Preparing for Christmas

We bought our Christmas wreath today. We’ve had an artificial tree for nearly two decades, but each year Christmas Wreathwe drive up to a tree farm at the base of the Pocono Mountains to buy a real wreath. Oh, I love the piney smell that oozes from a real tree indoors. A wreath hanging outside in the cold doesn’t give off such a scent. But that’s how things have developed in our home. We trim a fake tree hauled up from the basement, and hang a real wreath hauled down from the Poconos. It’s now a tradition.

This year’s wreath is smaller than last year’s. Most everything about this year’s Christmas will likely be smaller. No matter what a person’s income, it has become impossible for anyone to ignore the country’s current economic condition. And who knows what 2009 might bring?

Across America, banks are foreclosing on houses. Factories and plants are closing their doors. Those still employed wonder – am I next? Layaway plans are making a comeback and frugal living blogs abound. Rampant worry over the publishing industry has published authors encouraging others to buy a book to give this Christmas. Hey, a book is a great gift anytime!

Our giving this year leans heavily toward the practical, and the personal. Our sons are now on their own. They’ll find useful gifts under the tree. For geographically scattered siblings, I’ve created a newsletter blog. For others, I’ll give gifts from my kitchen.

But how does this influence our writing? The industry has realized that we’re in a recession. Publishers are laying off employees and downsizing books. For aspiring authors, is it practical to maintain professional memberships? What about next year’s conferences? Can we hope to sell? But in the grand scheme, does it matter? Life, after all, is a cycle. Shouldn’t we simply keep writing?

And shouldn’t we rejoice in the spirit of the Christmas holiday? This year can again be a time of profound beauty, if we prepare.

Will the current state of the economy influence how you celebrate this year and, if so, how?