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Red Days of Christmas, Days of Light and Color

Last two Christmases we've been on a cruise just prior to Christmas Day. What a treat that was to walk the streets in Spain, France, Brazil and Italy with many local bakers and craftsmen show off their wares. I've seen cakes and jellies and treats as well as ornaments I've never seen before or since.

Every year I enjoy seeing the posts on the lights and celebrations all over the world. Because I have international fans, I've been invited to view local celebrations of towns I've yet to visit. Once of my readers, Rise, is from Norway, from the town my Grandmother was born in: Bergen.

As I look at the stunning pictures, I love the use of all the colored lights, the fireworks and the sense of a community celebration we don't see here. We save the fireworks for the 4th of July. But why? Christmas here sometimes seems like one mad shopping adventure. I'd rather see lights, hear choirs and listen to wonderful Christmas music sung by children, bright lights and candles everywhere. To me, the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of the heart.

How perfect for a romance writer, right?

My children are grown, but I remember going to San Francisco when I was little, to look at the store displays, having hot chocolate at the St. Francis or the Fairmont – places my parents could never afford to stay. But they could buy me a $20 mug of hot chocolate and some treat.

I remember the time my oldest came running into the house. “Mom! Dad bought a scorched tree!” My husband regretted buying that flocked tree, and it was the tree from Hell as I picked up bits of white flocking all over the house that season. Yes, we still talk about it today, some 40 years later. There are some things a man just cannot outlive and this will be one of them.

Berlin Lights Display

I do miss my grandparents, on my father's side – so poor they drank Tang instead of orange juice and bought our gifts from the 10 Cent Store. We loved those little things anyway. I remember when one of my biggest treats from my mother's parents was to get a book of lifesavers – all ten kinds in one box! And maybe a package of chewing gum from the Wrigley's factory near Santa Cruz – where you could go to the factory and buy them in 10-packs cheap.

However we celebrate Christmas, it surely changes through all life's adventures. As I grew to adulthood and began to have children of my own it changed. All the holiday dinners I had for sometimes over 30 guests, and the tradition my parents set of inviting a Stanford student from another country to sit at our table, especially if they did not celebrate Christmas in their country. Our little piece of diplomacy to help heal the world. Share our family with others.

So that's what Christmas is for me. Sharing. Sharing the world and our place in it, our love of each other, our families. That is what the culture of Christmas for me. Celebrating a man who showed the ultimate and greatest love in the universe.

Be well. And let your love light shine.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 11 comments
julie beasley - November 29, 2015

We always had a real Christmas tree and wasn't like today's were everything matches. We all helped and had our favourite baubles,coloured mismatches snowmen.angels etc. I remember thin strings of shiny silver paper. It was done with such love and laughter. I use to love the different smells of the tree, Christmas cakes and warm mince pies mingling with the smell of the Turkey and stuffing. Magical times

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    Sharon Hamilton - November 29, 2015

    Indeed, Julie. Our first Christmas together, Don made some "boobs" out of dough. The next Christmas, they had "shriveled" from moisture. We looked at each other, and said simultaneously, "Shades of Things to Come." And we laughed. Yes, I remember all those lovely simple treats and times together, yes, and the laughter too!

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Karen Henderson - November 29, 2015

I'm really sad to say I don't really enjoy Christmas anymore like I used to. Working for UPS it's hard to when all you do from Thanksgiving to Christmas is be really really busy. I do remember Christmas being one of my favorite holidays and I hope someday to get that joy back. Like I was telling myself yesterday at work 10 more peaks till retirement even if I work somewhere else I'm hoping I find a job when I can capture my joy and love of Christmas again. Sharon I always love your posts. Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures. I must admit one of my favorite parts of the holidays is all the Christmas lights. Have a wonderful day <3

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    Sharon Hamilton - November 29, 2015

    You too, Karen! Yes, the lights and the wonder of it all is Christmas to me. Sharing, not defining or dividing us all. I can totally understand about you not enjoying it since you work at UPS. OMG I can't imagine how crazy that would be. But hopefully, there's lots of overtime. Heck, I'd be inclined to buy presents on sale after Christmas so I didn't have to worry about doing anything! Hope you get some help with the home things and have a wonderful, love-filled home at this time of year. You are a gem, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm sure, many times. I'm a writer only because of great readers and fans like you, Karen.

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J.D. Hart - November 29, 2015

Wonderful post! I'll always remember the old fashioned Christmases we had at my Grandmother's house. My Grandpa and I would go out into the woods and cut down the Christmas tree. With Perry Como and Johnny Mathis on the stereo and a blazing fire in the fireplace, I was at peace with the world and felt the warmth of two loving Grandparents. Christmas is indeed a feeling in one's heart. A sense of oneness and unity, a feeling of peace on earth, if only for a moment. I will forever remain that little boy inside at Christmas time. Wishing you my Princess and everyone here that feeling of love, joy and peace that we all so desperately need. xoxoxoxo

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    Sharon Hamilton - November 29, 2015

    Beautifully said, J.D. Ahhh, the images I get. And yes, I do see that little boy side of you, that peace and calm. Funny how we don't understand it at the time, but it is so fragile. I guess that's why our fond memories of childhood are that way because we haven't yet learned how easily they can be overshadowed by things from the adult world that are so scarry. It is a message of hope and love, as each Christmas we get older, but the memory builds. I have now more Christmases in the past than in the present, but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment and wonder of each new
    Christmas present. OXOXOX My Prince.

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    J.D. Hart - November 30, 2015

    Well said my Princess. It is so very fragile as you say. Maybe we should always approach life with the awe, innocents and enthusiam of a child. We have both now experienced more Christmases in our past than future but I believe our best Christmases are yet to come along with everything else we experience for the rest of our lives. Working with you has been like Christmas everyday for me. You are the kindest most talented and generous person that I know. You are that star that shines so brightly in the sky that I gaze at and wish upon. My greatest joy would be to see your every wish, your every dream come true. No one, at least that I know, deserves it more. xoxoxoxo Always, my beautiful Princess.

    Reply
    Sharon Hamilton - November 30, 2015

    It has been the same for me, J.D. No one deserves all the gifts of the season more than you. Your heart and capacity to see the good in people, to bring out the good in people, is just a miracle and a blessing I will enjoy every day for the rest of my life. Our working together has been, for me, one of the greatest gifts of my life. Thank you, my handsome prince!!

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Judy - November 30, 2015

Thanks for starting of my Christmas Season so beautifully.

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