Into the Holiday Spirit with CreativiTEA

What do you do when you’re not into the holidays? I know I have a good reason, but my lack of enthusiasm was bugging me. I’d also had many writing friends bug me to host another of my “teas” — a social gathering so we could talk writing and get creative. I’d done these the summer before last and called them  CreativiTEAs. They were a hit. And I enjoyed getting creative in making the plans.

So, to help motivate myself to decorate for the holidays, I planned a holiday tea. I created deadline pressure just to get it all done in time. It worked, and I had fun putting out “new” decorations, including a centerpiece my mother made (which we found while clearing out my dad’s condo). Compliments on the table plus the decor boosted my spirits.

Mom's centerpiece added to the dining table decoration.

Mom’s centerpiece added to the dining table decoration.

I also put out more candles. I love candles, though in our home growing up they were mainly used as holiday decoration. Finding a boxed set of new 300-light indoor/outdoor clear Christmas lights was also a boost. Something different to string for the season.

But, the most important part of my CreativiTEA was not the food everyone brought and passed. Nor was it the talk about our creative process or best times to tap into the creative flow. It was the writing exercises we did. I had decided to make this tea a “prompt party.” As we did the exercises we made impromptu changes. “Hey, let’s time our writing.” I pulled my phone out to use the stop watch feature. Talk about writing under pressure! But it was fun.

One of the first prompts was easy: We wrote a “winter holiday” related word on a slip of paper and every two minutes I pulled a slip from the bowl and announced the word. We continued writing, trying to incorporate it into the story “in progress.” A  joy to hear the results from each person. Each of us had snowmen incorporated but only one writer gave hers a Florida twist — it was a sand sculpture. Everyone agreed her “draft” could be shaped into a viable story given the time.

Results and story prompt objects from December CreativiTEA

Results and story prompt objects from December CreativiTEA

The next prompt was pulling an item out of a grab bag and incorporating it into a story. I’d selected some holiday-related items from this icebreaker exercise I always use in my writing workshops. “I have an idea!” someone said. “Let’s pass the page to the next person after a few minutes.” We did, and each time we passed, the goal was to include our grab bag item into that story. What fun to listen to each story at the end. Another exercise result which I’ll rework into a short story to send out.

Getting into the spirit of the holidays.

Getting into the spirit of the holidays.

So the prep and decorating for the tea forced me to decorate and make my house presentable. Now, I’m looking forward to some quiet time stolen during the holiday celebrations to rework my stories and send them into the world.

Happy holidays and creative wishes to all!