Naughty or Nice?


Remember the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town?”

He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

And remember how nice you tried to be, especially around Christmas time, lest you be left off of Santa’s list?

Well, just for fun, I made a list of the nice and naughty things I did this year:


  • I tried to see things through others’ eyes.
  • I practiced “letting go.”
  • I posted more positive stories than negative stories.
  • I joined a sprinting group, which has greatly increased my daily word count—from pretty much ZERO over the last several months to 800-1200 words per day.
  • I planned a surprise trip to New York for Steve’s 60th birthday.

The nicest thing I did all year: In a year filled with raw emotions, I was (outwardly🙂 ) respectful toward those with whom I disagreed. (And when I couldn’t be, I kept my mouth shut.) Benefit: In almost every instance, the person with whom I disagreed also responded respectfully.


  • I didn’t always speak up when I wanted to. (In fact, that happened too often. I don’t like conflict.)
  • I was not always as compassionate as I should have been.
  • I was often too distracted by social media to fulfill goals—like writing more and reading more.
  • I was a news junkie.
  • I didn’t exercise as much as I should have. (But I have a new FitBit, and that helps!)
  • I didn’t call my dad as much as I should have. Nor did I visit Santa Fe or Tulsa as much as I should have.

The naughtiest thing I did all year: Well, of course, I can’t tell you that.🙂 Haha! Just kidding. Not sure about naughty, but one of my biggest flaws is my tendency to overthink and assume instead of living in the moment. Consequence: Often, in hindsight, the concerns/fears wrought by my “assumptions” never came to fruition. And I may never know what new experiences I missed because my “overthinking” prevented me from doing something.

All I can say is, I must have been on Santa’s “Nice” list, because a little elf told me he’s bringing me something very nice this Christmas. But, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

What’s on your Naughty or Nice list this year?

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Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea

I have lots of favorite Christmas carols, like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which I wrote about for Advent Day 3.

But a few days ago, I was thinking that there aren’t many new Christmas songs I like. Maybe it’s because of all the memories gathered over the decades of my life that were surrounded by the old standards.

But there are a couple of new Christmas songs I like, and one that always comes to mind is Chris Rea’s “Driving Home for Christmas.”

Its mix of words and melody brings back the feeling of trips home I’ve made–the anticipation of “getting my feet on the holy ground.”

Do you have a favorite contemporary Christmas song?

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Christmas with Snoopy and Woodstock

snoopy1I’ve always been attracted to dioramas. Perhaps it’s because they often flip on my imagination switch.

One of my favorite dioramas is the one on the left. Every Christmas, when it comes out of its box in my son’s attic, I imagine the story in the scene.


Today, I decided to write a tiny little fiction to go with this tiny diorama:

scene1 scene2 scene3 snoopy1scene4May you be surrounded by the love of friends this Christmas!

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A Merry Little Christmas

My favorite Christmas carol is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve always loved the sweet simplicity of the sentiment. And though some might say the lyrics are sad, I’ve always found the words to be hopeful, the melody a perfect representation of the feel of the season.

merry-little-christmasOne of my most-treasured gifts from my kids is a framed piece that my daughter, Andrea, gave me in 1999. She knew this was may favorite carol, and she hand-painted the lyrics and framed it.

Her gift is all the more special each time I recall the challenging teen years with Andrea, and age 17 was probably one of the most difficult, as we were in the middle of deciding which college she would attend–a very emotional time for both of us!

I’ve placed these lyrics on my fireplace mantle every year since 1999.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was originally written for Judy Garland to sing in the musical, Meet Me in St. Louis. For a complete history, click HERE.

Though Ms. Garland’s rendition is beautiful, I like the more hopeful lyrics that appear in Andrea’s gift better.

Here’s a bit of trivia. I didn’t know the meaning of yuletide or yore when I first heard this song. In case you don’t either, here are their definitions:

yuletidethe Christmas season
yore time long past

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas carol by Sunday, 12/4/16 at 5:00 p.m. (CST) to be entered in a drawing to receive this 5×7 hand-painted original Christmas card. (Blank inside, includes envelope.)

I will post winner on this blog and notify on Sunday evening.



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The Grinch of Bright Lights and Candle Glow


I’m excited to announce the AIW Press release of  Bright Lights and Candle Glow,  an anthology of eight holiday short stories, available on Amazon and other eRetailers. And, as a gift to readers, this anthology is FREE!

Here’s an excerpt to my story, “Wabi Sabi Grinch:”

I was only seven when I first met the Grinch, when we moved to the house by the lake, right after Mama took me away from Daddy. His real name was Mr. Dean, and he lived across the street. I remember thinking he was a mean old man the first time he yelled, “Get off my damn lawn,” as I cut across on my way home from school one day. I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. It wasn’t that great a lawn.

Later, he told me he’d only scolded because he didn’t want me to be frightened if Lulu, his big old Mastiff, came charging after me.

I’d never seen anyone so tall and skinny as Mr. Dean, and he stood even taller with a funny looking top hat he’d wear when he lumbered around his yard, often with a big, stinky cigar hanging out of his mouth, which he seemed to chomp more than puff, though he liked showing off by blowing smoke circles in the air.

In the afternoons, he carried a glass of what I thought was water, and I figured he must be awfully thirsty to drink so much. But one day, when I caught a sniff of that “water,” I realized it was something much stronger. I still remember that smell, and now, having some experience of my own with the drink, I know it was gin.

One of the joys of being a writer is choosing someone who has touched my life and creating a story around it. In real life, Mr. Dean was an old boyfriend of mine, who later became a dear friend. The seven-year old was a real little girl he met while living at a real lake. He used to tell me stories about her.

And he really left without saying “goodbye.”

Though some of the details about the little girl in “Wabi Sabi Grinch” are from my imagination, the lessons and memories “Mr. Dean” left her–were created from the real ones he left me.

I know you’ll enjoy the stories by the seven other authors in this anthology! Happy holidays from all of us!

Pamela Foster
Staci Troilo
Joan Hall
P.C. Zick
Michele Jones
Dave Kwiecinski
K. E. Lane

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