First Five Fragments for Friday

Your weekly offering of writing prompts.

I have to admit to being completely in love with:

1. holiday lights
2. holiday music
3. holiday stories
4. holiday food
5. wrapping paper

I love feeding people and giving them presents, feel happy to see people trying to be nicer because that’s what we do at this time of year. The smell of pine boughs or baking cookies or roasting turkey just makes it all that much better. Which means, of course, that the world is full of writing prompts that could trigger happy memories (see 1-5 above).

But, of course, that’s not always the case. Holidays are a mixture of good and bad, stress and relaxation, just like the rest of our lives. And not everyone can afford to give gifts or feed someone else.

Maybe this is the nudge to consider what we actually celebrate and why. I grew up in a Catholic tradition, so Christmas is a December essential for me, even though I no longer practice Catholicism. What attracts me to a Christmas celebration now is centered on an appreciation of those about whom I care deeply. What I’ve retained from my childhood is a love of rituals that bring people together.

And you? What is it that causes you to celebrate in December? Alternatively, what might cause you to ignore the whole scene?

Whatever you do with December, make it matter.

Happy Friday.

Even our dogs have stockings. Happy Holidays!


  1. For Julie and me it is snowshoeing into the woods and cutting a fresh balsam for Christmas. They smell great in the house and they grow like weeds here in the U.P. The branches are sparser but it is a tradition we have kept for more than 40 years.


  2. For me, it's celebrating the birth of Christ and family time together. (The son arrives home from Boston in 13 days.)

    This year we are opting for no gifts, I think. That's been the discussion and it's something I would welcome.


  3. I like giving gifts and I love the twinkling lights. I particularly like the eaty drinky bits of Christmas but it always makes me sad if I think too much.


  4. I don't like Christmas music until the week before Christmas. My neighbor puts up enough lights so I don't have to. I like making Christmas cookies, and deciding what to have for Christmas dinner. I've tried to carry on my childhood Christmas traditions, but realize I have to let my kids form their own rituals. I include the dogs in Christmas presents, because they are members of the family. Always looking for good new recordings of Christmas music – the less frantic the better.


  5. My current playlist would make you twitch, then, as I sit here with an iTunes holiday station playing on my computer and Christmas won't be here for weeks. You know, letting go of the childhood traditions that I wanted to carry on with my kids has been one of the hardest things for me. I do have to let that go, make news ones while my kids figure out what they want as their own traditions. Thanks for that reminder.


  6. I love the lights. And some of the food.
    For a very long time (over thirty years I think) I have been making Christmas cakes for family and friends. The second batch was cooked this morning and the house smells wonderful.
    I am a bit torn about Christmas though. The 'happiest' time of year is so very difficult for so many people. So I am postponing our celebrations and will do a shift on the crisis line on Christmas morning. Hopefully having someone to talk to will ease some of the pain…


  7. I am still in the throes of making Christmas cakes (of various sizes). More than thirty years ago now we started giving them to family and friends. On alternate nights after they are cooked I add a capful of rum or brandy. By Christmas Day they become the cake you have … when you are having a drink.


  8. Lovely post. I’ve also ditched the religious sentiments for Christmas and would ditch the whole thing because of what I see it’s turned into; buy crap, buy crap buy crap, spend spend spend! But, like you said, I keep my attention focused on how much love and gratitude I feel for my closest people. For us, it’s a time of bonding, warmth, and celebration to lighten the cold months. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this post, I could smell the pine, cookies and turkey while reading it!


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