New Traditions for a Beloved Holiday by Tracey Garvis Graves | Author Guest Post (+Giveaway)

Posted December 20, 2019 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post / 13 Comments

I’m happy to welcome my friend, author Tracey Garvis-Graves to the blog today to share a special guest post about spending her last Christmas in her home before moving to a new one. Read more about her newest release, The Girl He Use to Know, and enter to win a signed copy!

New Traditions for a Beloved Holiday

As I’ve mentioned in my past Bookish Little Christmas posts, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. A white Christmas is even more exciting, and because it’s already snowed twice in October, the odds are good that we’ll have a nice layer of fresh powder on the ground for the holidays this year. Whether or not we’ll have snow is the only unknown; all of our other traditions will remain the same. The baking! The decorating! The family gathered around the table for our annual surf-and-turf Christmas Eve dinner. But there is one thing that’s changing and it will add a bittersweet element because this is the last year we will celebrate Christmas in this house.

It seems like just yesterday that the kids were babies, and now our son is 20 and our daughter is 17. I guess it’s true what they say because I blinked once and then somehow, twenty years had gone by.

No one can deny that the nest is emptying. Our son has already moved into his first home, and in less than two years our daughter will be off to college. I have pined for an urban neighborhood ever since I wrote Heart-Shaped Hack and immersed myself in Minneapolis’s St. Anthony Main neighborhood. That was back in 2015 and at the time, I’d never actually contemplated leaving my suburban environment. The kids were still too young. It wasn’t time yet.

Fast forward almost five years, and the new urban empty-nest condo is under construction with a tentative move-in date of late August 2020. Next year, Christmas will be spent in a space that is half as big as what we’re used to. I find this both exciting and panic-inducing! How will I ever put out all of my decorations? The answer is that I won’t be able to. I will be forced to keep only what I love and want to take with me. From now until late August it’s going to be all Marie Kondo, all the time up in here. I’ve been applying those principles to my closets for the last couple of years, and I’m already on board. If an item no longer sparks joy, out it goes!

I did have a couple of non-negotiables when purchasing the new condo. For one, there had to be a dining space large enough for the new table that will seat all of us. I also wanted a kitchen big enough for us to cook together, the way we do every year on Christmas Eve. I’m happy to say that these items were checked off with ease. And next year, we’ll have the added bonus of a wonderful view of the downtown skyline when it’s all lit up. Maybe we’ll start a new tradition and go for a walk after dinner so we can enjoy the holiday lights.

Things definitely change when the birds start leaving the nest. A suburban home with its large backyard is no longer necessary. This two-story house with all of its stairs is more of a headache than anything. And, of course, there’s the lawn care in the summer and the snow that must be shoveled in the winter. Downtown Des Moines has so much more to offer for this stage of my life and I can’t wait to be part of an urban neighborhood. Next year, we will kick off a fresh cycle of new traditions and I find that very exciting.

But this year, things will go on as they have for the last fourteen years, and I will take great joy in sticking to the traditions we’ve been adhering to since the kids were six and two, respectively. Home is where the heart is and this year, I believe that more than ever.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Published by St. Martin’s Press on April 2, 2019
AmazonAdd to Goodreads

What if you had a second chance at first love?

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone.
Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all.


About Tracey Garvis Graves

Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, and The Girl He Used to Know. She is hard at work on her next book.

Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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13 responses to “New Traditions for a Beloved Holiday by Tracey Garvis Graves | Author Guest Post (+Giveaway)

  1. My favorite tradition at the holidays is the family gathering at my mom’s house every Christmas Eve. There’s no sit-down dinner, just heavy hor d’oeuvres for snacking. It’s casual and everyone talks and laughs and exchange gifts around the tree. It’s a little bittersweet now since my father passed away last year, but it’s still my favorite tradition.
    Tanya @ G recently posted…#Blogmas2019 Days 12, 13 and 14: Best Surprise/Discovery, Favorite Fantasy/PNR, Favorite Indie Author #BestBooksof2019

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    My favorite holiday tradition is getting everyone in the car and driving to a local neighborhood where the residents each have a wooden cutout of one of the 12 Days of Christmas (they rotate each year who gets what). There’s even a house labeled “the grinch” and this house has a grinch stealing the lights. We sing the song as we meander through the neigborhood.

  3. I have 3 favorite holiday traditions- hot chocolate movie night with my girlfriend a few nights before Christmas, a holiday brunch with my friends a few days after Christmas, and eating Chinese food and going to the movies with my mom on Christmas :)

  4. Robin Davis

    I read a lot of Christmas books though out the year. Its so much easier to read the books on my kindle because I don’t have to turn the page and get a couple pages stuck together. But I do read some paperbacks. My favorite Holiday Tradition is having my kids and their families here at my house. Then my daughters cook for my mom and I. My son sits on the couch on his cell phone and my daughter-in-law is chasing around after my grandkids. This year is special because I have a 10 month old great grandson and my youngest daughter is 5 months pregnant with her second child. Her first one is 12 years old. I’m all about family always. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

  5. kelly woods

    My family and I play a light game where we ride and look for Christmas lights and the first to see it hollers see one. Its a lot of fun.

  6. wen budro

    Eating a delicious dinner- at my sister’s house- is my favorite holiday tradition. She’s a wonderful cook.