Today the blog belongs to Brenda Harlen another fabulous Harlequin Special Edition author who hales from our neighbor to the north. Her tale is titled Home For The Holidays. Read about some of her past traditions as well as what will be happening this Christmas too. Then be sure to enter to win a special Christmas prize package!
Home for the Holidays
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and there are so many sights and sounds and scents that evoke memories of holidays past: the twinkle of colorful lights on a tree; the jolly jingle of sleigh bells; the mouth-watering aroma of just-out-of-the-oven gingerbread. My assignment for The Reading Frenzy’s Annual 2015 Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza was to talk about a favorite holiday memory or tradition—sounds like a simple task, doesn’t it? Except that while I have hundreds of wonderful holiday memories and lots of traditions, I’m not sure there’s any one that is really a ‘favorite’ . . .
Thinking back to my childhood, one of my earliest memories is of listening to Christmas music on the old console record player in the living room while my parents assembled the tree. The wire ends of the branches were color-coded so that they knew which branches to put into what holes, but the tree had been taken apart and put back together so many times, most of the paint had worn off. But it didn’t matter to any of us that the tree was old—as soon as it went up in the corner of the room, we knew that Christmas wasn’t too far away.
(Yes, we always had an artificial tree while I was growing up. It wasn’t until many years later that I visited a tree farm with my future husband and his parents to chop down a fresh one. He, of course, still prefers fresh, but I prefer to have my tree up by the first of December so we have an artificial with hinged branches—no color-deciphering required J)
And on Christmas day, after opening the gifts left by Santa, we would head over to my grandmother’s house where all of the aunts, uncles and cousins gathered to celebrate the occasion together. There were more people than could ever fit around my grandmother’s dining room table—even fully extended, so there was always a separate ‘kids’ table’ set up for the younger generation. My grandmother had nine children and when all of those children and their children gathered together, it was a little noisy, a lot crowded—and a ton of fun.
In addition to the traditional turkey dinner, there was always a delectable assortment of cookies and other treats. I enjoy holiday baking, too, although I usually focus on a few family favorites. And over the years, my boys have proven to be quite innovative in the decorating department, creating gingerbread ninjas, zombies, aliens, hockey players and even ‘fixing’ broken limbs with icing casts.
This year, there will be holiday music playing again while my kids help me to decorate our tree, but it will be Bruce Springsteen from my iPod rather than Gene Autry on a 12” vinyl LP. And my sons will inevitably rearrange the blocks that spell out “BELIEVE” on the fireplace hearth to read “BE EVIL,” just because they’re teenagers and that’s one of their more recent traditions. But they will also snuggle on the couch with me to watch our favorite holiday shows and movies, because it’s what we do every year. And on Christmas Eve, they will put on their matching red plaid pajamas (okay—they wear sleep pants and mismatched t-shirts now, but there was a time . . .) and listen to me read Clement C. Moore’s famous poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ before the lights are turned out.
Then, on Christmas morning, we’ll have homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast, open our presents, then pile into the car and head to Grandma’s house.
Of course, the cast of characters has changed a lot over the years. As inevitably happens with the passage of time, we’ve lost some family members and gained new ones. My mother is the grandmother now, and although it requires traveling farther distances and coordinating various schedules to gather everyone together, we look forward to reconnecting at Christmas and creating wonderful new memories with our loved ones. I guess that is my favorite part of the season—celebrating the love of God by sharing it with our family.
Wherever you are and whoever you celebrate with, I wish you all the best for a happy holiday!
According to her mother, she fell in love with books even before she could read and was always content when she had a book in her hands. It didn’t surprise anyone when she decided that she wanted to be a writer, but she was encouraged to pursue “a real job” first.
Brenda is offering one lucky entrant
A very special Christmas Package
to one lucky winner US & Canada ONLY
to one lucky winner US & Canada ONLY
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