by Phillip Mottaz
We’ve all faced this problem: during the season of gathering, giving and getting, our obligation to our family and friends ends up taking away from our reading time. I’ve personally gone through major dry spells simply because my parents “love me.” Fortunately, I have devised five can’t miss*, guaranteed* methods to read during the holidays without offending Grandma.
1. Reading On Your Phone. The thing that’s deteriorating the art of eye contact and conversation can be used to your advantage! The trick is to do it without distracting yourself. Everyone in your family will probably be staring at their phones, but probably on social media apps. You must fight this temptation. Turn off your ringer, turn off notifications and find those in-between-dinner moments. Or possibly the in-between-bites-of-dinner moments, too.
2. The Present Wrapping Ruse. Gifts are in need of wrapping, and that means they require secrecy. Grab a pile of easy-to-wrap presents, some gift bags, and then explain that you have to step away “for secrecy.” Lock the door, wrap the gifts as quickly (and as nicely) as you can and you will have gifted yourself with some uninterrupted and slightly-justified reading time. Nobody wants to spoil a gift, so you’re in the clear (except for little kids, so watch out for them).
3. Offering To Run Errands. Similar to the gift wrapping angle, this is one that appears helpful (and it is), socially allows for isolation, and buys you some time away from interruption. As with the gift wrapping ruse, you do have to complete the errand (and safely; don’t read and drive!). But you can get creative and find ways to “take the long way home.” After you get what you need to get, drive toward your home and park somewhere off the main street. Set a timer and enjoy.
4. Long Bathroom Breaks. This will require a little prep work, but nothing a sub-standard cat burglar cannot manage. After making a discreet excuse to step away, speed yourself to the farthest, least-popular bathroom available to you, lock the door and enjoy up to 20 minutes of barely-disturbed reading time. The prep work comes in where you keep your book. If you’re reading on your phone, you’re probably set. But if you’re reading a physical book, either stuff it in your shirt or — more recommended — visit your hideaway ahead of time and stick the book between some towels. (Please only do this in places with more than one bathroom)
5. Being Honest. Hear me out — this can work. Sometimes we just need a break and space, and telling your loved ones as much will likely be met with understanding. Heck, in some cases your family is probably in need of a break from you, too! Just say it in a nice way — maybe without saying “I’d rather be reading my book than listening to you” — slink into your private room and slip into your book.
Happy holidays, everyone. I hope this helps you find new ways to enjoy yourself, your family and your books!
ABOUT PHILLI MOTTAZ
Phillip Mottaz wrote his first mystery novel when he was only 39. After growing up in Illinois’ smallest city, he studied improv and sketch comedy in Chicago. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has written every kind of script imaginable and produced multiple podcasts. His new mystery “THE MURDEROUS HAIRCUT OF THE MAYOR OF BEL AIR” is the first in his Psychic Barber Mystery series, and has been called “a classic mystery with a modern twist.” He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son and dog and — to date — has developed no psychic powers.
For More Information About Phillip, Visit His Website!