Monday Challenge: Present


Ignore any twitching; that’s normal. (Photo credit: Wysz)

I got you a present.

Yes, I know it’s early. But this isn’t strictly a holiday thing. It’s not even strictly a present, really. It’s more of a…challenge, I guess. Yeah. That’ll do.

It’s over there, under the tree. No, not that one. That one’s mine. Yours is the big one. Yeah, that one. The one that’s moving slightly.

Why? Well, I can’t tell you that. It will spoil the surprise. And I love surprises.

Sure, you can pick it up if you want. Careful, though; it’s heavier than it looks. And don’t be alarmed if you hear anything. It’s supposed to make that noise.

What’s that? Why is it leaking? Strange. It shouldn’t be doing that. No, no, of course that’s not blood. Though it is very red and festive-looking, isn’t it?

You know what? Maybe you should open it now, just to check and make sure it’s okay. Go ahead. I’ll be over here. Behind the door. You just open it, and tell me what’s inside.

Merry Christmas.

Monday Challenge: The Yule Duel


Shown: Traditional Tartan for the Yule Duel (Photo credit: Dolor Ipsum)

Sooooo…a week before Christmas Eve. Everyone freaking out yet? Everyone got their shopping done/commercialization protested against? Feeling good? That’s nice. I’m still on track to make the Christmas deadline for the zero draft, but if I don’t, guess what I’ll be doing on Christmas Day? Nothing like getting some word count in your stocking.

Speaking of the holidays, we had a party this weekend. Some friends of ours are going away over the holidays, so we wanted to do our gift exchange early. It was a hell of a lot of fun. Good food, good times. And it was themed. This was a Christmas pyjama party.

I should explain: the Husband and I like to make new traditions. When we first started living together and had our first Christmas where neither of us went back to our parents’ places, we decided to institute things to make the holiday ours. This has led to the Christmas Eve Lasagna, the Midnight Movie in Pyjamas, the Gift Opening Beers, and the Breakfast Skillet. We also eschew the traditional turkey feast in favour of the Christmas Day Theatre Movie, complete with oversized concession stand snacks. We like our traditions.

This was the inaugural year for the Christmas Pyjama Party, and we liked it. I think we’ll keep it.

So, for this week’s Monday Challenge, write about a tradition. It can be one your family has*, or one that you wish you had. Or even just something weird that your characters have. The Yule Duel**, the Snowman Sacrifice, the Burning of the Socks. Or something more serious, like the old Druidic sacrifices to get the damn sun to come up properly and stop lazing about. Pick your favourite and have fun.

And remember: traditions don’t have to make sense. If they did, they probably wouldn’t stick around so long.

*In my family, the biggest tradition was Distract Mom So She Forgets and We Don’t Have To Go To Midnight Mass.
**Actually, I kind of like this one. I might use this myself.


Monday Challenge: The Yearly Conversation

Autumn leaves sceenario.

It’s that time of year again. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Labour Day, you working class writers. I don’t know about your particular climate, but here it’s sunny with just a touch of coolness. Harbinger of the coming change.

I’ve always liked Labour Day. Maybe it’s because it comes right after my birthday, so on some years it feels like my birthday becomes a holiday weekend*. Maybe it’s because I was one of those weird kids that looked forward to the start of school. Maybe it’s that it’s the start of autumn. Of my mind, I mean, not in the astronomical sense. In here the leaves have already turned.

Holidays are a funny time in any event. Everyone’s got traditions that go with them. Maybe the last family BBQ of the year. Maybe time to close up the cottage for the winter. Maybe leaving My Little Pony figures in your neighbour’s yard**.

Or maybe this is the time of year that you set aside for having a particular conversation.

Picture it. Two people on the grass. Leaves are already falling around them. There’s walkers on the trails nearby, but right here it’s just them. They’ve made time for this, just like they did last year, and the year before. Just like they probably will next year, unless things have changed. They know it probably won’t be a comfortable conversation; there’s too many things at play. But it’s time for a decision to be made again, and this is the anniversary of their first decision on the matter. So they meet, and talk, and decide. For one more year.

Today’s Holiday Monday Challenge: write that conversation.

**On a related note, if anyone in my neighbourhood is missing Pinkie Pie, she’s on my porch.