Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why I Chose My Title for “Love, Christmas” – White Christmas by Rebecca York #mgtab

My story for the Love, Christmas collection is White Christmas, and I’ve been dreaming of lovely snow-covered holiday scenes since I was a little kid. In fact, because I knew I was going to start my story with my heroine in a snowstorm, White Christmas was the perfect title.

My family didn’t have to travel over the river and through the woods in a sleigh to my grandma’s house.  But we did have to drive from Washington, DC, to Baltimore for big holiday dinners.  When I was young, that journey wasn’t trivial.  In the early days, we had to take Route 1, one of the most dangerous highways in the U.S.  Later we could we could switch to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, a marvel in its time.

Sometimes we’d drive through falling snow. Other times we’d just arrive in the winter dark.  But inside grandma’s house, the holiday meal was always the same when we gathered around the huge dining room table.  A nod to salad was provided by a relish dish of celery and carrots.  But everyone was more interested in the main events: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes (which I hated as a kid but learned to love when I grew up).  Sorry, I can’t remember if we had any other vegetables.  The poultry and stuffing were the highlight of the dinner. For me, that was always a turkey leg.  I still like dark meat.  As far as I’m concerned, turkey white meat is boring.

As a child, I didn’t understood why one bowl of stuffing was “wet,” and the other “dry,” but I definitely preferred the dry one.

I’m going to date myself horribly by telling you that the first Christmas tree I remember was during World War II.  With wartime shortages, you couldn’t buy tinsel.  And it was hard to get any other holiday decorations.  But my grandfather owned a florist shop, and my grandma fashioned decorations out of florist ribbon.  She made them into bows and wound them around cardboard rollers, then used florist wire to fix everything to a small tree which she put on a little red table.

One of my perennial disappointments as a kid was never having lights on our Christmas tree. I envied my friends who had them, but my mom was afraid lights might start a fire, so they were banished from our house.  Guess what I bought first when I got married and finally had my own tree?

I also continued my grandma’s idea of making ornaments.  When my kids were little, we made a lot of them out of felt, glitter, pipe cleaners, and sequins, because we had cats who would climb our Christmas tree and knock traditional glass balls to the floor where they shattered into glittery shards.

And for the past five or six years, I’ve used the Norfolk pine in my living room as a permanent “Christmas tree.”  I keep small lights and homemade ornaments on it all year round.  I hope people grin when they see it on a dark winter night.  I’ve included a picture of some of my ornaments hanging on my library catalogue so you can see them better than on the tree.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions, and how are you going to honor them this year? 

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