Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Author Holiday Extravaganza: Jen DeLucy's Holiday Memory

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As the holiday season gets closer and closer to being over, it is important for us all to remember what it is about this time of the year that makes us so warm and fuzzy inside. Today I'm so honored to have Jen DeLucy stop by and share with us her holiday memory!

I'm a fangirl for her in the best sense, and love reading her guest posts. This one made me tear up. Enjoy!

I guess I should start by explaining that I was raised by my grandparents, and my dearest memories of Christmas exist in very early childhood, when my grandfather was alive. Grandpa Gene died when I was only ten years old, but he was am incredible beacon of light in a lot of darkness, in spite of his short time with me.

My grandfather was a joyful man who drew happiness from many things: his kids, his Red Socks and Fighting Irish and a good cup of tea. He loved crossword puzzles, paint-by-numbers and trips to the country. But, if there was anything Grandpa loved the most, it was Christmas, and when the holidays rolled around, the house buzzed with it.

We always had two trees when I was very young. One was a fifties-era fluffy, pastel colored tree that we'd cover with cookies, and the other was a terrible imitation fur tree. You've seen the kind--completely fake looking with branches that could take out your eye if you stand too close.

My grandfather adored that tree.

It was from another era, that was for sure, extending back to the time when my aunts and uncles were kids. So did the ornaments and large, painted glass lights, come to think of it. You know, I can remember aching for a real tree like everyone else, or at least an artificial tree that looked halfway new, but the old, dusty branches of our fake one didn't seem to bother Grandpa.

There he'd be, with a heavy string of lights glowing and spread out, clanking on the wooden floor as he untangled them happily, and he'd listen to the greats, the oldies, the songs that would become the quintessential sounds of Christmas for the rest of my life. Nat King Cole and the Christmas Song, Bing Crosby and White Christmas, The Chipmunks, The Carpenters... they all played on crackling records while I savored the scenery, unwittingly memorizing the specific scent of plastic branches and warm bulbs.

Grandpa must have taken the words of Nat King Cole's song very seriously, because, in the absence of a fireplace, he'd ask my grandmother to roast chestnuts in the oven for him. I remember trying them and thinking that I didn't like them. I'll bet I would now...

I'm not sure that Grandpa knew what he was instilling in me with all that shameless warmth and love and, more importantly, joy, but I imagine he learned all about it in the hereafter. Because of him, I was able to get through the more painful, trying years after his death. His dedication to happiness and traditions, the importance of clinging to your joy and celebrating life no matter the season, was, thankfully, not lost on me.

So, as you enjoy your specific holiday this season, know that your enthusiasm means more to the people around you than you could imagine. Your joy is teaching others to feel the same, and it will stick with them, I promise you that, long after you're gone. True happiness is a gift and a right, and it's much easier to grasp if displayed early. So bake some cookies tonight--and save a few for me!

Blessings and immense joy!

Thank you SO much Jen for sharing!

Did you all need to go get a tissue? I did.

And now....A GIVEAWAY!

Jen has been so sweet as to donate both a copy of Seers of Light and of her new installment Whispers of Light in ebook format to one winner! Yes my friends, the winner will get BOTH ebooks! Lucky you!

To enter, leave a comment below with your email address! 
Open INTERNATIONALLY since they are ebooks :). Merry Christmas ya'll!

Giveaway ends January 4th at 11:00 pm PST.


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