Happy Ever After Holidays…

Are the holidays a happy ever after time for you, or is there something making it difficult to feel what everyone around you seems to? In between Thanksgiving and Christmas is some of my favorite time of the year. But there’s frequently a feeling that something’s a bit off, when I look closely at these special moments that mean so much. There’s the past. And there have been moments I haven’t felt as blessed as I do today. There are challenging memories to deal with over the holidays that make my Christmas ever after not quite as automatically happy.

happy holidays

Yes, my family had a great Thanksgiving this year. We’re thankful, if a bit too overfed. We’re back to work and maybe not minding it as much as before. We’ve shared special time with loved ones and friends. We’re optimistic about December being just as lovely or better. But…

Is there sometimes a but in your celebration sometimes over the holiday? If there is, you’re not alone. While commercials and songs and endless parties and celebrations remind us of everything we should cherish, there are some of us feeling a loss of something others take for granted. There are some of us still remembering a not-so-enchanted time that happened recently or maybe long ago. But…

Even if this isn’t the picture that always comes to mind when we think of a happy family holiday–

happy holidays family snowman

–we can learn to relax into the now going on around us, acutally SEE what’s in our lives now, even while we remember harder times, and hopefully rebuild our ability to have new happy ever after holidays going forward.

What real family and real holiday blessings and real happiness amidst a happy, Happy, HAPPY season means to some of us are running themes in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. I didn’t set out to make people cry on their road to reading my happily ever after ending. I really was going for poignant and sweet and glittery, because that’s what so many people want to read this time of year.

But what happened, as it always happens in my books, was something closer to reality. Not just my reality, but what the holiday can be like for so many of us, when we’re supposed to be so happy, as happy as all our friends, but somethings trying to hold us back. The challenge for my heroine, then, became how to fight back against that hold on her emotions and how to break through into a new life free from ties to a difficult past that’s kept her from moving on.

And I wondered as I wrote the book if readers would respond to the darker, deeper emotional story I was telling amidst the fun an cheerful and happy backdrop of a small town Christmas. Was it just me, wanting to see characters overcome what felt like real-world obstacles to reach the beautiful Christmas morning ending I’d written before I began the first chapter of the novel? Was I sunk, for having a hero and a heroine AND a little girl all struggling to even feel Christmas this year? Would I make anyone happy this year, with a story that means so much to me, but might not connect with what others are feeling?

 holiday blessins tag

Reader reviews on Amazon have been overwhelmingly positive. It’s gratifying to see this story touch so many hearts, helping folks feel such a powerful emotional ride–only to end in a stronger, more positive, hopeful, thankful place because of the difficult journey they’ve shared with me.

Are there memories making navigating the holidays  a challenge for you, while others seem to find the happy in this time of year so effortlessly? Have you conquered your own holiday blues in the past, so that this year is a sparkling reminder of all the good things you still have, instead of what’s lost? I’m dying to know–share your story in the comments.

NOTE: This topic is the first question in the reader’s guide included at the back of Christmas on Mimosa Lane. As promised to the many readers who’ve emailed to ask if I’d be talking about those questions, I’ll be tackling each reader guide topic here each Monday through the end of the year. So join us while we sit back and talk all kinds of happy (and sometimes emotional) holiday things. Come home with us, to Christmas on Mimosa Lane ;o)

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2 Responses to “Happy Ever After Holidays…”

  1. Skye says:

    I’m one who loved COML even though it made me cry. I’m looking forward to the Monday discussions!

  2. The happiest Christmas was in 1949 – a year when financially our family was at its most difficult time because our dad had had a heart attack earler that fall and was recovered, but still only working part time. Nevertheless, it became a magical time – we had a huge snowfall in our small town west of Boston, mom had put up the tree with lights and all our favorite decorations, with the little cardboard Town of Bethlehem on the upright piano, and with lots of warnings that Santa may not be able to bring us the things we really wanted under the tree. There was a mixed air of fact of Christmas with the fear that there would be very little that year. So, on Christmas morning, when my brother woke my sister and I at 5:00 in the morning, we crept into the living room a little fearfully, to be filled with amazement at the sight that befell our eyes. Under the tree were three piles of gifts; one for Buddy, one for Joannie, and one for me. We could see immediately that it was a ‘homemade’Christmas with a bassinette hand made by my father, a doll made by my mother, made from flesh colored oilcloth, with two sets of clothes and a pajama and blanket, and a large coloring book and box of 64 Crayola crayons. There was a stocking for each of us filled with candies, nuts, an orange and a banana! To other children it most likely would have been considered a poor child’s Christmas, but to me it was totally amazing! I had so wanted a bassinette and a doll that I had seen – one in which I could bath my ‘baby’ and then pull the cover up so I could dress her, and my dear father had actually made one for me. It was a little rough, but it was the most beautiful bassinete in the whole world, and while my dolly was obviously made by a novice, she was the most beautiful baby to me. This image has stayed with me for all the rest of my 74 years, and when I think of Christmas, this is the image that fills my heart first. I’ve had other happy Christmases over the years, for sure, but none have made such an endearing vision in my head – and heart.

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