Christmas has come and gone, and we are already a whole week into the new year! I hope you had the opportunity to make yourself some great new memories to add to your hopefully already full roster. I have a brand new holiday related memory I added to mine, which was so incredibly insane I chronicled it on this blog. And it’s such a long memory that I am only going to refer you back to the three posts it took to run through it (Part I; Part II; Part III). Hint: it’s travel related and involves a tornado. Our authors also have some memories related to the holidays, and this week’s Ask an Author feature is in homage to a wonderful, warm time of the year. I wish all authors a fabulous 2016—and hopefully all of them will have news a couple of times this year to share with us all, just like the wonderful AJ’s upcoming new paperback coming out later during the year! Her work is already online as the omnibus edition of Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death. A big congratulation to AJ, and here is hoping to more!
Sahar, this is tricky. My best holiday memory? Now let’s see…
- There’s the most poignant ‒ my elegant opera singer Chinese grandmother wearing my dad’s shorts while helping us to paint our Pukehina beach house one Christmas when I was a kid.
- Most ridiculous ‒ the year we decided we would only eat foods beginning with the letter ‘C’, which was great for things like chocolate and Christmas cake and candy, but admittedly the kids were less enthused with cauliflower, cabbage, courgettes, cucumber and capsicum.
- Most practical – the make-your-own Christmas presents year, in which I pretty much superglued myself to the kitchen table.
- Most worrisome, when our then-puppy managed to climb on chair and chomp her way through half a 5kg dark fruit Christmas cake and we were terrified it might kill her.
- Most gruesome – when our friend tried out his new Christmas racing bike and, unused to the bike, had a massive accident at the bottom of the road, and all the adults spent Christmas in the emergency room. (Yes, he survived!)
- Most difficult – the year my grandmother died of cancer just before Christmas.
- Most joyous ‒ the year my sister came to spend a White Christmas with us in France, which was also the first family Christmas my husband and I shared with our baby girl.
- Most fun ‒ the extended family Olympic Games and BBQ at a country school: sack races, egg and spoon, and running backwards races, with plastic medals for the kids.
- Most work ‒ the year we all put on our gloves and boots and spent a day helping a farmer friend bring in his hay for Christmas.
So many rich and varied memories, but I think, or at least I hope, the best Christmas memories are the ones still to come.
My favorite memory of Christmas was the year—two years after my mother’s untimely death (she died at age 48)—we decided to have an open house and invite all our friends and the whole neighborhood on Christmas Eve. To our amazement, just about everyone showed up. We thought everyone would be too busy with their own Christmas Eve celebrations. Even our Episcopalian priest showed up. I remember my uncle teasing him when the priest was holding a glass of Swedish glögg (highly alcoholic), saying “Don’t you have to work later tonight?”
The year before, without my mom, was so dismal. So, this was a wonderful comeback for all of us and we all had a splendid evening. Even the priest, who did get to work on time (although I wasn’t there to see the service).
No matter how you celebrate the holidays—and I know a Hindu guy who still celebrates a secular Christmas, tree and all—may they be happy ones. And happy New Year.
In New Zealand, Christmas is a summer holiday. Evening picnics, salmon on the BBQ, and lounging in the shade of pohutukawa trees crowned with brilliant red flowers, are popular pastimes. I too, generally enjoy relaxing in the summer heat, but my most memorable Christmas was spent running around Wellington at dawn, with my children, as we took photographs for Wizard’s Guide to Wellington. It was magic, the streets were deserted, the water sparkled, and my two children ran about the flagstones, wizard’s cloaks flying behind them.
I have several awesome Christmas memories from when I was young. The one I think sticks with me the most is also something we still do, when we can (my mom has had cancer so the last few years we haven’t done this)is making home made peanut brittle, caramels, fudge, peanut butter cups and sugar cookies (the sugar cookies is something I’ve added in the last few years). Then taking plates to the Nursing Home, Assisted Living places, elderly, friends and neighbors and singing carols to them. Afterward we go back to my parents house and drink hot chocolate and play games or watch a Christmas movie.
Our full roster of authors, in alphabetical order: Angela Barry, D. Odell Benson, F.C. Etier, Jean Gilbert, J. C. Hart, Hunter Marshall, Catherine Mede, Lee Murray, Karo Oforofuo, A.J. Ponder, Meryl Stenhouse, Lorene Stunson Hill, Lynn Voedisch, and Sybil Watters.