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December 15, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year @sloanebcollins #PlottingPrincesses #amwriting #fudge #traditions #MFRWorg

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love the lights, the trees, the food, the traditions, and the spirit of the holiday.  I made the decision the last couple of years to not decorate due to lack of time and four cats who know no boundaries, and I really miss it.  The cats were restless last night, and I kept hearing things banging around in the kitchen so I finally investigated.  One (or more) had gotten a side drawer open and found a small Christmas tree ornament and was batting it all over the tile floor.  I hadn’t even realized it was in that drawer! 

Even though there are trees up and the store is decorated at work (my office is at the Neiman Marcus flagship store in Dallas), there are lights up in the neighborhood, and Christmas music is on the radio, it just hadn’t been feeling like Christmas is next week.  Until I got home last night and found that the annual Tin of Fudge and Cherry Mash had arrived.  My sister-in-law makes THE best fudge.  I ripped open the package, saw the gorgeous Christmas tin, took the lid off, and there it was.  FUDGE.  NOW it feels like the holidays have arrived.




I don’t remember a lot about the Christmases when I was really little, but I have pictures of the beautiful trees dripping with tinsel.  I actually do remember one night coming home from midnight mass, and my parents told us to close our eyes as we passed the door to the den where the tree was.  They didn’t know if Santa had been there yet, so we couldn’t peek.  There was that anticipation, and hurrying off to bed so he
wouldn’t pass over our house. 

A few years, and a divorce later, and my mother, sister and I were living with my grandmother.  She went all out on Christmas every year.  I loved her trees and decorations.  I’d spend hours in the living room with the tree all lit up, and the pretty white church glowing on the coffee table.  Then Christmas day would finally arrive, and there would be all kinds of loot under the tree.  My aunt, uncle, and cousin would be there.  It was a tradition for us to each get a special Christmas dress, and a doll that had hair to match ours: blonde for me, red for my sister, and brunette for my cousin.  I still remember one of those dresses: long, beige with tiny flowers, and a quilted skirt.  I actually wore that for a play I was (forced to be) in at school – Babes in Toyland.  I was Mother Goose, and I carried a blue stuffed goose and had to lead the parade to the stage.  Anyone who knows me knows it was torture.   I’m terribly shy, and it was even worse back in grade school!

The food on Christmas day was amazing.  My great-grandparents were bakers – as in, they had owned a chain of bakeries in Detroit.  So of course the food was excellent.  My great-grandma was a phenomenal cook, and Grampa made the best cookies and pies.  We’d all gather around the big dining room table and just stuff ourselves. 

Fast forward to my adult years, and we would get together with my husband’s family on Christmas Eve, and my family on Christmas Day.  My husband is one of seven siblings, so just the immediate family was a houseful.  The noise, the wrapping paper strewn all over, the sideboards groaning with food, kids running amok…boy do I miss those nights now that we live in Texas. 

Now it’s just my husband and me, and the cats, of course.  I get my fill of Christmas with the decorations at work, the music on the radio, and Christmas movies on TV that I record and watch over and over again, even after the holidays are done.

I have a Christmas Romance that I’ve worked on the last few years, and I finally figured out what needs to happen, so I think that’s the next story I’ll write.  I’m anxious to get Nick and Merry out in the world.


What about you?  What’s your favorite part of the holiday?  What traditions do you have? 

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
P.S. - I still believe.

7 comments:

Cathy McElhaney said...

Chaos is our tradition! Ha ha! We really don't have any...my husband and I have had differences of opinion on holiday traditions. When growing up, he never saw the tree until Christmas morning (Santa brought it)...THIS Santa says I have enough work without adding the tree to it, lol. For a few years, when our boys were little, we did not put the tree up until Christmas eve. Now it goes up the day after Thanksgiving and down on New Years day. I do all the cooking, baking, decorating...but now my grand daughters help with the last two. They are 7 & 5.
When I was growing up, we got to open 1 present Christmas eve and it was usually new pajama's. My husband nixed that, too, lol! No clothes for Christmas and no opening gifts before morning.(He doesn't get it that girl LIKE clothes...any time of year! The girls are teaching him that!)
We also had several Jewish neighbors when I was a kid and they would always ended up at our house on Christmas Eve, helping to decorate our tree (ours also went up Christmas Eve, but we decorated it, not Santa!)and drinking with my parents!
I started a tradition with my kids of 3 gifts only. That is what baby Jesus got, so what makes my kids more special?? I do like this new one that is going around Facebook of 4 gifts..Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read...

vicki batman said...

Hi, Sloane! I watch White Christmas every Christmas Eve. I have to HAVE a REAL tree. Some traditions have fallen by the wayside--since my grandmother passed, no more family gathering, no more traditional lunch, instead, breakfast. But that's okay because being with my family and laughing and sharing is the most fun.

Sylvia said...

I believe!! We watched Die Hard (our Christmas Movie for hubby) and Miracle on 42nd Street (one of my Christmas Movies) last Saturday night. It was nice. For the first time in years, I put up a tree, we decorated the outside of the house, but I haven't bought many presents. Why? I don't know what to get. Hubby and the son are getting groupons (It's not as bad as it sounds). Now if only the weather would make it feel like Christmas. Today it's 75 and the window is open in my office. The dog keeps climbing up his steps to look outside, when he's not sleeping. Everyone have a wonderful Christmas - 2016 is going to be a fabulous year.

Sloane B. Collins said...

Cathy,
I love the 3 gifts idea based on what baby Jesus received! And the facebook idea for 4 gifts. I hear you about chaos as a tradition!
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sloane B. Collins said...

Vicki, I love White Christmas, too! I love the red ball gowns the sisters wear at the very end. I'd love to have one of those...and the figure to go with it!
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Sloane B. Collins said...

Sylvia,
The weather is a big part of making it not feel like Christmas. I like it cold and snowy...as long as I don't have to drive in it. Cold I don't mind (I want to move to Maine, after all!). Hubby and I bought a new camera as our gift to each other. I'd love to try it out in snow.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Kathy Ivan said...

I have to agree, Sloane, it hasn't really felt like Christmas this year. Maybe it's the weather, with it being so balmy and warm. Usually by Thanksgiving we've had at least a big cold snap and we haven't had that yet this year. I also haven't finished my shopping yet, I know who'll be rushing around the next week trying to find the perfect gifts at the last minute.

I love Christmas and I totally get you about needing the fudge to make it a holiday. I've always associated fudge and Christmas. It's one of those things that can bring memories rushing back of my mother standing at the stove, stirring the chocolate and the marshmallow fluff and the sugar and butter. Just the smell of fudge brings that rushing back.

Wishing you and all the Princesses and our readers a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.