A Brief Reflection on the Holidays

christmas-clip-artRecently, I’ve had a few health issues, which are making me sit down and take stock and think about things to be thankful for—and there really is plenty at this time of year. I love the tree lighting, the scent of pine as I walk city streets past tree sellers, the buoyant mood of people rushing against chill air to join loved ones. I love the food, the games, the being together and the age-old decorations. I’m happy to see Santas on street corners collecting for charity and uniformed Salvation Army members ringing their bells. Displays in shop windows are a fascination, and the extra street lighting makes everything look so much more cheerful.

The holiday season now also unfortunately entails non-stop shopping, continuous ads on television for every sale going and blatant commercialism. Maybe it’s human nature to want the bargains, to hunt the deals, and Life has become so inundated with things, with stuff, any way to get it all at the best price is welcome. So many times I’ve been asked why I write western historical stories and what the appeal is. To me—and I know this is very personal—there is something far more appealing about that life. Their Christmas would have had simple decorations, homemade gifts, a joy in just being together rather than the mad rush to buy, buy, buy. SURELY it was more fun to pop corn and string it up with sour apples than to go out and buy colored balls, tinsel and various other little ornaments to hang on the tree—made in China? Surely, the hand-knit sweater meant more to the receiver than the latest iPad or phone?

Maybe not. Humanity hasn’t really changed; these items were simply not available so folks were happy with what they got. But happiness is still, pretty much, based on the same agenda. We’re happy to have our health, our home, our family and friends who support us. IMG_0804We still gasp at a breath-taking dawn and the beauty of a sunset behind majestic hills. We’re in awe at the variety of wildlife in a setting that stuns us into silence, while the laughter of loved ones and children and those close to us still tugs at our hearts.

At least that’s what I’m thankful for. What are you thankful for and what are you looking forward to in the New Year? Please let me know… I have 3 simple gifts to give away, and a cartload of good cheer.DSCN1497


There are 2 digital copies of my books to give away and 1 surprise gift.  The winners are Irene Bennett Brown, Mary M. and Vicki Batman.  Thanks to everyone who responded!


29 responses to “A Brief Reflection on the Holidays

  1. Andi, What a beautiful perspective on the season. Thank you. It resonates with a series of posts I’m doing on my Facebook page, They examine the Cowboy Code. The thing that jumps out of these reflections for me is the clash between those simple values and our ‘selfi-pop-culture’. The heart warming part is the number of folks who agree. We have so many good people in this country, you can’t help but hope.


  2. I agree with your take on the holiday hoopla completely, Andi. I wish we lived in simpler times. It’s nice to read your post – a reminder of the things we can appreciate. Happy Holidays!


  3. Kathy Heare Watts

    What am I thankful for:
    #1 Jesus Christ and my salvation
    #2 My husband, Steve, who had his 2nd heart attack this year. We have been married 38 years. I hope we have many more.
    #3 Our 3 children and 10 grandchildren and that we had everyone together for Thanksgiving.
    #4 FREEDOM. I love living in the USA, not perfect, but a free country. I love that I have the freedom to read what I chose.
    #5 Friends…..and authors…..and lots and lots of books. So far I have read and reviewed over 370 books this year! I love to read.

    New Year: Books, reading and reviewing!


  4. Lovely post. I agree with you about simpler times. I’m old enough to have lived them. 🙂


  5. I’m thankful for my family and our many blessings despite all the challenges of life on a small family farm.


  6. Irene Bennett Brown

    I’m thankful that my husband and I slept through a burglary in our home this past March. Had one of us woke and confronted the burglar, the other would have gone to help and we might not be alive to celebrate Christmas and the future! In the weeks following our home invasion, this culprit went on a spree of 6 more burglaries, 2 store holdups, kidnap, rape, and the murder of a woman who tried to stop him. Her eight-year-old son found her bleeding on the kitchen floor at 2:00 am, the back door ajar. The criminal behind all this is 19. He is behind bars facing a life sentence. I asked the district attorney if this crime spree in Oregon was the beginning. He said, “No, he committed home burglaries and hold-ups in Missouri (where he’s from) and in California before he came to Oregon” Unbelievable! My wish is for an answer, a cure, for whatever it is that twists a child to become a hardened criminal. And for all who read this, I wish you warm Christmas blessings and a New year of good health, peace, and joy.


    • Wow, Irene, that’s quite a tale! I was robbed as well this year–by someone working for me whom I trusted to be in my home alone. When they should have been working in my home, they were finding the key and the code to my safe which they robbed along with other things. It leaves one with such an awful feeling–and that is without the risks that your robbery entailed. Let’s hope we both have happier 2015s.


  7. I’m thankful for my good health and for the good health of my family. I’m hoping to be one of those old ladies still going strong at ninety-five!


  8. My wish echoes Irene’s. My wish for Christmas is that every child, from birth, be loved and kept safe from physical and emotional harm in all it’s many forms. Then the cure she mentions will be a reality. Also I want to add that I feel blessed to live in America and to know that God loves me.


  9. This year DH and I are hot and heavy into the process of packing up our house so that we can move to a new one. As I’m a packrat, this is not a fun process. We’ve already donated 36 cartons of books to our local library — with many more to follow.

    I’m grateful that:
    1. We’re moving — Our current home was supposed to be temporary but we’ve been here more than 15 years.
    2. We’re in good health.
    3. The packing and moving process is finite.

    I wish to get done moving with minimum drama and frustration.

    Looking forward to the new year in our new home.


    Much to look forward to in the New Year!


  10. I am thankful for a loving family, great books to read and the freedom that we are blessed with.


  11. I’m thankful Handsome continues to be healthy. I’m thankful for my boys and my new daughter in law. I’m thankful for my friends and family. Pretty simple. People.


  12. I’m thankful to wake every day with an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Happy Holidays to you and yours!


  13. This is a lovely post, Andrea. I, too, think we all have too much stuff and it is definitely time to simplify and try to live a sustainable life. I am thankful for my husband who has been patient and caring with my own health crisis this year and I am especially thankful that the crisis may, indeed, be over! I am also thankful for living where I do–in a very small town and among mountains–and for our children and their children. I hope your health improves as well, as we have similar problems!


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