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If You Just Believe

Dear Santa,

Guess where I am? I know you’re busy, so I’ll tell you. I’m at the Candy Cane Writing Workshop at Faith Camp Meeting Grounds and we’re actually writing with real candy canes. Well, not actually. I can’t lie to Santa. They’re really pens that look like candy canes. They were inside the red and white velvet stockings they gave us at the door. Well, maybe they’re not real velvet. Nobody’s told me one way or the other.

That is the beginning of a letter that 8-year old Elm Sunday wrote to Santa in Seaglass Christmas. I’ve organized numerous writing workshops and conferences over the years but never one during the holidays, so I thought it would be fun to create a magical one for Elm. Secretly, I hoped that one day I would host a similar event for adults in the real world.

Until that day arrives, I have created a mini Candy Cane Writing Workshop for you with excerpts from Seaglass Christmas! Thinking about writing your own Christmas book, poem, or screenplay? Maybe you’d like to be the next Debbie Macomber or Richard Paul Evans and write a sleighful of Christmas books?

Keep reading for tips on planning, decorating, and writing…

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

A dream plan

Imagine a charming cottage filled with the scents of fresh wintergreen boughs, spicy gingerbread, and peppermint candy canes. Can you imagine a sweeter place to write an amazing Christmas story?

Are you dreaming of a day-long workshop? Half day? Two hours? The first thing you need to do is plan your schedule. Here is a sample for a day-long workshop with video “lectures” in the afternoon:

Morning: Sweet writing warmups, Personal writing project

Afternoon: The History of Candy Canes; Amy Tan: Where Does Creativity Hide?, Anne Lamott: On Being a Tough Writer, Dan Brown: MasterClass Live, David Baldacci: Write Around the Corner, Debbie Macomber: National Writers Series, Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius, Julia Cameron: The Power of Perseverance, Margaret Atwood: National Writers Series, Stephen King: On Developing an Idea

Evening: Personal writing project

Photo by kekule on Pixabay

Deck those halls

Elm hastened to a long, festive red and white table displaying platters of assorted Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, and finger sandwiches that resembled Christmas trees and gingerbread men. She piled as much as she could onto her red paper plate until she had an impressive tower.

Now that you’ve planned your schedule, it’s time to make everything look like a candy cane wonderland! Don’t hold back — have some fun and decorate your writing space with strings of multicolor lights. Cover your writing desk with festive fabric. Make a scented potpourri and place it inside a glass bowl or candy jar. Burn peppermint essential oil or P&J’s “Candy Cane” fragrance. Anything that brings you joy, use it as your muse. Maybe a stuffed Santa or a Christmas angel?

Don’t forget your writing tools. I mean, is there anybody on earth who doesn’t need a candy cane pen with peppermint-scented ink? Cover a brand new notebook with festive wrapping paper. Drape a garland or battery-operated lights over your computer or stick a shiny red bow on the top. Change your desktop wallpaper to candy canes!

Photo by Eleyne-Mari Sharp

Make a centerpiece

All the tables are round and the chairs are white with huge candy canes on the back. Each table has a red tablecloth and white fake snow and a gigantic poinsettia sitting in a real candy cane vase. I think they call it a centerpiece. Sarah Lightfoot told me that some lucky kid will win the centerpiece from their table. She’s my best friend and her mom owns our ice cream shop, so she probably knows what she’s talking about. Or at least about ice cream.

How did I get cheerfully motivated to write about an 8-year-old girl at Christmastime? I set up an inspiration altar!

I placed my “centerpiece” on my desk, to the left of my computer. It contained a miniature Christmas tree with tiny seashells and seahorses, as well as a Seaglass Christmas collage card featuring Elm, her Christmas wreath, the violet seaglass, and some of the book locales. (Sorry, I ate the candy canes before I took the picture.)

You, too, can create a centerpiece to reflect your own writing project, featuring a character, setting or specific chapter. If you’d prefer to make a DIY poinsettias candy cane centerpiece like the one in my book, click here.

Photo by Vinzenz Lorenz M on Pixabay


Elm hastened to a long, festive red and white table displaying platters of assorted Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, and finger sandwiches that resembled Christmas trees and gingerbread men. She piled as much as she could onto her red paper plate until she had an impressive tower.

Break time! Since you’ll undoubtedly need nourishment throughout the day, having a snack table nearby is not only smart but convenient. For appetizers, try the Candy Cane Cheese Ball, Caprezze Candy Cane Board, Pizza Crescent Candy Cane, and Spinach-Artichoke Crescent Candy Cane.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth (and who wouldn’t with all these candy cane references), take a peek at 25 Holiday Peppermint Recipes.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Sweet Writing Warmups

My first assignment was to write a Christmas poem, using the words “snow,” “angel,” and “bell.” The poem had to rhyme and all the finalists will get their poems printed on a giant snowflake that will be hung on a Poet-tree. Get it? I laughed out loud, too!

In my mind, I am visualizing a white flocked tree with real candy canes. Instead of hanging completed poems like the kids did in my book, why not hang writing prompts to inspire your stories? Or write them on red and white slips of paper, put them inside a candy jar, and draw one when you need a break from your writing project?

Here are 12 writing prompts…

  1. Write about the first Christmas you can remember.

  2. Write about your favorite Christmas book.

  3. Write about the colors of Christmas.

  4. Write about your favorite Christmas cookie coming alive.

  5. Write about what the elf on the shelf would report back to Santa about you.

  6. Write a synopsis about a romantic Christmas comedy.

  7. Write a personal memory from a Christmas past.

  8. Make a list of things that would taste better with a candy cane.

  9. Write a song about Christmas to the tune of “Silent Night.”

  10. Write about a Christmas that never was.

  11. Write a dog or cat version of It’s A Wonderful Life.

  12. Write a Christmas poem that contains the words “snow,” “angel,” and “bell.”

And that’s all there is to it. The more holiday cheer you feel, the more writing you will create. And the more you can share with your readers, the more you will make your spirits bright. Write and believe!


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