November 26th, 2012

holiday park

Seeking Holiday Books

I'm actually kind of glad to be back to work after a very busy Thanksgiving week. I had a lot of fun and saw a lot of people, but it's good to be back to normal. I'll probably take a walk today, but I don't anticipate leaving the house otherwise.

My mom's birthday was last week, so I went to my parents' house early to celebrate. "Celebrate" meant food, a short shopping trip, and just hanging out. My brother and sister-in-law joined us for Thanksgiving. More food and hanging out, and I worked off dinner by letting my brother's little dog chase me around the back yard (though he didn't like it when the horse in the pasture behind my parents' yard stuck his head over the fence for a nose scratch). Then it was back home for the wedding of two of my friends, which meant it was essentially a gathering of all my good friends. I took a long walk yesterday before getting down to work.

Now I have the holiday season ahead of me, and as usual, I'm not mentally ready for it. It doesn't help that it's so warm that it feels more like spring (the flowers are even still blooming). Thanksgiving was early this year, though, and I prefer not to go into Christmas mode until December. But everyone else seems to be in full gear, and Lifetime is showing all their holiday movies when I'm not yet ready for them. I think I may get out my decorations next weekend and then I'll start my holiday season with the beginning of Advent.

As I do every year, I've been trying to track down books to read in the appropriate atmosphere once I have the house decorated. That's one of my traditions, a way to force myself to take a quiet moment or two amid all the usual craziness that comes around this time of year. It started purely by accident when I just happened to have a book to read and sat down amid my lights, with some holiday music on and a cup of cocoa, and it turned out that the book was set during the Christmas season, which made it really special. The trick is finding the right book.

I'm not crazy about the obvious "Christmas" books -- you know, the romances with titles like "Her Secret Santa" or anything in which someone learns the true meaning of Christmas, which is never actually the true meaning of Christmas but rather just generic "spend time with loved ones" greeting card stuff. I'm looking more for fun books that happen to be set during the holiday season without actually being about the holiday season, and that makes them much harder to find. It looks like Amazon has removed their tagging feature, so I can't search that way. I'm down to looking at "people who bought this also bought" and then reading the description and some of the reader reviews for clues.

I lean toward chick lit-type books because they're like movie romantic comedies. Nothing dramatic or "heartwarming" about finding adorable moppets a home for the holidays. Definitely no stuff like getting over bereavement. Basically, I'd love something like the movie The Holiday in book form, where the holiday season provided the setting and the situation, but the plot wasn't really about the holidays, and the lessons the characters learned could have come at any time of year. Or like a lot of the Lifetime romantic comedies, where they stick some Christmas-related title on any movie that happens to have a Christmas tree in the background of a scene and some snow. The ones I've found in the past were A Promising Man by Elizabeth Young, which just happened to be set during the Christmas season and included scenes of shopping and a dinner with the family, and The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde, which involved one of the characters having to pull together a family Christmas celebration at her new boyfriend's ancient farm house.

So, any suggestions of books you've happened to stumble across that might fit? I'm probably going to do an Amazon order later today for some other things, and may as well throw one more book in, if I find something.