Joining me today is Allie Pleiter. She is the author of the Love Inspired Kentucky Corners Series, which I like to think of as the Bluegrass Series (Bluegrass Hero, Bluegrass Courtship, Bluegrass Blessings, Bluegrass Christmas) in addition to many other books. She has agreed to be a guest blogger today and share with us some of her favorite Christmas memories. Here is Allie...
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. She grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University, spent fifteen years in the field of professional fundraising, and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing nine years ago has given rise to a career spanning two parenting books, eight novels including the multi-nominated MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com
#4 In the KENTUCKY CORNERS Series
ISBN 13# 978-0-373-87556-6
An Old Fashioned Christmas...
That’s what led new believer Mary Thorpe to start over in quaint Middleburg, Kentucky. As director of the church’s Christmas pageant, Mary’s job is to bring the townspeople together, to remind them what the season is really about. But everyone is all riled up over one very handsome man: the man daring to run against Middleburg’s popular long-standing mayor. Mac MacCarthy wants change. Mary wants things to stay as they are. Is there a happy medium? Both Mac and Mary are in for one very big Christmas surprise.
Christmas memories linger with such strength. We remember the gift gone horribly wrong as vividly as that wondrous “just what I wanted” present. Most of our most precious Christmas memories center around gifts or experiences we had as children or with children, and I think that’s because they retain the wonder we all wish we still possessed.
My very favorite gift wasn’t the “must have” gift that shapes Bluegrass Christmas’ story. I think most of us realize those fad gifts fade as quickly as they come. As I examined my Christmas memories, I was delighted to discover my two favorite gifts--both ones I received as a child--were handmade. It helped me remember that I won’t find my ideal holiday at Best Buy--it resides someplace without a gift-card, a layaway plan, or a last-minute 50% off clearance.
When I was in the midst of my Barbie phase, my father evidently stole my Barbie every night after I’d gone asleep and custom fit me a dollhouse. And not just any dollhouse, Dad made me one completely of styrofoam, so that I could cart it all over. What a treasure! We have film of me showing it off to the family camera with all the flourish of a showroom model--precious memories! In my later teen years, I had an obsession with bean-bag frogs (how much more 70’s can you get???). For some wild reason I wanted one with red eyes, and my mother made one for me. I called him Moog, and he was my constant companion through most of my teen years.
I don’t have the dollhouse or Moog; they are lost to history. But now, over thirty years later, I have vivid memories that bring a smile to my face. And that is the real point of gift-giving, isn’t it? Old and tired as the cliche is, it really is the thought that matters.
If only we’d actually learn that lesson, hmm?
Thanks, Allie! Like you I have wonderful memories of my Christmases growing up. I didn't know it at the time, but we didn't always have a lot of money. There is one Christmas that really sticks out in my mind, I think I was about 8 or 9 at the time and we had THE BEST Christmas! I remember specifically that we got a child's size record player (it was blue!) and it played our read along book/records. We used that thing all the time! There were a lot of presents that year and it was great. What I didn't know until just a couple years ago (20 odd years after the fact) is that we weren't even supposed to have a Christmas that year. My parents had no money for presents. Period. So my dad's sisters (my Aunt Becky and Aunt Mary) and their husbands stepped in and bought presents for all 4 of us kids so that we would have a Christmas. And as my mom told me recently, "It was much more than we ever would have gotten you anyway!" I think one of the reasons that sticks out in my mind so much now is not necessarily the presents that they purchased, but the fact that in anonymity my aunts and uncles stepped in and made sure that it would be a Christmas to remember. Isn't that what the spirit of Christmas is really about?
For a chance to win a copy of Allie's book, leave a comment telling me what your favorite Christmas present has been and when my post comes up with my review of this book, I will announce the winner! But leave your comment here with your email address... good luck!