Tag Archives: Christmas Blog Hop

How to really celebrate the Spirit of Christmas

 

Every year I make a list of the things that I want to do during the holiday season. Christmas isn’t just about getting presents for me — it never was. My childhood wasn’t filled with things like most American kids have nowadays. I was lucky if I got new underwear or pajamas from Santa some years. The Christmas season was more about experiences. Visiting the Rockefeller Tree. Attending the Natale festival in Little Italy.  Midnight Mass. These are my memories of Christmas. As an adult, I expanded my list of experiences and I want to share them today, because I think everyone should remember what the real spirit of Christmas means. It’s not about getting a new iPad or the latest must-have toy. It’s about experiencing the joy, hope, and love the season embodies and helping others feel the same way.

Here are a few things on my list to do this year:

  1. Volunteer. Those Salvation Army bell ringers don’t grow on trees! It takes a well-coordinated volunteer army to man those kettles you see around stores, in the mall, and on street corners. Give the gift of your time. Usually, shifts are 2 hours. Surely, you’ve got 2 hours you can donate to a worthy cause. 
  2. Attend a local holiday concert. Every year my town has a holiday concert put on by the local Pops Choir. They’re usually a fundraiser, so admission goes toward funding a local charity such as the food bank or a women’s shelter. Kicking back in an auditorium filled with like-minded people who want to enjoy some holiday music sung by people who should – in my opinion – be on American Idol(!) is a great way to spend a wintry, cold afternoon. Sit back, listen and enjoy, and know you are making a difference in someone’s life with the cost of your admission.
  3. Support Toys for Tots. I know I said Christmas isn’t about the presents, but kids, especially kids in foster care, those who have to spend Christmas in the hospital, those whose mothers or fathers are serving in the military thousands of miles away, THOSE kids deserve to get toys and presents. My daughter is an adult and I haven’t bought her a toy in quite some time. But I still toy shop during the holidays so I can hopefully make another child’s day a happy one.

         

         4. Volunteer at the local food kitchen or deliver food to shut-ins. This one is so self-explanatory I don’t need to define it, but I will, with this thought: Think of the meal you have with your family, friends, loved ones every Christmas. I’m sure your table is packed with more food than you all could possibly eat in one sitting. The house is decorated and warm. Everyone is relaxed, happy and glad to be alive. Now think about that family where the dad just lost his job, or the single mom who left an abusive relationship and took her kids with her. They live in a shelter. They worry if they’ll even get a meal a day, much less a holiday one.These are the people food kitchens were made for. Why don’t you take an hour out of your time and volunteer to serve these people.  Spend time with others who don’t have what you do, probably through no circumstances of their own making, and help them see that people really are kind and giving and the world isn’t a terrible, lonely place.

            5.Attend a holiday craft fair. I lovelovelove receiving home-made gifts. This is a great way to support local crafters AND do some holiday gift shopping

           6.Give blood. This may be the last thing you think of doing during the holidays, but believe me, it’s needed. This is the one selfless act that truly means giving because you’re literally giving the gift of life to another human being.

I’m sure you can think of many more worthwhile ways to make your Christmas a happier, more soul-fulfilling experience. I wish you all the most joyous of seasons, and my hope is that after reading this blog today, you’ll go out and make someone else’s life as happy as yours is.

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance

Celebrating Christmas with two crazy families…

This Holiday Season I’m channeling my inner Attic Elf and while I’m playing White Christmas on a continuous loop on my CD player, I want to  tell you the inspiration behind my favorite family, The San Valentino’s of Manhattan,

My parents split when I was an infant and both remarried. My parents are of Irish extraction, my stepmother the same. My stepfather, though, was first generation Italian/American. This made for some memorable Christmas get-togethers during my childhood.

Christmas Eve was usually spent with the Italian relatives, starting at around 4 p.m. with the first course of the Feast of the 7 fishes. Every hour on the hour for 7 full hours a different fish course was served by my Sicilian-speaking-only step-grandmother.And with every course, a new bottle of wine would be served, so that by the time my mother, stepfather and I left, most of the relatives were gluttonously full and three sheets to the wind drunk. It made for many an interesting evening, especially when they all started spewing in Italian just so my mother and I couldn’t understand what was being said. (P.S. most of it was about us!!!)

Christmas day was always spent with Irish relatives, starting with Midnight Mass Christmas eve,( and yes, we traveled to them as soon as the last fish course was finished on the Italo side.) and culminating in a day of drinking and eating. And when I say drinking I mean it in the purely alcoholic sense. Unlike with the stepfamily, my mother’s family consumed more booze than food. And they started drinking earlier, too. Like noon early. There would only be two courses for dinner, which was usually served at 5 without any food before that, because my Irish grandmother didn’t want any of us to spoil our dinners and eat too much before the meal was served. I never understood how she didn’t equate the falling asleep drunks at the dinner table with the lack of food to sop up the afternoon booze. By seven p.m. most of them would be passed out in various lounge chairs and couches, the Yule Log blasting Christmas music in the background to drown out the yelling coming from the kitchen where my mother, her mother, and my aunt would be fighting about….anything and everything.

From the time I realized my family was different from all the other families in my school I started asking Santa for a different family every year for Christmas. The number one item on my Santa wish list was : a family that didn’t fight, drink, or yell. I think I actually wrote that for eight years straight. When I never got the family I wished for, I stopped writing it down.

But I never stopped wishing for it.

It wasn’t until I was married and made my own family that my wish turned into my reality.

When I wrote my very first Christmas romance, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, I invented the family I wished for as a child. The San Valentinos are loyal and loving and they do fight – but only in the best sense of the word because they fight for each other, not against one another. I got my wished-for family twice: One, I married; the other I created.

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to. When a miscommunication has her believing he’s the new parish priest, her happily-ever-after hopes evaporate because he’s the proverbial forbidden fruit.

Or is he?

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Noble // KOBO // Google Play

Question for Readers: Do you come from a Big family or a small one? I’ll be picking one reader who comments to receive an e-copy of A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights. Comment in the comments section and let me know!!

When I’m not writing about crazy families you can find me here : Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

And please visit these wonderful author blog sites for more Christmas in the Highway Cafe fun!

December 4
Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/
Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com
Mariah Lynne –
December 5
Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/
Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/
Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/
Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/
December 6
Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com
M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com
Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com
Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/
December 7
Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca
Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/
Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/
Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/
December 8
Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com
Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca
Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com
Linda Carroll-Bradd – http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com

 

15 Comments

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor