It may be early November, but given the way stores are decorated for the holiday season it feels more like December. Some of the shops where I live had the sparkly red and green stuff out when the Halloween decorations and costumes where for sale.
I tend to look past it. I don't like to listen to Christmas carols or decorate until after Thanksgiving, but I like to start my Christmas shopping early. I bought a gift for one of my children back in August. You never know when you'll see that perfect present for someone on your list so I keep my eyes peeled on what's out there all year long.
In my ideal world, I'm finished shopping by the time Advent arrives. That way I can concentrate on preparing for Christmas by decorating, baking and addressing envelopes, rather than making trips to crowded malls and stores. Of course, ideal rarely happens.
Well, except in 2008 when snow began falling on December 14th. And kept on falling. And falling. Forget about shopping or going to parties. No one could go anywhere until the 23rd and even then chains were required.
Sounds awful, right? Cabin fever after so many days. Running out of food. Not being able to shop for presents.
I'll be honest, it was sheer heaven. My kids will agree.
Sure, we were stuck at home. But that turned out to be a very good thing. Face it, preparing for Christmas can be crazy busy. All that shopping, mailing and party/events to attend are hard to juggle. Not to mention all the regular obligations and daily word count goals!
But thanks to Mother Nature, we didn't have to spend our time trying to cram it all in. The holidays, as well as life, were simplified for us when the weather cancelled most everything except Christmas itself. We didn't have to go anywhere except outside to play in the snow with our neighbors then back inside the house to warm ourselves when it got to cold and wet. It was great.
When the weather finally let up on the 23rd, my husband and I left the kids with the neighbors. We drove to a couple stores to pick up much needed food, including what we needed for Christmas dinner, and a couple remaining presents on the list. We ended up spinning out on the freeway on-ramp and nearly crashing head on into an SUV that was behind us. After that the only other place we drove to was Christmas morning Mass. When we exited church, snow had started falling again!
The white Christmas the kids had been dreaming about! A perfect winter wonderland.
As I prepare to have my family over for Thanksgiving dinner, I want to remember what I learned back in December 2008. It shouldn't take a snowstorm to keep us from getting so caught up in the holidays that everything happens in a blur.
This year, I went so far as to schedule in a two-week slow-down/break for my writing. I want to keep things simple and focused on what's most important about Christmas—love. Though if Mother Nature wants to lend a hand in helping me do that, I won't complain. The kids would love another white Christmas. And so would I!
Back Cover Blurb:
Christmas magic in Hood Hamlet...
For Leanne, infuriatingly charming firefighter Christian Welton is out of bounds. Not only is he too young for her, but his trail of broken hearts is legendary. Leanne's fought hard to be one of the boys, and won't let anyone see that Christian's smile makes her want to melt into his arms!
Christian wanted to discover the softer side of the tough-talking paramedic, but hasn't counted on how much the real Leanne affects him. He's vowed never to settle down, but under the mistletoe it's certainly the season to be tempted.…
If you'd like to meet Leanne Thomas, she was a secondary character in Melissa's free on-line read, Snow-Kissed Reunion, at eharlequin.com. (If you want to link to it here is the url: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1538&chapter=1)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa McClone writes for Harlequin Romance. She was a 2011 RITA® Finalist in the Contemporary Series Category. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but quit her job to write romance novels. Writing happily ever afters is a lot more fun than analyzing jet engine performance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, three oh-so-spoiled cats and a dog named Chaos.