Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's a family tradition!

Just last night I was thinking about traditions, though not exactly in the, well, traditional sense. I was joking with a neighbor who was vacationing in North Carolina's Outer Banks. She'd called from the parking lot at Wal-Mart, where her husband was shopping...as he does every single Friday evening on his way home from work. I told her to tell him I was glad he was sticking with tradition, even far from home.

Perhaps his tradition is really little more than habit, but it is a reminder that we are rapidly approaching a season in which family traditions are a big deal. From Halloween through the New Year, I suspect all of us do things we started in childhood and have continued with our own families.

In my neighborhood here, for instance, the Halloween decorations are already up. Yards are filled with pumpkins -- real and plastic. Bats hang from trees. Giant spiders spin huge webs. For someone whose family never went overboard for this particular holiday, it's rather amazing to see half the town transformed into some sort of haunted community. And it's all a bit like the town of Serenity in my Sweet Magnolias series.

Serenity is a town which loves its holidays, which makes the Christmas festivities the perfect theme for WELCOME TO SERENITY, which hits stores around Thanksgiving.

Because of that I'm launching a new website just for the holidays. You'll be able to link to it from my website, www.sherrylwoods.com, and there will be more information on this site as well as soon as it goes online at the beginning of November. The focus will be on finding serenity during the holidays. It will be filled with easy and inexpensive decorating tips, gift ideas and websites, and tons of recipes. There's even a list of ideas for chasing away the holiday blues.

I'm also hoping all of you will share your favorite holiday traditions and recipes with us, as well. Since it won't kick off until around November 1, you can get started now by sharing your Halloween traditions right here. Do you gather all the neighborhood kids and bob for apples? Is there a neighborhood costume party? Are there traditions that you no longer do because of safety concerns...popcorn balls or candy apples for trick or treat, for instance? Click on comments below and share your favorite ideas that put you into the Halloween spirit.

And start thinking about those favorite things that make all of the upcoming holidays special for your family. I want to hear about the decoration you made for your mom when you were in kindergarten, the one that always hangs front and center on the tree. I want to hear about caroling excursions or Aunt Jane's fruit cake. Tell us about the first turkey you roasted or the rolls that somehow never make it into the oven on Thanksgiving. Sharing your favorite memories may spark traditions for the rest of us...or make us chuckle...or shed a tear.

There's a reason we cling to traditions. And now there's a place to share them. I really hope to hear from you.

Sherryl Woods

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