‘Tis the Season to Collect Story Ideas

This time of year is a gift for writers.

How so, you ask.

Look around and really see everything that’s happening during the holiday season.  Family get-togethers, family feuds, people doing crazy things in the name of celebration, heart-touching moments, can’t-believe-he-did-that moments.  They’re all there for the remembering.

Were you one of the millions who rushed to find the Black Friday bargains before your Thanksgiving feast had settled in your belly?  What did you observe while waiting in line for the store doors to open?  Was someone arrested, someone assaulted by a fellow shopper, someone trampled in the rush?  Were the clerks smiling and glad to serve you, or were they disgruntled at having to forgo their own family celebration so you could beat everyone else to the single 56-inch television that was marked down for the first hour of shopping?  What part of your shopping experience can you turn into a story?  Will it be fiction or non-fiction?  Will it be a sweet story about sharing a family tradition, or a horror tale of zombie clerks mutinying in a big-box store?

Did you celebrate with a large contingent of family who rushed through the door, armed with dishes of favorite foods?  Were there awkward moments when two uncles who never speak found themselves seated next to each other?  Did the children plead for stories from the grandparents about how they celebrated Thanksgiving in “the old days”?  Will your story be a gently humorous recollection of family gatherings past and present?  Will it be a cautionary tale on the perils of touch football with kids forty years younger?  Will you write a joyful piece about the family member serving in the military who arrived at the door as the turkey arrived at the table?

Maybe you were alone for the holidays, by choice or by circumstance.  Will you write about your day of reflection, of counting your blessings for memories of loved ones?  Will your story focus on the homeless, the lonely, the forgotten?

The holiday season is barely begun.  In the next month and a half, be aware of the moments of human interest and human interaction taking place everywhere you go.  Store up snippets of detail for the next time you sit down to write.  Observe the emotions of people close to you, as well as those of strangers.  Be grateful that this time of year calls forth every emotion and behavior known to man.  It’s all fodder for stories.  A gift to you, the writer.

One day I’ll share the story of the turkey that refused to thaw until the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  But maybe not until peanut butter sandwiches aren’t so fresh in memory.

Which moments from your Thanksgiving weekend are you savoring?  Share with us in the comments.