Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Going Global in a Yuletide Post! Brenda Whiteside. Blog Event.

Welcome! Just a few weeks left until Christmas and my 'What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event is in full swing. Just joining us for the first time? Let me catch you up. Every two days now through Christmas Day an author or jewelry artist will be joining me and putting something under this blog’s Christmas tree for YOU to win. In addition, everyone who leaves a comment between now and December 25th will be entered to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

Today and tomorrow, it’s my pleasure to welcome over Brenda Whiteside. Brenda will graciously be giving away a copy of her tale, WARM CHRISTMAS WISHES. (It’s an anthology in which Brenda has two stories) Your choice between a digital or print copy!

Let’s hand the blog over to Brenda…

I wish Christmas was every day. The end of the year holidays are absolutely, without a doubt, all the way round my favorite time of year. Starting with Thanksgiving and through the New Year, there is static in the year – static that draws us together, sticks us to each other with an electric joy that is brighter than the strings of lights we drape around the tree.

My Christmas memories are rich and plenty. The year my sister finally sat on Santa’s lap was a good one. Little Debbie was always too shy and would never follow big sister Brenda on the path to the jolly old elf. Grown up Debra finally got the nerve to slide onto the fat man’s lap – she was forty years old.

I’ve lived in many places from California to Germany. How Christmas is celebrated, how it looks in different parts of the world makes for good memories.

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. December is a great time of year in Phoenix – the sweltering heat replaced by mild temps and sunny skies. Tossing the football around, playing baseball or riding the new bike on Christmas Day seemed perfectly natural to us desert rats. How totally incongruous it was for us to sing songs about dreaming of a white Christmas, but we did.

After I was married, we spent three Christmas holidays in Germany. Those have to be some of my fondest memories. The Germans have some marvelous traditions. The Christmas tree has its origins there. We would stroll along the streets of Nuremburg with lights and decorations galore. And on every other corner would be bratwurst stands selling not only the juicy brats in buns but also hot, spiced red wine. The traditions vary a bit in different parts of Germany. Christkindl brings gifts to children, but there is also a St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th. An old tradition, still practiced in the Nuremburg area was for children to leave their shoes outside and St. Nicholas would fill them with fruit, nuts and candy if they had been good. I can still smell and taste Christmas in Germany.

Christmas on the beaches of California was about as different from Germany as you could get. Red Hawaiian shirts, glitzy decorations and the warm Santa Ana winds lent a wholly different kind of season in Santa Barbara. That year, my husband was a student, my son was not quite two and we were as poor as the Cratchits. But we were also rich with love. My son was just as happy with a new coloring book and a package of plastic army men as he would have been with a new electronic toy.

And talk about glitzy – how about Christmas in Las Vegas? Glitzy and the desert, yes, but add to that snow. We actually had a white Christmas that year!

The last couple of decades have been spent in Minnesota. After the white Christmases of Germany, I was ecstatic to be back to a winter wonderland. Minnesotans know a thing or two about the season. Minneapolis has a holiday parade in the evenings on Nicolett Mall. The Mall by itself is glittery for the season and the parade makes it magical. St. Paul’s Winter Carnival doesn’t start until after the New Year but helps drag out the holidays that much longer. There is an ice carving competition worth braving the cold to see. My husband and I belong to a club that has a holiday party that takes over a hotel, everyone dresses in island garb and we forget for one night about the subzero temps outside. The highlight is Santa Mon’s visit.

We’re one of those crazy couples who give their dog a couple of presents. Rusty loves Christmas as much as I do, but he’s more into getting than giving. He sniffs out his new stuffed toys and opens the packages. He smiles. Really!

We’ve also spent Christmas in a hotel room in San Francisco with a two-foot high plastic tree and on the road between Miami and Phoenix, but wherever we’ve been one thing is the same – that magical feeling the season brings. And that’s all I need under my Christmas tree.

One of my most favorite things about Christmas is the giving. So I’d like to give away a book of Christmas stories – Warm Christmas Wishes – in either print or e-book, your choice. Please leave a comment and we’ll draw for the winner.

However you celebrate this time of year, I hope you get a little something special under your Christmas tree.

Sky here. What wonderful holiday memories, Brenda. Thank you so much for sharing!

A bit more about Warm Christmas Wishes...

Lovely, rich Marie Louise Le Mare apparently has everything in life. So what can the handsome man in the red suit possibly give her? When they’re trapped in an elevator with only each other for company, a surprise gift exchange makes this Christmas special.

Purchase Warm Christmas Wishes HERE.

Visit Brenda’s Website and Facebook

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win! Contest ends Sunday, December 11th. 12 AM, EST.


Sky Purington said...

Super post, Brenda! I'd LOVE to spend a Christmas in Germany. That must've been truly amazing!

Fedora said...

Wow, Brenda! Thanks for sharing some of your special Christmas celebrations! We've mostly been home for ours, and it's fun no matter where you celebrate! And I love Christmas stories, no matter where they're set :) Warm Christmas Wishes sounds like just the thing!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Katie O'Sullivan said...

Wow, Brenda, you've certainly had all kinds of Christmases! So many different experiences and climates!

Hope this Christmas is a good one for you too, and congrats on being in such a great sounding anthology!

Happy Holiday season to you both, Brenda and Sky!

Mary Preston said...

I love learning about all the different Christmas traditions from around the world. One thing they all have in common is family of course.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Good morning all. Thanks, Sky. And thanks for stopping by fl, Katie and Marybelle. Christmas is such a widely celebrated holiday with so many variations. But you're right, family is usually at the center. This year we're trekking to AZ for Christmas but also landing there for good. We're combining the drive with the move. Another adventure.

Regina Marie said...

Hi Brenda,
Nice Christmas recollections!! Grew up in New England and appreciate the similarities, but don't miss the snow!! Tucson MUCH better. Would love a chance to win your book......Nancy Dow

Brenda Whiteside said...

Nancy, thanks for coming by. As much as I love snow, I'm not going to miss driving in it, shoveling and all those other activities associated with it when we head to AZ. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm there with you, Brenda. Christmas in Florida, while sometimes cold (or, OK cool, by the standards of my friends up north ;)) rarely has snow. So I don't dream of a white Christmas either! Have a merry one, whatever weather you have.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi JD. I was actually living in Florida one December many years ago. But we drove to AZ for Christmas. Ha - not much different. Ran into an awful rain storm on the drive. Thanks for coming by.

Jannine Gallant said...

Lovely memories, Brenda. I live in Tahoe, and we're NOT having a white Christmas. At least not yet. Go figure. But, you're right; it's family and warm christmas feelings that really matter.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Definitely, Jannine - wow, no snow in Tahoe. We'll be traveling so I'm kind of hoping for little if any snow anywhere!

Jacee James said...

Amazing stories and memories! I am a Texas native and have to admit, I miss Santa being pulled by seven armadillos at Christmas...our state joke during the holidays. But, as much as a curse the heat in July, I love the weather in AZ at this time of year.

Good luck with your move. And the mom in me cannot help but add...Drive Safely!


Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Brenda -
this was a fascinating post for me. Living in chilly Britain, it's hard to imagine how much Christmas weather can vary from state to state. We've had a forecast of a white Christmas this year, but the weather is so changeable that it could easily turn out to be rain. I hope not. I love snow - as long as it doesn't stop us getting home to my beloved Wales for a few days for our annual Christmas visit to my family and friends.

I love the cover of 'Tatoos, Leather and Studs' by the way - I woudn't mind finding Jimmy Thomas beneath my Christmas tree! (Only kidding if my husband reads this, LOL!)

Katherine said...

I loved your post and learning about all different ways and places you've celebrated Christmas. I admit I'm a bit jealous. I've only celebrated the holiday in upstate NY.


The Scarf Princess said...

That was a great post and I'm totally jealous of all the wonderful Christmases you've had throughout the world. It's intriguing hearing about how different areas celebrate and it proves that it's WHO you celebrate with as opposed to where that makes the holiday special.

And your dog's reaction is cute. One year I accidentally used tape that was in a drawer next to dog treats and it made all the presents smell like bacon. Our dog went nuts and ripped open everything.

Thanks too for the giveaway!

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

AJW said...

What wonderful memories Brenda! I love this time of year. Thanks so much for sharing!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Jaycee - love the vision of armadillos pulling Santa!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hywela - I would love to see Wales any time of year. And I won't tell the hubby. Jimmy is hot.

Katherine - but I imagine upstate NY is beautiful at Christmas.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Joder - that is hilarious about the dog and the presents. I had a friend that had to put all the presents up high every year. Dog loved tearing them all open.

AmyJo - thanks for coming by.

Jenny Twist said...

Really interesting and entertaining article, Brenda. Your dog is beautiful

Brenda Whiteside said...

Good morning, Jenny. Thanks. Rusty is my baby!

Beth Caudill said...

Now more than ever, I'd love to go to Germany. I can't imagine having Christmas in so many different locations.

I've been a steady homebody doing the same Christmas activities with relatives year after year.

Happy Holidays.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi Beth. I have to say, Christmas in Germany was 'storybook' worthy. If you ever get the opportunity, do go.

Nay Nay said...

Thank you for telling us about some of you Christmas celebrations. It is interesting to find out about the different Christmas traditions from spots around the world.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from me and mine. :}

and thank you for the chance to win.

reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

DL Thomas said...

Thank you for sharing some of your special holiday times.

I love Holiday stories.

Happy Holidays!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Renee (Naynay) thank you for coming by and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good luck!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi Deb. Glad you stopped by and glad you enjoyed. Happy holidays.

hotcha12 said...




Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Sky, thanks for having me these last two days. Keep the fun going!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow, how wonderful to have been able to experiance Christmas in so many different places!

My mother's family is from England and I have always wanted to spend a christmas there! Never have. Its on my bucket list!

The anthology sounds wonderful!

Merry Chritmas to you!!