Behind the Book: Dan Taylor

This is Dan’s third of three posts on his new Brazos book, Creating a Spiritual Legacy.

One of the categories I suggest when encouraging people to list their ideas for stories centers on family holidays. Since we are in the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years season, make a list of traditions, practices, and specific events that you associate with these and other holidays.

Where did you generally meet for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Who was often there? What were favorite dishes served? Was their a usual order of events (open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day)? We always had vegetable soup on Christmas Eve. I didn’t like vegetable soup, but since I knew we would be opening presents within an hour, it was my favorite meal of the year.

As well as thinking about what you usually did, give thought to specific holiday occasions. I remember the Christmas when I was 12. We didn’t have much money (I think we got foreclosed on not longer after) and the presents under the tree were sparse. When we three boys sorted them over and over again in the days before Christmas, as was our practice, we could tell they were mostly socks and other necessities. I figured I was old enough to take it like a man, so I feigned great enthusiasm for my new socks as we opened presents.

When all was opened—and it didn’t take long—my father sent my older brother out to the garage. He came back with a huge smile. Then it was my turn. I opened the door to the garage and there, sitting on a ping-pong table, were three new bikes. It took my breath away.

 Everyone has holiday stories—of delights and disasters and everything in between. Many of them convey important values, insights, and life lessons. Some are just fun to tell. Give it a shot.