When I was a little kid, my family was just me and my parents. Mom and Dad were sun-lovers, and as anyone who’s been to Victoria, B.C. in winter knows, you see buckets of rain and very little sun. So we snowbirded down to Mexico in a tiny aluminum camper. Christmas Day meant waking in a hammock slung between a couple of palm trees, playing tourist, lying on the beach with my parents (slathered with tanning lotion, not sunscreen), and cooling off in the ocean.

When I reached school age, Mom and Dad pulled me out of class to jaunt south. My teachers were okay with it because I was a top student. They gave me the assignment of drawing pictures and writing stories about what I saw and did. Here’s a sample page. On the left, those are fish boats on the beach. On the right is our camper under a coconut palm.

Our Mexican Christmases ended when an older cousin of Mom’s, a single woman, moved out from Saskatchewan. The holidays are family time, and we couldn’t desert her.

So we suffered through the rain and chilly temperatures, but I loved all the wonderful traditional activities. We picked out a fresh, outdoorsy-smelling tree and decorated it with ornaments—both purchased and home-made—as well as strings of lights and strands of silver tinsel. The kitchen filled with the scent of baking cookies and fruitcake. Presents were snuck into the house and wrapped in secret, to slowly accumulate under the tree.

We hung stockings on Christmas Eve and I retrieved mine on Christmas morning and opened it in bed, enjoying the treasures until my parents deigned to rise. While they prepared breakfast, I was sent down the street to “pick up” Mom’s cousin and escort her to the house—in other words, Mom and Dad wanted me out of their hair for twenty minutes. LOL.

The rest of the day was decadent, made up of present-opening, game-playing, and fabulous food. Dinner was classic, my all-time favorite meal: turkey with bread-crumb stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, peas and carrots, and Brussels sprouts, with mince pie and Christmas pudding for dessert. After dinner, we were too satiated to do anything except laze in front of the fire and go to bed early.

Jillian Summers’s family in “Blue Moon Harbor Christmas” celebrates a traditional holiday, too. In fact, it’s tree-trimming night when Michael Dhillon turns up unannounced on the doorstep, hoping to see the child he fathered eight years ago.

As for me . . . Well, I have my parents’ genes, and they draw me to warmth and sunshine. In the past few years, history has repeated itself and my guy and I pack up and head south in our motor home. Yes, I miss the tree, the fireplace, the turkey—but I sure do love wearing shorts and flip-flops on Christmas Day!

 

 

This winter, let four tales of mistletoe magic and the spirit of the season cast a special glow as some of your favorite authors introduce stories of hope, happiness, and holiday hearts.

Christmas Kisses
Fern Michaels

Starting over in a new town with a new job, Meredith thinks buying Noah’s grandmother’s house will be a simple business deal. But neighborly Noah is determined to make Meredith feel at home—and as the holiday season works its magic, he’s suddenly hoping that she’ll find a place for him in her heart.

Blue Moon Harbor Christmas
Susan Fox

Jillian and Michael have nothing in common—except the child two reckless college students created eight years ago. When Michael unexpectedly asks to meet his son, they have the twelve days of Christmas to get to know the adults they’ve become—adults who just might be ready to fall in love for real.

Second Chance Christmas
Jules Bennett

A blind date turns out to be anything but when Ruby finds Knox on her doorstep. A few years ago, she nursed his dying wife. Can two lonely people defeat the shadow of the past and let the spirit of Christmas offer them the most special gift of all?

Finding Colin
Leah Marie Brown

When Grace is suspended from work over the Christmas holidays, she does the only sensible thing—she travels to Ireland to find her favorite actor! But while the Colin she finds may not be a star, he’s ready to show her that gifts come in all shapes and sizes—and love is the miracle that truly counts.

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