and wrapped tight in vinyl siding, this is the neighborhood where I grew up, this is now.

But Christmastime with its carols and sweet-scented baked goods reminds me of what used to be: pristine white houses lining both sides of the street, open porches with mahogany front doors and leaded glass windows, the mailman who came inside for hot chocolate and to warm up by the old gas stove, and my German grandmother—the grandmother who lived with us and welcomed everyone who came to our door.

God set my childhood in a multi-generational home rife with tradition in a neighborhood of German immigrants.The elderly Germans who lived there held tight to “old-country” ways.

My favorite memory—the one most conjured by sounds and smells at Christmas—is of their tradition of going house-to-house singing carols. My grandmother and a dozen or so others would bundle up warm, trudge through the snow, and visit each house on our block. After a swift knock on the door we heard:

920x920Herbei, o ihr Gläubigen,
Fröhlich triumphiernd,
O kommet, o kommet nach Bethlehem!
Sehet das Kindlein,
Uns zum Heil geboren!

 O lasset uns anbeten,
O lasset uns anbeten,
O lasset uns anbeten,
Den König!

 Oh, Come All Ye Faithful . . .

At each house, the carolers came inside for treats: wassail or hot chocolate to warm them, cookies or candies—always homemade.

I remember . . . and I hope you do, too,
the best of Christmases past.

branch

And this is my Christmas wish for you today, my readers:
I wish you sweet memories of Christmas,
warm days filled with the love of family and friends,
and your merriest Christmas yet!


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Do You Know the Meanings of These Christmas Carol Words?

imagesChristmas carols. You listen to them.You sing them.
But do you know the meanings of all the words?

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Let’s see if you can guess the meanings of the words and phrases in boldface type. (Answers below)

From “Away in a Manger”
“The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes.”

From “Deck the Halls”
“Troll the ancient Yuletide carol.”

From “The Wassail Song”
“Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green”

wen5From “Good King Wenceslas”
“Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen
“Sire, he lives a good league hence underneath the mountain”

From “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
“Still through the cloven skies they come”

4504007_640pxFrom “Ding Dong Merrily on High.”
“Ding dong, verily the sky is riv’n with angel singing”

From “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful”
“We too would thither bend our joyful footsteps.”

From “Angels We Have Heard On High”
“Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

Two bonus questions . . .

Which song title has the correct punctuation?
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

What does the word “carol” mean?

Answers:

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Lowing is that low mooing sound that cows make.

To troll means “to sing loudly.”

A-wassailing is going door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

The Feast of Stephen is a special day held in the Catholic Church on December 26 in honor of St. Stephen; it is also known as “Boxing Day.” League is a distance measure equaling about three miles.

Cloven means “split” or “divided in two.” In this song it refers to clouds parting in the sky to reveal God’s angels.

Verily is a synonym for “truly” and riven is another adjective for “split.”

Thither bend means “to move toward something.”

Gloria in excelsis Deo is is Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”.

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is correct, not “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.” The phrase “rest ye merry” is used here to mean “rest assured.”

Carol comes from the Greek word “choros” which means “dancing in a circle,” and from the French word “carole” which means, “a song to accompany dancing.”

How well did you do?

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Filed under Christmas, fun with words, Uncategorized, unusual words, words