Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Will You Spend the Holiday Season? Annie West

It’s that time of year when the world seems to get more frantic. People are trying to catch up on all the tasks they want to complete before 2008, arrange to meet friends and family, organise celebrations or even vacations away. As usual, I approach the end of the year with a sense of anticipation and nerves (at everything I have to do). How about you? Do you have everything under control, are you in a panicked rush or does the holiday season slide by easily?

I decided not to fret over the small things. Here’s my list of major tasks/pleasures I’m working on:

Ensuring we have plenty of food in the house. (Not easy with teenagers). This is the time of year that we make a special effort to spend time with family in particular and there’s nothing like an abundance of food to help the celebrations along.

Making sure we get together with friends. It’s summer here and the parties have begun. I’m looking forward to sitting by the pool/lake/barbeque/beach with a long cold drink and chatting with friends.

Organising gifts for the special people in our lives. Last year we had such fun buying gifts via Oxfam. Those gifts supplied clean drinking water, fruit trees and livestock to people in different parts of the globe. I loved seeing my brother in law’s face when he received a card saying his gift was a goat for a family on the other side of the world. I’m glad to say he was pleased.

Starting the next story. Actually I’ve started writing but I want to learn more about these characters and how they’re going to grapple with the conflict I’ve given them. It promises to be fun!

Writing letters. Yes, I know it can be a chore but I LOVE to receive news from my friends who live a long distance away, even if it’s just a couple of scribbled sentences on a card, so I’m working my way through my own address book right now!

Volunteering time with a local charity as part of their Christmas support for families.

Sneaking time to read some of the fabulous books that have come my way. There’s nothing like an Aussie summer’s day when everyone is well fed, there’s a leisurely cricket match on the TV keeping people occupied and I’m relaxing with a good book.

Above all, taking time out to reflect and be thankful for the many wonderful things in my life.

How about you? Do you have priorities for the season? Do you celebrate at this time of year? Or if not, when is your special time?

Annie is thrilled to say her next book, ‘The Greek Tycoon’s Unexpected Wife’ is out very soon: UK (Jan), Aus/NZ (Feb) and a little later in North America (Presents May).

If you want to check out an excerpt, just visit her website and go to the books page.


Estella said...

My priorities are to see than my grandchildren have presents, and there is food in the house for Christmas Eve, which I host.
The adults in our family do not exchange gifts.

Cherie J said...

There are alot of things I love to do during this special time. Love to bake cookies to give away and shop for gifts for family and friends. Writing cards and wrapping gifts are my least favorite tasks which is probably why I am behind on those tasks.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, great post! My plans for Christmas are fantastic - I'm finally going to scale the TBR pile! It's the size of Everest! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Annie West said...

Hi Estella, the littlies love their presents don't they? I have to say I get a kick out of finding something special for my parents too. When you find just the right gift it's such a good feeling.

Cherie, I'm with you on the gift wrapping. If I have lots of time I don't mind it so much but it can be a chore. You've made me think about the baking I haven't done too! I must start making some shortbread this week. I've finally sent my book off (whew!) and am hoping to spend some time in the kitchen now (in between sleeping, finishing those Christmas cards and starting some of the books I've wanted to read for ages).


Annie West said...

Hi Anna, I'm laughing at the idea of you climbing a pile of books. My bedroom is overflowing with books to be read. So is the lounge room and the spare room... Hope we both find some gems of stories in there!


Sharon said...

Merry Xmas, Annie
Your Christmas planning sounds wonderful and I love the idea of the Oxfam gifts.

I have such good intentions every year to be more organised. But this year really seems to have flashed by and with two weeks to go I still haven't done the cards! Eeek!

As for baking - well, my oven element has just died so I'm waiting for the electrician to come and fix it. Now, isn't that the best excuse! LOL But I do shudder to think that it might have happened on THE day with all that food cooking.


Cryna said...

My priority was to make sure that I had my shopping done for my kids and grandchildren, wrapped boxed and mailed in time to make the deadline. That was accomplished, so then it was sort of sliding from there. I have the turkey which I picked up yesterday on sale, and the meal planned (which is just all the trimmings)nothing fancy. I will have my parents and sister over to share it with me. Living alone I don't decorate to much anymore. I too have this huge TBR pile of books (actually they are now so hope to get extra time to just relax and read.

Annie West said...

Hi Sharon, yes, you time that broken oven well (G)!. Though as you say - just as well it didn't happen on 'the' day. I have a friend who always cooks their Christmas dinner on a covered BBQ. You could always try that.


Annie West said...

Hi Cryna,

How marvellous that you got all your presents ready in time to mail. I must admit I've done my long distance pressies, but not all the cards. I hope you find that extra time over the holidays to catch up on your reading too. It sounds like there'll be a number of us hoping to read over the break.


Authorness said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Annie!

I'm notoriously disorganised around this time of year. The season sneaks up so fast! But I at least have a lovely Christmas lunch planned with my DH and good friends.

x Vanessa

Christine Wells said...

Hi Annie! Can't wait for your next book!

I must admit I'm finding it difficult to get into the Christmas cheer this year. Once I have gifts out of the way, I'll relax a little, but I keep thinking to myself that Christmas is not supposed to be one long 'To Do' list! I am looking forward to spending time with the family, though. That's what Christmas is about to me.

Annie West said...

Trying again - the net just ate my response!

Authorness - nice to see you here. I hope you have a fantastic meal with your DH and good friends. Maybe you could even persuade them to cook that meal!


Annie West said...

Hi Christine,

Snap! I'm hanging out for your next book after reading 'Scandal's Daughter'. I love your historical voice and your hero. I hope you manage a lovely relaxing time with your family.


Karen H in NC said...

I'll spend a few days in MI with my kids then settle in for some serious reading since most of the programs on TV are reruns. And looks like the reruns will be run again and again it the writer's strike doesn't end soon.

tam said...

Hello Annie,

Our plans this Christmas it to visit relitives out of state. It will be good to see everyone. We haven't seen since before we moved.

Kate Hewitt said...

Those sounds like great plans, Annie. And I love the look of your next book :)

We just had a foot of snow dumped on us here in Connecticut and we're travelling for Christmas. My three kids have already started with the hyper Christmas buzz. Long, lazy days on the beach sound wonderful right about now!


Lois said...

Oh, there's always plenty of turkey and stuffing around! :) And when we have a tree (this year we didn't because of all the stuff around with fixing up the house in the hope to move one of these days there's just no place to put one!) the ornaments are all ones sis and me have gotten over the years, one for every year.


Annie West said...

Hi Karen. A writers' strike sounds intriging. But if it gives you an opportunity to sit down with some good reading at least there's an up side. Enjoy...

Hello, Tam. I hope your travel plans work out well. I've just been writing cards to friends in a city where we used to live. I'm so grateful our friendship has survived the interstate move, even though we don't see each other as often as we'd like. Hope you have a merry Christmas.


Annie West said...

Hi Kate,

Won't that racing around in the snow at least wear the kids out? A foot of snow sounds lovely (from a distance). I remember my only white Christmas with great fondness, but when we still had ice on the pavements a couple of months later it was a different story.

It's warm here but not as warm as usual. And after a cyclone hit us in June (we're not in the cyclone belt!) our pool is still awaiting repairs. I have fingers crossed we'll be using it by the end of next week. You could pop on over. I guarantee that will wear out hyper kids.


Annie West said...

Lois, I love the idea of your ornaments being so special. A different one each year from your sister must bring back lovely memories every time you use them. We have a few very special ones we've collected over the years, including some done by the kids when they were done. They're priceless. Enjoy that turkey!


deseng said...

Hi Annie,

Loved reading your post! I plan to spend my Christmas with my hubby, mom and friends. We will probably go to my mom's on Christmas day, eat and then open presents. My friends and I are going out after Christmas to eat and do a present swap. That is always fun!

I also have some elderly friends that I love to visit. I always visit them throughout the year. At Christmas I always take them presents and candy. They love it! The one lady can't walk anymore and just loves when I bring her all kinds of reading material. I save her up a lot of stuff and go over about once or twice a month.

My hubby and I always love to go to Sunset Hill Farm to look at the Christmas lights. They do it up so pretty!

Then we go to Washington Park in Michigan City and look at the lights there. They always have a huge display that winds all around the park.

Oh, I almost forgot! I always love to bake Christmas cookies! Yum! That is always fun and I love to share them! I take them to work and my boss gobbles them up! He is so funny!

I hope you have a fantastic Christmas! Have a wonderful, laugh filled time!
Michele L.