Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the holiday season. By the age of five, a love of the winter holidays was hard-wired into me by the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and the gifts Santa left for me under the tree. But, for me, there is much more to the holiday season than songs and retail. The dizzying blink of lights strung across houses and looped up trees are particularly delightful.

cupcake in bed
Who? Me? I would never eat a dreidel…

I also love dancing to our musical laser light up dreidel and becoming angered because it plays the appropriate “Driedel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” instead of the Beverly Hills Cop song, Axel F. (Our previous dreidel, which our dog ate, played the 1980s movie theme song and we relished the weirdness of it, as we prefer our holiday traditions unusual rather than traditional. Despite the Amazon description, we have not yet found a replacement.)

Other beloved holiday traditions include:

1. Obsessing over building a Christmas tree out of books. (If you’d like to learn more about that adventure, there is a whole blog post devoted to that madness.)

2. Decorating our house in my chosen holiday color – pink.

3. Watching funny holiday movies on Christmas Eve.

My favorite tradition, however, is our annual cookie party, where friends and family come over to our house to decorate cookies, eat food, drink and generally be merry. It’s an all-day affair that takes days of preparation and several days to return the house to a clean, sorted semblance of normalcy.

After six hours and over sixty people, our house looks like the inside of a cookie tin exploded. But it’s so much fun. (This year my husband gets extra extra brownie points for doing a large portion of the cookie baking, since I proved, once again, I should not be allowed to hold a knife or a spatula.)

While the holidays bring joy, they also bring a bit of stress and angst and did I mention stress? Buying the perfect presents. Organizing the perfect holiday party. Wrapping presents. Last minute shopping. All while writing, working, traveling, shuttling kids around, being a parent (or trying to be a parent and failing)… Even though I am grateful for everything I have, it’s still a lot.

By the end of December, I am ready for an 11-month vacation from the holiday season. My writing and reading time also dives into an abysmal pit of nothing during this period (as evidenced by my sporadic blogging).

Therefore, after all the fun of Chanukah and Christmas are done, typically when the clock turns midnight on December 26, all I want to do is shut my door, turn off my phone and ignore the world while I snuggle up with some very, very not holiday-related, stress-free books. In fact, the week between Christmas and New Years tends to be one of my most active reading and writing periods. Last year, I read eight or ten books that week alone (partly because I discovered the Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series and binged it in a crazy obsessive way) and made major headway on edits to The Travelers II (currently in editing prior to sending back to the publisher!)

This year, due to work, my reading and writing will be more limited. 😦  But I still hope in the next few weeks to get through a bit of my TBR. With a goal of leaving behind reality for a little while and just existing in a wonderful world of books again, I hope these will work to cure my post-holiday hangover.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

dumplin

Because I’ve read Puddin’ (apparently I like to do things backward!), but I haven’t read the first book in the series and want to read it quickly so I can watch the movie!!

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

to kill a kingdom

Because I need a little escapist fantasy in my life right now…

Swing by Kwame Alexander

swing kwame.jpg

Because Kwame Alexander makes everything better!

Sun Tzu: The Art of War

sun tzu.jpg

Because it’s quoted in like every TV show, movie, book ever and I just need to read it already.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

becoming michelle obama.jpg

Because I love Michelle Obama so much! (I was hoping I’d get a copy for Christmas, but I didn’t…I got a bunch of great gift cards to bookstores though, so you can bet you know where I’m headed to spend them!)

That’s five books….a lofty ambition for someone who hasn’t even had time to write a blog in the last week, until now. But I’m going to try to read them all before New Years…or at least before the end of January. 🙂

I know the holidays aren’t even technically over for many of us. There is still New Years! But is anyone else feeling the holiday hangover? If so, what books are you reading to treat it?

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