In the Eye of the Holiday Storm

If you’ve been anywhere near a television lately, you know the holiday chaos has started in the US with Black Friday sales.  Crowded shopping centers and stressed-out people and distracted drivers will be everywhere this weekend and will persist, in varying degrees, right up through December 24.

If you’ve experienced any of this, you may want to take a look at this photo of Ocean Isle Beach, NC, and mentally put yourself in it.  Unless, of course, you enjoy the crowds and the hectic pace, in which case, more power to you!


My first taste of the holiday chaos came, to my surprise,  on Wednesday.  I went to our local Michaels in the late morning.  When I came out, about 12:30 PM, the parking lot was a sea of cars with multitudes circling like sharks in the water.  I had one other place to go, at the other end of the strip center, but I looked at that mass of cars and decided to walk.  I had a parking space already, and I meant to keep it.

I didn’t venture out yesterday.  I’ll do my shopping in dibs and dabs so as not to join the Holiday Stress Club.  I’ve already planned the ways I’m going relax after my various plunges into the crowd.

You may remember that I enjoy jigsaw puzzles.  Over the years, we’ve acquired quite a few, so I have plenty to choose from.  Yesterday, I finished this one.


I recommend them as both a way to relax after a hectic trip to the mall and a way to distract the forebrain so the subconscious can work out things like, say, plot issues.

Then there are movies.  Is anybody else really, really excited to see Star Wars: Rogue One?  I’m thinking about it a lot, so here’s photo of me with R2D2 at Charleston SC’s Atomacon last year.


For this movie, the dh, the boy, and I will likely brave the crowds.  We did so last year for The Force Awakens, and it was worth it.

I haven’t been to the Okefenokee in more than two years, not since Duchesse and I took our (possibly infamous) research road trip to Georgia.  I really want to get back there, and looking at pictures of that wild, peaceful place makes me feel as though it really hasn’t been that long since I visited.  So I look at the photos and think about what I want to check out for future books.



Finally, there’s always reading.  Of course.  As soon as I finish editing the current WIP, I plan to start Matthew Beaumont’s Night Walking: A Nocturnal History of London.  It’s a look at London after dark, spanning the eras from Chaucer to Dickens.  So I’ll escape into London through the ages, when life was simpler, and maybe pick up some story ideas along the way.


Doing any one of these slips me onto an island of calm despite the chaos swirling all around.  It’s like being in the eye of the hurricane.

What about you?  Do you enjoy the holiday hustle and bustle?  If so, what do you like best about it?  If not, what are your favorite escapes?

What book are you reading next?

Are you planning to see Rogue One?  If so, are you going as soon as it’s out, or are you waiting (as we usually do) for the crowds to thin out a bit?

Nov 26 2016, 12:39 am 14 Comments


14 responses to “In the Eye of the Holiday Storm”

  1. ki says:

    I do not like the crowds so I didn’t stay up all night or morning waiting to shop. Parking is crazy and people can get carried away with road rage. However, I did go out Friday noon-ish, but there weren’t any crowds where I went. I assume they all went to the Mall of America since it didn’t open Thanksgiving day and it was packed.

    As for Rogue One, I’ll probably watch it one day.

    • Hi, Ki–

      I’m glad you were able to find a place that wasn’t crowded. I always look at the ads. If there’s a doorbuster sale, I usually go after it’s over. The kinds of things I buy are never hugely cheaper during the doorbuster than after, and I figure saving $5 is not worth the aggravation of fighting for parking spaces.

  2. EC Spurlock says:

    Hi Nancy! Looks like I’m the only one still at home this morning! 😀

    I’m a kamikaze shopper; I’ll target what I want to get and make dedicated runs to the place with the best deals. In and out. Did that yesterday at BAM and hit the buy-two-get-one-free sale, got 3 gifts, plus a new book and 2 calendars for myself. I seldom get distracted on these runs, but I had my younger son with me and Eddie Bauer was having a 50% off sale so I dragged him in and bought him a much-needed new wardrobe. Then we wound down with dinner at a favorite restaurant, and I went home and watched anime and crocheted. 🙂 (I’m crocheting scarfs and headbands for my coworkers this year, which means I have spent about $10 total so far for 6 office gifts!)

    I have been so excited for Rogue One for months; it’s like the movie equivalent of legs crossed waiting for the bathroom. I’m a diehard SW fan and The Force Awakens made me feel like I was back in 1977 again. And just when you think Stormtroopers can’t get any cooler they come out with that sexy new black armor! (BTW I’m reading the novelization of TFA and it’s very helpful in filling in a lot of the holes in the movie, like how Poe survived the crash. It was nice of them to let Alan Dean Foster write it, as well, since he wrote the original SW.)

    • EC, I’m always a kamikaze shopper. If I need a shirt, I shop until I find one, and then I go home.

      It sounds as though you got some great bargains. That you were able to get into a favorite restaurant is terrific. I’m sure your coworkers will love the gifts. Handmade is always great.

      LOL on your Rogue One comment. I have TFA video on my Christmas list, as I reacted to it just the way you did. I would so buy a General Leia action figure, except no one will condescend to make one. I saw Geriatric Han in Hallmark on Wednesday, but their only Leia ornament was Original Trilogy Leia. Toy/ornament makers seem to be totally unaware that women have been a growing percentage of fandom for decades and now are a big chunk of it–including those of us who remember Original Star Wars. And older women mentors are a staple of fantasy literature. Maybe they don’t read that. :-/

      Thanks for the tip on the novelization. I’ll have to check it out. I haves a bunch of Alan Dean Foster Star Trek paperbacks.

  3. Helen says:

    Hi Nancy

    I d not like all of the crowds and I really need to get out and get the shopping done and very soon so as I can miss most of it 🙂

    I have an ARC of Cathryn Hein’s newest and am looking forward to reading this one next 🙂

    And yes we will be off to the movies as soon as this one is released can’t wait to see it and we are trying to get to see the new Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts time is what I need 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Hi, Helen–

      Early shopping works for me, too. Things get really crazy around December 21.

      I’m not familiar with Cathryn Hein. What does she write?

      We also haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts, partly because we wanted to wait for the crowds to die down and partly because life starting getting a little hectic in the meantime. We’re looking forward to it, though.

  4. Jane says:

    Hello Nancy,
    I wish I had the stamina to check out those doorbuster sales. I just stick to online shopping specials like Cyber Monday. Can’t wait to see Rogue One, but will probably wait a week or two. I’m going to read Kristen Callihan’s “Managed” next.

    • Hi, Jane–I’ve done some online shopping the last few days, too. It’s definitely not as tiring.

      Managed is part of Callahan’s new comtemporary series, isn’t it? I haven’t tried those.

  5. Strictly online shopping for me, in spite of my Luddite tendencies in other areas! I simply have neither the patience nor the tolerance of the foibles and follies of others when it comes to crowds and shopping. All of those years at Walmart have given me shopping PTSD, I guess. Not being there this year is just too freeing for words!

    I am busy getting my own books ready for publication and getting my editing/proofing business off the ground so that keeps me busy and out of the streets, LOL

    I have already started watching my Christmas movies and I will pull out all of my Regency Christmas romances and Regency Christmas anthologies for their annual re reading.

    No movies for me until they come out on DVD. The movie theaters close to me are in Montgomery and frankly I don’t care for driving in a city where the homicide rate is at least one shooting and one knifing a day. Discretion is the better part of valor!

    • Since I hate visiting the mall even when it’s not a holiday, I sympathize! Even without the crime considerations, I would hate driving a long way to a movie.

      Good luck with all your publishing ventures!

  6. I was super excited to see Rogue One. I had it marked on the calendar. My husband and I planned to catch an afternoon show to avoid the crowds. Then we learned that my nephew is graduating with his Masters in Library Science on the day of the opening – in Cleveland. Family always comes first so now we plan to drive to Cleveland to see him receive his diploma and wish him well. I’m wondering if our senior discounts will apply if we get tickets to an early morning showing of Rogue One. 🙂 Family may come first, but it doesn’t have to be exclusionary. 🙂

  7. Pissenlit says:

    Within half an hour of Rogue One tickets going on sale, my friends and I all had tickets for opening night 😀 We splurged and got the assigned seating type tickets so that we wouldn’t have to deal with crowds.