Monday, December 10, 2007

Brrr! (Or not...)

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas this year?

I’m not. Because I live in a SFHZ (snow-free holiday zone), and I’m finally over the idea that a happy holiday must include sparkling snowdrifts and genuine snowmen. It must include family, friends, candy canes, plenty of lights, and at least one Christmas tree (of any size--I keep a foot-tall model in my office), but the fluffy, freezing white stuff is optional for me.

It wasn’t always this way. When I moved to Arizona (from Michigan) as a teenager, I hated my first snow-free holiday season. It just didn’t feel right to break out the Christmas decorations when we hadn’t even unpacked our winter coats yet. When my dad headed outside with a few strings of holiday lights, joking that he might get a sunburn in the 80 degree weather, I was not amused. And no matter how much the neighbors admired it, I did not think our plastic Santa-plus-reindeer set looked the same when perched in the middle of our desert-landscaped gravel patch of a “yard.”

But gradually, something happened to me. I began appreciating the ease of putting up decorations without trudging through ankle-deep snow. I learned to love that people could go all out with their décor when they didn’t have to worry about the effects of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures on their creations. I started thinking that palm trees look really cool wrapped in multicolored lights. I experienced luminarias and potted amaryllis and (yum) bizcochitos. I went hiking in the desert foothills on Christmas Eve...and I experienced my first-ever tumbleweed Christmas tree.

You might think I’m kidding. I’m not! Near where I live in Chandler (a suburb of Phoenix), the city erects a thirty-five foot tall Christmas tree made of around 2,000 tumbleweeds. It’s built on a wire frame, decorated with 1,200 holiday lights, and dusted with sixty-five pounds of glitter. It’s quite a spectacle! The tradition began in 1957 and is still going strong today, using tumbleweeds collected by the parks department. You’ve got to see it to believe it. We Southwesterners are resourceful types. Who else would be crazy enough to wrap lights around a prickly saguaro?

Anyway, this amazing tree was so unusual that I couldn’t resist sharing it! So the Chandler tumbleweed Christmas tree makes a special guest appearance in “Merry, Merry Mischief,” my contribution to the Santa Baby anthology (in stores now!). I hope you’ll pick up a copy. In the meantime, I’ll be heading to the mall in a T-shirt and shorts, stringing lights on the ocotillo in my yard, and sipping a peppermint mocha under a ceiling fan in the living room...where my Christmas tree will stand tall, oblivious to the lack of snowfall outside but totally crowded with ornaments (because I just can’t quit collecting them...I may be obsessed). Happy holidays to you!


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Bestselling author Lisa Plumley has written more than a dozen books for Zebra Books and Harlequin Historicals, including contemporary romances (Mad About Max), western historical romances (The Rascal), and stories in romance anthologies (Santa Baby, on sale now!). Her funny, warmhearted style has been likened to such reader favorites as Rachel Gibson, Jennifer Crusie, and LaVyrle Spencer, but her unique characterization is all her own. Her latest release, Let’s Misbehave, earned a 4½-star Top Pick! rating from Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine and was chosen as one of Booklist’s Top Ten Romances of 2007. Please visit Lisa at, be her friend on MySpace at, or drop by her blog at today.


Tam G. said...

I don't have to dream of a white Christmas, we already have had snow here and still have at least 8 inches. Beautiful tree!!!

Dev said...

I'm on the second chapter of Merry, Merry Mischief now ~ am enjoying it so far!

We have about 2 inches of snow on the ground now. It snows, then melts, then snows, etc., etc. ~ we don't seem to have the constant blanket of white stuff on the ground like we used it.

Lisa Plumley said...

Hi Tam! Wow, that's a lot of snow! I hope you're enjoying it. :)

Hi Dev! Thanks for reading Merry, Merry Mischief! I had a lot of fun writing it. I really love Christmas, so I was psyched to be part of the Santa Baby anthology.

Today in AZ we're having a lot of drizzly rain. I actually like it though -- it's a change of pace from the sunshine!

Wolfy said...

I too don't have to dream of a White Christmas, I just came in from clearing the sidewalks and steps from the fluffy stuff that fell during the night.

I loved the picture of the Christmas tree.

Estella said...

I would never dream of a white Christmas.
I hate snow.

Karen H said...

I moved south to get away from all that white stuff (MI) and it is piling up in some places right now. Today, I went to the grocery store wearing a t-shirt. It's 73 right now. I don't miss the white stuff. I get my annual fix when I go north (next week in fact) to have Christmas with my adult children. Call me Scrooge, but that's enough snow for me.

Maureen said...

I wouldn't mind being warm for Christmas. We don't have snow yet but it is chilly and on some days very cold.

Cherie J said...

I can sympathize since I live in Florida. When I first moved here from New York many years ago it took some adjusting. After over 15 years of snow free Christmases I have adjusted and Christmas ornaments on palm trees don't make me cringe anymore. :-)