Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Embracing Grinch and Santa

by Malena Lott

Story sampler and author recipes! Free download
Most people who know me would say I'm usually a pretty smiley gal. I'm typically "silver lining," "bright side," "half cup full" chick. But honestly, I'm feeling rather Grinchy the past few days. The Connecticut shootings not only sucked every bit of holiday spirit I'd managed to summon, but has sent me straight up that hill into Grinch's dark cave looking upon those darling Whos Down in Whoville celebrating.

When it comes to grieving, I'm not someone who needs a big push. In fact, I shot into that cave like a rocket. A few months ago, I decided to put my thoughts on grief and four short stories on "loss and living on" in an anthology, "Hope Floats," which will be published as an ebook only by my publishing imprint, Buzz Books USA. I was working on the book when I began to close all the documents open on my computer to go do my daily round of after school child gathering from three schools, I saw the headline. And bawled like a baby. Like most of us did. I don't mind that I'm empathetic - even my characters can feel real to me - but it's been tough, tough, tough to shake the feeling of shock, sadness and utter despair, which is in no way helped my people posting insensitive things on Facebook like how guns are not the problem.

In one essay in the book, I discuss how much pain guns have caused in my grief journey. Unlike things like cancer and heart disease, which have also played their roles taking my loved ones, I'm most angered by the gun deaths.

But even with trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to avoid the Internet, my preferential bearer of bad news, I decided that the Grinch on my shoulder could stay as long as I acknowledged that Santa sits on the other shoulder and all I had to do was turn my head and listen to the jolly old elf singing and try to open my heart again for the good of the holiday season. I do want more Santa and less Grinch, but I have to be realistic: my grief-stricken Grinch, who wants to be alone and sulk, will not entirely go away. But I can choose to ignore him and focus on what really matters, which is spending time with my loved one and staying in the present moment with them, which is really all we have. And I just heard my 7-year-old tell his 12-year-old sister that he loves her, out of the blue. God, I love them.

If you'd like a copy of Hope Floats, leave a comment on how you get into the holiday spirit and leave me your email address OR you can email me at malenalott (at) me (dot) com and put "Hope Floats" in the subject line and I'll send it to you when it's live. Let me know if you'd prefer a pdf or a Kindle copy.

I also have a treat for you. Dixie Pie, Snickerdoodles, Dad's Chili, Christmas Morn' Casserole, Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli, Mulled Wine, Mema's Orange Stuff and Peanut Butter Fudge, yummy recipes from Buzz Books' authors, as well as samples from their stories. All you have to do is pick your favorite recipes and make them and see what stories spark your interest as you're warming your toes by the fire drinking that mulled wine. Get the holiday recipe and story sampler here. 

Wishing you a more-happy-than-sad holiday season!

Malena Lott is the author of four women's fiction novels, The Stork Reality, Dating da Vinci, Fixer Upper and her November release, Something New. She also writers young adult under the pen name Lena Brown. Her upcoming ebook, Hope Floats, includes four short stories and two essays with the theme of loss and living on. Visit her at malenalott.com or on her Facebook page.


  1. How I get into the holiday spirit. well this year it's just not hit yet. I bake cookies every year, this year only 7 different kinds but that was back around Thanksgiving cuz I want the kids to have their cookies in plenty of time so I mail them by Dec 5th. Shopping was done by Sept and other gifts are made throughout the year-knitting gifts. Watched a bunch of Christmas themed movies via Netflix and bunch of books about Christmas. It's just the matter of decorating now. I know what am I waiting for, well Christmas LOL

    Got lights up in the living room, just need to put the tree up, a mini one that sits on an end table. got a new lighthouse ornament for knitting an afghan for a woman and it's gonna catch the light just right to make the whole tree just sparkle. Besides the tree and stockings I would have to make sure the web camera works so we can watch the grandkids open their gifts=they live so far away it's one way we get to enjoy them opening them and we can see/hear them.
    Happy holidays to all,

    1. Julie, I love this. Christmas movies are a great way to get into the spirit. Even though Jim Carrey's performance is grating, I even found myself smiling during The Grinch Who Stole Christmas last night on ABC Family.

      I love that you get to watch your grandkids open their gifts. Great idea!

  2. Oh, Malena, I agree with you-- it's just so hard to feel festive when the world can be such an awful place. You're right, all we can do is hug each other and try to enjoy every second that we've got.

  3. Breathtaking cover...and, despite my baking frenzy the week before Christmas, I still find it difficult to fa-la-la-la-la.

    1. Christa, I know what you mean. I did manage to wrap gifts last night because my 7 year old begged me too so he could see some under the tree, and really, I just can't so no to him when it comes to his excitement about Christmas. Seeing the kids happy makes me happy. It's interesting that we can feel both gratitude and grief at the same time.

  4. I am having a hard time this year because my mom died in August. She was really into Christmas. I went to the Christmas tree farm with my grandkids and also, to the Santa Train. That helped a lot.



    (a PDF)

  5. Pen,
    Thank you so much for posting and I'm sorry for your loss. Holidays are tough without our moms. My grandma who raised me was also very Into Christmas. Wishing you joy with your grandchildren!

  6. Well, this year, i have been putting the fire video on the TV...as I have no fireplace...and listening to a station I have named Christmas Cannon, on Pandora radio...it helps...my little family decided that they like the tree with just lights this year and so I am missing my ornaments...but...they are entitled I suppose...I would love a copy of your book, in kindle format and my email is kewbrca95@hotmail.com


    1. Pinkim, I love the fire on TV and I do have a fireplace but it's so much quicker to put that DVD on and hear the crackle than mess with starting a fire - and it's been HOT here in Oklahoma! I always think I'll like a tree without ornaments and then I end up adding more and more until there's barely any room.

      I'll send you HOPE FLOATS when it's ready. :)

  7. Wonderful post, Malena--very timely collection of stories. I've felt much like you these past few days. But I spent time with my 2-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew on Sunday, and it was like a balm to my spirit. My nephew asked me at one point, "How old are you?" ("38") "What are 38 things you're afraid of?"

    And I couldn't say what I was really thinking, so I said "spiders and sharks." (And then I got an adorable lecture on how spiders are really more afraid of us, and people actually kill many more sharks than sharks kill people annually. LOL!!!)