The no-holiday blog

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Monday musings

By DelSheree Gladden

About two weeks before Christmas, my family and I start a holiday movie countdown of all our favorites. The Muppets Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story are always saved for last. The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are mixed in along the way. Occasionally I get them to watch the old Claymation Christmas movies I grew up on, even though my kids think they’re a little weird and borderline creepy.

Despite my love of Christmas stories, I tend to avoid writing holidays into my books and have never actually written a completely holiday themed book. The closest I’ve ever come were two stories I wrote for holiday-themed box sets. One was a Valentine’s Day themed novella turned full length sweet romance called The Crazy Girl’s Handbook, where poor Greenly gets tricked by her sister into meeting up with the blind date she’d backed out on while babysitting her two nephews and ends up mortified and sporting a headwound. The other book is The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook, a story of a girl whose life falls apart right before Christmas when her boyfriend, who’s been running her life for the last few years, walks out and leaves her completely lost and with a cat that won’t stop attacking her.

The full-length versions of each book really don’t focus on the holiday, and were just a springboard for the story. The holidays in both are, as you probably gathered, rather disastrous and not all what you’d typically except from a holiday story.

Thinking about these two made me wonder why I’ve always shied away from holiday-themed writing. I think it’s partly because holiday-themed books seem so limited. How many people really read Christmas romances in April or Halloween thrillers in August? Logically, I know this shouldn’t limit me, because a good story is a good story, no matter what time of year, but I hesitate to write something I think readers might look at and think, “I’ll wait until December to start that one,” and then forget about it.

Another reason I think I’ve largely avoided writing holiday books is that holidays are stressful! I always struggle to find the right gifts, find time or energy to decorate, plan events, force myself to go to parties, or get involved in cheesy games or gift exchanges. Writing about all of that makes me cringe. That’s probably why my two Handbook Series books center around such messy holidays!

The last reason I don’t write holiday books is because there’s an inherent timeline involved, and I’m not in a writing place that works well with deadlines at the moment. Having to finish something by a particular date makes me anxious, and then the words seem to bottle up, and then I get more anxious that I’m not going to finish in time. It’s an unpleasant cycle.

So, hats off to all those who write holiday-themed stories without losing their minds. I doubt I will ever be one of them, but I will forever enjoy reading and watching them.

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

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