Friday, September 16, 2011

Christmas in July

I recently had a Christmas in July experience while I went through the edits for my upcoming sweet Christmas romance novel, Reinventing Christmas. The story is set primarily in Pennsylvania and writing about Christmas in Pittsburgh made me just a little homesick for snow. Yes, there it is—I miss snow. More exactly, I miss Pennsylvania Christmases. I’ve lived in what is referred to as the ‘mid-south’—Memphis, Tennessee and the NW Mississippi surroundings—for nearly eleven years now. We may or may not have snow at Christmas and, if so, rarely more than an inch or two that doesn’t last for more than a couple of days.

As I wrote scenes for Reinventing Christmas, I drew on my reserves of memory from my own childhood Christmases. I remember snow that fell in several inches if not feet. Kids pulling sleds as they disappeared behind the mounds of white piled along sidewalks, heading for the nearest hill for sledding. Rough-hewn snow people bearing various sized handprints and dressed in borrowed hats and scarves, lumps of coal for eyes and sticks serving as arms. Smaller bits of stone created wobbly smiles. An electric Santa waving cheerily from the rooftop.

Our own house would be lit, inside and out, with strings of colored lights and the golden glow of electric candles on each and every windowsill. A pine (real pine, not plastic) wreath hung on the front door, and the aromas of home-baked apple pie and my grandmother’s orange and spice cookies hung in the air.
With the exception of this past week, the heat has been unrelenting in my area, and worse for some of you in Texas and the southwest. Needless to say, writing about a Pennsylvania Christmas had a cooling effect, even if it did stir up bittersweet memories of childhood. In Reinventing Christmas, M.J. Rich returns home to Pittsburgh for Christmas, expecting the warm and fuzzy experience she has always known, she is shocked to find family traditions that have been slightly twisted or foregone completely. She discovers you can go home again as long as you don’t expect things to remain as you had left them.
I’m determined to reinvent Christmas for myself this year—dig back into my box of memories and make my Mississippi apartment a little more like home and Christmas past.

Linda Rettstatt
2010 Author of the Year - Champagne Books
My Books


Rhobin said...

Those who grow up with snowy Christmases always miss them. Mostly until we have to live through one more Christmas Eve snowstorm. However, the snow is very romantic (if you don't have to travel) isn't it?

Linda Rettstatt said...

Well, it's certainly works out that way for M.J. and Brady in Reinventing Christmas (wink).

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Very nostalgic. Philadelphia, here.