I always know when the holidays have truly kicked in because I am writing regularly again. Not just putting words on the page (I do a fair bit of that anyway) but holding the novel in my head, thinking about the characters and the plot, letting the back of my brain do some of the work too, and generally feeling like I am in the writing zone.
Other times of year, I'm either not able to write at all for a couple of weeks at a time (usually when I am marking student writing or workshopping it - it kind of sucks the urge to make your own words right out of you), or I work on shorter things that have a smaller focus.
I also read more in the holidays, and am able to think more about what I'm reading. Yes, I am still examining Lionel Shriver's sentence constructions!
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is a very scary book, especially if you've had kids. The idea that you might give birth to someone who ends up murdering eight people is bad enough, but then to seriously consider how you might have contributed to that outcome ...
Here in Australia, "The West Wing" is into series 6, thanks to the ABC (taxpayers' channel) who got hold of it and are providing us with two episodes a week. We still haven't got up to the episodes I saw in Tucson in Sept 05! But last night's episode on Iran and nuclear plants was eerily echoed by the news broadcast straight afterwards. It's the one thing about watching the show so long after it was originally made - the news has caught up with the fiction.