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Holiday Guest Post by Pitch Wars Mentor Lori Goldstein!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Christmas card with hot cup of cappuccino,  cinnamon sticks and christmas tree branch isolated,

Holiday Guest Post by Lori Goldstein

When Brenda asked me to write about a family holiday tradition, my excitement swelled like a helium balloon. But after an hour in my desk chair, all I had to show for it was a flat piece of Mylar and a voice like Donald Duck. Because my family is not good at follow-through.

The only holiday tradition my family managed to maintain for any length of time was “oh-so-cute” when I was three, “mildly sweet” when I was ten, and ended with a pre-teen grumble of “seriously?” when I was twelve.

On Christmas Eve, my older sister and I were allowed to open one gift. The sizes and patterns may have changed from year to year, but the gift was otherwise always the same: matching pajamas. These special early gifts were merely our parents’ way of staging our Christmas morning photos. Our tradition was all about window dressing.

Fortunately, what they say about necessity being the mother of invention is true. Because needing to write about a holiday tradition led to me inventing one.

Last year, I watched my two nephews (in the matching pajamas I gave them . . . I guess maybe my family does have a tradition after all) tear through their gifts. Opening one after another, they attacked the pile like they were storming the beach at Normandy and neither took even a nanosecond to mourn the casualties. Afterward, hunkered down against the couch, they rehydrated and stared, shell shocked, unable to process what to play with first.

My sister said next year, maybe she should spread the gifts out over the course of the day and give the kids a better chance of appreciating each one. That’s a good idea. But I have a better one.

Because as good as it would be to distribute their presents over the course of one day, how much better would it be to draw them out all year? And what better gift to do this with than books?

The holiday tradition I’m starting this year, which I hope will last longer than the matching PJs, is a “Year of Books.”

Both of my nephews are blessed with the “book lover” gene that must run in our family. They devour books like they are made of Nutella (now there’s an idea…). They beg their school librarian to carry titles they find elsewhere and love. They proudly display books they own, pulling them off their shelves and reading them over and over again. As an aunt who lives several hours away, being able to “talk books” with my nephews bonds us and makes me feel a part of their lives in a way I wouldn’t otherwise.

For Christmas, I plan to give them each one book with the explanation that they will receive a new one every month throughout 2014. The fun I’ll have choosing I hope will be matched by the fun they have receiving and, of course, reading. And the best part about this “Year of Books” is that we’ll be a part of each other’s lives all year long in a way we haven’t been in the past.

I have a feeling this will be a tradition my family makes stick.

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About the Author

Lori Goldstein’s debut, BECOMING JINN, is a Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy coming Spring 2015 from Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s, with the sequel scheduled for Spring 2016. Lori is represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency. With a degree in journalism and more than 10 years of experience, Lori is a freelance copyeditor and manuscript consultant for all genres. Too much of Lori’s day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter.

For more on BECOMING JINN, including a sneak peek at the first page, visit:  www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com. And be sure to follow Lori on Twitter (@loriagoldstein) and Facebook. You can also add BECOMING JINN to your to-read list on Goodreads.


Filed: Misc

  • B.A. Wilson says:

    This is a terrific idea! I may steal your new tradition for my niece and nephews. I often bring them a book when I visit anyway.

    Also, if it makes you feel any better, the matching pajama thing somehow drug on in my family until I was almost 30, but it started skipping years once we became “adult” sized.

    Great post!

    • Lori says:

      Please steal!! That’s too funny about the matching PJs. I imagine my parents would be thrilled if we still did it!

  • Jen Malone says:

    Adorable! Way better than the fruit-of-the-month club. I’ve noticed some indie bookstores are starting to offer this service too, Oblong Books in Hudson Valley, NY and River Run Books in Portsmouth, NH both popped up recently with this. You’re earning Best Aunt status for sure!!!!!

  • My family does the matching pajamas thing to this day, except now it’s my children being subjected to home-sewn plaid concoctions. I get to watch and grin just like my aunts and uncles used to. It’s a hoot.

    Every single Christmas I end up opening gifts and thinking, “The money spent on this would have been better spent on books.” EVERY YEAR. So I love this new tradition you’ve devised and am unabashedly stealing it on behalf of my children.

    I am also craving Nutella now. Curse you. 😛

  • DJ says:

    This is a fantastic idea for any age. Way better than jammies and it’s something to celebrate together throughout the year, beyond the birthday and typical holidays. I’m sure your nephews will grow up loving this tradition and will do it with their children.

    Hope you don’t mind; I may borrow this idea. 😉

  • Fiona says:

    This is such a lovely idea. Both my nieces and my nephew have a growing love for books, and my youngest niece writes me stories for when I come to visit Scotland from Cyprus. I think a Year Of Books is a fabulous tradition, and one that may well be making an appearance in my home! What a great way to keep in touch with those we are far away from. <3

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thank you for sharing your Holiday post with us. I wish we would have started such a fun pajama tradition like that in our house.

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