Author Lisa Plumley is ringing in the holiday season this year with not one but two very different new romance novels! The first is the Christmas-themed contemporary, A Holiday Affair, and the second is a trip back to the American Frontier in Mail-Order Groom. But this Christmas-loving author took some time out of her busy schedule to share a very meaningful holiday memory with us.
Some families take down their Christmas tree on Boxing Day, immediately after Christmas. Others haul their tinsel-sprinkled, crunchy-needled evergreen to the curb for recycling a week or so later. Either way, by New Year’s Day, most families have moved on.
The first time I experienced this phenomenon, I was three or four years old. My family had decorated our Christmas tree in mid-December, and I was absolutely thrilled with it! I was also naively convinced that the sparkly new addition to our living room was there to stay. Forever. (I think you can see where this is going.) Enchanted by the ornaments and twinkling lights, I loved to sit beside the Christmas tree and bask in its cheerful glow.
So it came as something of a shock, shortly after Christmas Day, to see my parents dismantling my new green best friend and abandoning it in a snow bank. Outside! Where the snow plows were! And mean dogs! There were questions. Accusations. And possibly temper tantrums. But mostly (at least according to family legend) there were tears: the big, fat, heartbroken, how-could-you-do-this-to-me? tears of a disillusioned preschooler who only wanted Christmas to last forever.
These days, I’m over that initial Christmas shock. (Mostly.) But the memory of that incident wanders into my mind every December as my family decorates for the holidays. Sagely, I recall the Christmas Tree Massacre of 1969/70, and then I remind my own children: Remember, the Christmas tree is going to have to come down in a few weeks. Okay? They only nod and smile and maybe give me a hug. They’re in college now, and they’ve never experienced anything less than an awesome Christmas. Pretty much, they’re wonderful kids. Maybe that’s why they’re happy to put up with Mom’s eccentricities in the Christmas tree department.
By now, my annual Christmas tree warning has become a funny family tradition. But at its heart is a real concern: I don’t want anyone to be disappointed...least of all my children. So I could really relate to Karina Barrett, who, in my new book, Holiday Affair, is facing her first Christmas after her divorce and wants nothing more than to give her three children an extra-special holiday.
To that end, Karina accepts an all-expenses-paid vacation to snowy Kismet, Michigan, site of The Christmas House—a B&B that specializes in all-inclusive holiday packages, complete with tinsel, evergreens, eggnog, sleigh rides, and a few surprises. There’s a catch (of course!), but Karina doesn’t mind—especially not when she meets hunky stand-in innkeeper Reid Sullivan and his two daughters. As a globe-trotting adventurer, Reid is a little out of his depth when it comes to Christmastime traditions, but he’s promised to do his best at running the family B&B this year—and that includes making sure his guests (including Karina!) have the best holiday of their lives. Naturally, nothing goes smoothly for anyone, but good cheer abounds—and isn’t that what the holiday season is about, after all?
So tell me: What’s your earliest, favorite, and/or most unforgettable memory of Christmas? I’d love to know!
- Lisa Plumley