Friday, November 16, 2018

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Back in 2010, my sister came home from Australia for Christmas. You can't see it, but she's pregnant with her first, who is now a boy of 7. (She's on the left, then me, my daughter on my right and my middle sister on the far right.)

In June of 2016, they were here again. Here's my daughter holding my niece, three at the time, now five.

Yes, we decided on a barbecue and thus it rained cats and dogs and hens and swine that day. The poor wee Aussie cousins got to experience a Canadian 'summer.' But we had a ball and my sister said she would bring the kids back for Christmas in 2018, so they could experience a white Christmas. (I tell ya, if we only get rain this year, I'll be shaking my fist at the skies.)

So for two solid years, we have been planning this nice, big family Christmas. Middle sister is coming from Winnipeg (three provinces over.) My kids, who are now grown and living elsewhere are coming. It was shaping up to be so great.

And then... May. Floods.

My parents, who had a full suite in their basement, wound up with twelve feet of water in there instead. Their alternate, reliable accommodation, their fifth-wheel trailer, was also submerged.

Here they are looking in the direction of their house, which is behind the ones you can see. Shocking, right?

But they were safe and are actually back in their house now, but they were with us for two months while the water receded and the basement was gutted and treated. They're extremely lucky that their top floor was untouched and that's where most of their living space was.

So they're back in their home and things are fairly normal, except all that extra accommodation for family is gone. The walls in the basement are still bare studs, the floors bare concrete. No problem, right? Insurance will restore it? Here's the plot twist...

The local government wants to appropriate their house and set reinforced dykes pretty much where their house sits. But they have to wait for higher levels of government to approve it. So my parents are in limbo. They don't want to sink a pile of money into refinishing the basement only to be told they have to move.

My sister said maybe she shouldn't come home with things in such disarray. All of Mom's Christmas went into the dumpster with so many other family heirlooms.

In the end, however, we decided that Christmas arrives even in times when things aren't ideal. It's kind of the point of it.

So we're going to pull together as a family and make decorations with the kids and they're going to sleep in rooms with blankets hung for walls and if I have my way, we'll even trek into the bush to drag a live tree into the house. A pioneer Christmas, if you will.

What else should we do? These kids are used to having a barbecue at Christmas. They've never seen snow. What makes Christmas for you and your family?

~ * ~

Dani's latest release is Wedding at Mistletoe Chalet, a sweet, wholesome reunion romance and it's available on all digital platforms now.

Eager for a warm and cozy Christmas… 

In the midst of a changing career, Kristen Benz leaps on the temporary job at Mistletoe Chalet. Soon she’s wrapping presents, trimming the tree, and helping her new boss’s tween daughter plan a Christmas Eve vow renewal for her parents. The holiday is imbued with a magical glow—especially when Kristen’s high school sweetheart appears on the doorstep.

After years of medical school, Finn Garrett has promised his parents he’ll be home for the holidays. His detour to see his first love is supposed to provide closure, not rekindle their long-ago romance.

Can a matchmaking tween and the magic of Mistletoe Chalet spark the happily ever after that eluded them in the past?

Wedding at Mistletoe Chalet is out now. Buy links are here.

Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins thrives on giving readers emotional, compelling, heart-soaring romance with some laughter and heat thrown in, just like real life.

Mostly she writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Presents and Tule’s Montana Born, but her backlist of nearly fifty books also includes self-published erotic romance, romantic comedy, and even an epic medieval fantasy.

When she’s not writing—just kidding, she’s always writing. She lives in Christina Lake, BC with her high school sweetheart husband who occasionally coaxes her out of her attic office to visit their grown children.


Laney4 said...

AFTER our kids grew up, one of our traditions has been going tobogganing (although that is New Year's Eve for us). Kind of crazy since our kids are now 31 and 33, and my husband and I are 59 and 69, but our old bodies do it! We started with GT racers, but with all my bundles of clothes (and extra pounds before that), I found it difficult to squat down (with a 36" inseam), let alone get back up. The group really enjoyed the racers, but I swore that the following year I would have an old-fashioned 2-3 person wooden toboggan instead, and I did (complete with cushioning)! We had a hoot going down that toboggan! I'm in Ontario, and it's been a few years since we've had snow on New Year's Eve (a bunch of us go to our neighbour's house for supper, head to the slopes for a couple of hours, return to the house to warm up with hot chocolate/cocoa, watch Air Farce that we've recorded while out, play some card/board games, watch the ball drop, and go home. You could adapt any or all of those things for Christmastime, of course.

OUR Christmas, when not visiting family in AB, is spent with our ON family. Our traditions will be changing next year, as our daughter is expecting our first grandchild in January. Typically, though, we attend Church Christmas Eve, go to a party at a house around the corner maybe a total of 20 houses away for a late supper, walk back down to the New Year's Eve couple's home 4 houses from us for drinks, and get home around 10-11 pm. Some years I am still wrapping gifts that night.

On Christmas Day, we usually open gifts in the morning, complete with phone calls from family wishing good cheer (and bragging about that one special gift or something like that), go visit one of my husband's brothers in the afternoon for 1.5 hours, go visit another of his brothers for 1.5 hours, and then return home to a cooked turkey, to be shared with our 2 kids and son-in-law. Now that my daughter is grown, she is taking over more of the work. This year they are in a newer and much bigger home, so I'm guessing SHE will want to host Christmas supper (and I say YAY!). It is time for me to pass the torch, as I have hosted most events at my home in the last 37 years, and her home is much bigger than mine, so it makes sense. She is also more than capable.

I wish you and your family the very best, no matter what you decide on doing. Sometimes it just feels right to do nothing, and that's okay too. More than okay.

The first year we had our home (before kids), my sister (15 years my elder) and her family came from AB and announced they were sleeping overnight at our home. They brought sleeping bags and slept in empty rooms. We placed a sliding closet door on Sealtest crates against the rec room wall, used fold-up and kitchen chairs, and ate our supper there. It really doesn't matter what you do or how you do it; just being WITH your family is all that matters.

Merry Christmas.

dstoutholcomb said...

family and love makes Christmas, and if you're someone of faith like me, Jesus. Time together. Cherish those memories. As you've learned, mementos can be gone in a flood--my husband's grandmother and aunt lost everything in a similar flood in Louisiana two years ago--or fire or any weather related catastrophe.

Make new memories, create a new tradition, and enjoy the time together.