5 things I’m obsessed with this winter

Shawn Anderson winter obsessions.jpg

It's like a snow globe up here! Winter in northern New England is a great time to curl up with your laptop and a good book, kick back with a steaming mug of cocoa or coffee, and watch the gently falling snow. It's a quiet time, a time to go inward, reflect on the past, reconnect with family and friends, look toward the future, and take inventory of the creature comforts that make you smile. Here are a few things that are making my holiday season merry and bright:

Shawn Anderson snow globe plaid.jpg

1. Plaid, my new favorite color
It’s a nice way to decorate for the season without getting too heavy into the Santas, elves, and reindeer craziness. My goal is to make the place look festive without it looking like the North Pole exploded all over the room. Living in Vermont, classic plaid goes a long way. It definitely captures that lodge vibe and reflects my fondness for flannel shirts. It's vibrant and bold, yet it can linger around after the tree and holiday leftovers have long vanished.

Shawn Anderson Out of Print socks.JPG

2. Out of Print Clothing
I'm always looking for new ways to live, eat, and breathe books. Out of Print Clothing is a collection of fun T-shirts, socks, totes, and more, inspired by the vintage cover art of fiction favorites. Plus, some of the proceeds from each purchase go to promoting literacy and giving communities books. It a wonderful celebration of books and reading, and it's always nice when the gifts you give give back!

Shawn Anderson Out of Print tags.JPG

3. I (heart) short horror fiction
Not exactly cheerful, but always fun. I enjoy a good scare. Recently, I attended a League of Vermont Writers board meeting where each person shared a one-sentence horror story as an ice breaker. Ever since, I've been obsessing over how you can set a creepy scene with just a few words. Then I found this book, BEHIND YOU: ONE-SHOT HORROR STORIES by Brian Coldrick. Its premise is simple: one-sentence horror stories that lead to an illustration of something creepy sneaking up behind you. Ideal for curling up with on dark stormy nights, and it makes a great stocking stuffer (hint, hint). Oh, and the introduction is written by Joe Hill!

Shawn Anderson behind you pages .jpg

4. Upping my reading game
Lately, middle-grade novels, flights of fantasy, and my #100picturebooks project have been dominating my reading time. As the weather gets blustery, cold, and snowy, reading has become my cozy form of meditation. It's a great way to chill after a busy day, and it is a great way to improve your writing. I'm reading more middle-grade fiction and picture books because those are the projects that I'm currently revising and writing. Plus, I'm making an effort to drastically reduce my TV time.

Shawn Anderson snow globe closeup.jpg

5. Family movie nights, holiday edition!
Now that I’ve said that I'm reducing my amount of TV time, I'm going to tell you to watch more. Grab the popcorn and as many family members that can stand your in-the-spirit mood... Here's a list of my all-time favorite holiday movies and shows:
• THE HOLIDAY — a funny and touching story of holiday magic
• THE FAMILY STONE — I laugh, I cry, every time I watch it
• ELF — always a healthy dose of instant holiday cheer (publishing-themed, too)
• HOME ALONE 1 & 2 — then stop, please don’t go further
• CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT — a great black-and-white option (again, a writer as the MC)
• THE CHRISTMAS STORY — but only during the TBS 24-hour marathon
• A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS — it just never gets old

Happy holidays! Now go outside and play in the snow : )