Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shake Up the Holidays—and the New Year by Guest Sorchia DuBois

Shake Up the Holidays—and the New Year

In the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate a variety of winter holidays from November to February by observing traditions dating to the Middle Ages and earlier. You can trace many Winter celebrations all the way back to the Roman festival of Saturnalia as long ago as 600 BC. And you can bet the Romans got it from somewhere before that.

The idea was to celebrate the return of the Sun. The Winter Solstice can occur anytime between  December 21-23. Leading up to the Solstice, you party like there’s no tomorrow, because if the sun doesn’t come back, there won’t be. After the Solstice you party because you’ve been given a one-year reprieve from a slow death by cold and hunger.  Even in these so-called modern times, I am immensely relieved when the Solstice goes off without a hitch.

And consider how much better the Winter celebrations became back in those dark, dark days when humans discovered everything from juniper berries to potatoes to cabbage to grapes can be fermented and bottled. Then came distillation and––bang!––the party livened up even more. But tracing the positive correlation between winter celebrations and the evolution of bottled spirits would be an entirely different post.

What I want to talk about are the ingrained traditions that go along with this time of year—traditions of immense antiquity tied to the uncertainty of survival in long ago times. Traditions so ingrained that we do them automatically—whether we want to or not.
We gather with family, we decorate the house, and we drink an excessive amount of eggnog (or maybe just straight nog.)  This is all well and good. My point is that we may fall into habits that don’t serve us as well as they once did.

Personally, I’ve done Christmas trees. I’ve done caroling and Christmas parades and turkey with all the trimmings. Some of it was great and some of it was not. Most of it I did because it was expected which isn’t a bad thing, but there comes a time when you need to tweak the expected.

Einstein said the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Well, I’m not totally satisfied with the results of all the traditions I’ve observed in the last mumblety-something years.

My advice is to step off the beaten holiday path—no matter what holiday you celebrate. Create your own tradition and add it to the things you truly love to do. Savor the warmth and love of this season, but add something unique to the party—something only you can pull off. Put your stamp on the holidays and build vibrant memories that last as long as the ancient celebration of Saturnalia.

From this Saturnalia forward, I will be returning to things I love but have ignored. I’ll be decreasing the clutter––emotionally, physically, spiritually—and looking for opportunities to go rogue. Is this the first sign of what my children refer to as my “inevitable slide into insanity?”

Probably. But one woman’s insanity is another’s chocolate bon bon with a wine chaser.

Visit me at www.SorchiaDuBois to see how my year of living divergently works out. Happy Holidays to one and all and may your New Year be filled with joy and love and charmingly peculiar adventures.

Speaking of peculiar adventures (see how smoothly I did that?), Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the beginning of an adventure that takes Zoraida from her cozy, comfy home in Arkansas to Scotland, the Caribbean, the Yucatan jungle, and back again as she battles crazy sorcerors, a voodoo priestess, and the evil influence of a powerful crystal. She must choose the path for herself, but two beguiling Scottish witches tempt her in different directions.

How far is she willing to go to protect the ones she loves? Can she find the strength to take charge of her own life?

Here’s a tiny excerpt for starters:

“I think you are a throwback.” Shea’s eyes are every bit as hypnotic as Michael’s. His peculiar blue aura glows steady and bright. He leans closer, lowering his voice, speaking as much inside my head as out. “I think she saw the light of the old ones on your brow. I think she trained you day by day, teaching you the old magic, giving you as much of her soul as she could part with and still live. I think she wove spells into your hair and fed you with lotus blossoms.” My heart thumps so loudly I’m sure he can hear it. “I think you are her last hope.”

“Last hope for what?” Air seems in short supply, seeping into my lungs by the teaspoonful.
“Strangely, you may be Michael’s last hope as well. And mine.”

Grab a copy as a gift or indulge yourself. Zoraida’s adventure continues with Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen  and Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes in 2017.

Buy Links:
Wild Rose Press:
Barnes and Noble:

About the Author:

Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with eight cats. She edits technical writing and fiction part time, but she spends at least five hours per day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found swilling Scotch at Scottish festivals.  

Follow Sorchia on social media.



Diane Burton said...

Welcome, Sorchia. I like your attitude about traditions. Why is it we only get smarter when we get older? I've let go of some traditions so I can enjoy the holidays. I sure was glad to see the sun yesterday (1st day of winter), and it was warmer than it's been for at least a week. Happy Holidays.

sorchiadubois said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Diane! Yes, we do get smarter with experience--if only those pesky kids would listen to us :) Have a glorious holiday season!

CJ Burright said...

Great concept - go rogue! Thanks for the fun post. :)

sorchiadubois said...

Thanks for stopping by, CJ. Here's to going rogue all year long!

Maureen said...

Sorchia, such good advice! We get so caught up in the 'have to do' and expectations of the season that the joy is often sapped right out of it. I also enjoyed the history on the solstice. Thank you and happy holidays!

Nancy Gideon said...

Nice to meet you, Sorchia!! I love setting family traditions. Some have fallen by the wayside due to change of circumstance but have morph into something else as or even more meaningful. To gather with family to celebrate what we've been given, always the greatest tradition of all. Happy Holidays!

sorchiadubois said...

Thanks, Maureen. A few years ago, I had one of those holidays when a bunch of things didn't get done. To my surprise, the world didn't end. That's when I began to look for ways to lessen the stress and heighten the enjoyment. Thanks for stopping by.

sorchiadubois said...

Nancy, you are so right. Family is the one tradition that just has to remain--as long as it is a positive experience. Even the curmudgeons in the family are easier to put up with during the holidays.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Great advice, Sorchia. It's the individual "family" traditions that people remember a lifetime.