Giftmas 2017: Stories in the Wintertime

2017 was very difficult for a lot of people in my world, myself included. Over the past months I’ve occasionally felt like I was floundering in all the bad news, tragedies and crises. The thing that has helped me out of those dark spots was to make a concerted effort to seek out and focus on positive things going in the world — things are are far too often overshadowed by the bad.

WIth that thought at the very forefront of my mind I decided to make the theme for this year’s Giftmas Blog Tour ‘Shining a Light’.

By sharing our stories and raising money to help feed hungry families, my hope is that this blog tour will be a light as well.

Our fundraising goal is $522 (that’s one dollar more than we raised last year!). Because the Edmonton Food Bank can stretch every donated dollar into three meals if we reach our goal we will have contributed 1,566 meals to families this season, but we can’t do it without you.

If you are able, please donate to our fundraiser for the Edmonton Food Bank. Every dollar counts and, in addition to the warm feeling that comes with helping others, we are also offering a whack of goodies to every person who contributes. You can check out the details and claim your rewards by clicking here but those rewards include ebooks, holiday cards, stickers, Tuckerizations, handicrafts and more!

And here is the most important link in this whole blog tour:

Please donate to our fundraiser for the Edmonton Food Bank

Today I am hosting A.J. Wells on my blog and making an appearance on hers. Please enjoy her thoughts on stories in the wintertime 🙂

Stories in the Wintertime
A.J. Wells

The song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” contains the lyrics:

There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of the
Christmases long, long ago

The Christmas season is the perfect time to remember the value of storytelling. It’s a value that doesn’t stop when the snow melts off the ground, and it doesn’t begin with the season. But when Christmas comes, it’s (hopefully) time to relax for a bit, which means everyone has the chance to tell stories, rediscover new stories, or if they’re writers who have too much time on their hands, to create their own.

Why do we want to? Why do we tell stories? We do it to entertain. We do it just to enjoy making something happen. But many of us don’t want to keep their stories to themselves. There are entire industries of people telling stories to each other, or to the public, or teaming up to make their own stories together. While profits are the main concern of mass media, and a lot of subpar material gets churned out every year, even the most trashy material proves that people want to share stories with each other.

But we need to share our stories, not just for bonding, for self-expression, or for profit, but because they allow us to share truths with each other in a secret language, and to expose new truths to each other. This happens to storytellers, too, as through the act of storytelling they will discover new things about themselves.

It’s complicated to exchange truth in this way. Creating a story with a message in mind often cripples it, makes it mechanized and predictable, but on the other hand, stories can’t help telling truths. They might only be the truths the author believes in, but, those are still something. Even when all creativity might be stomped out of a work by executives, even when a story is extremely simple or simplistic, most stories try to say something, and stories can change a person.

When it comes to stories showing truths, the example most appropriate to the season is Christmas stories, whose stars achieve success only after they learn to follow Christmas’s values of charity and companionship, to demonstrate how good it is for real people to hold those same values.

This holiday season, remember the power of stories, and aim to create some of your own. By donating to the Edmonton Food Bank, you will help make sure that others are free to do the same things.

A.J. Wells is an Edmonton writer and member of local writer’s groups The Scruffies and the Smeerps. She works for On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic, and runs a freelance writing and editing site at www.wellsaj.com. Her novel, “The Doll and the Dragon”, is currently in the works.

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