It’s funny how when you’re a kid, you think you’ll always have the same holiday traditions. We had a few unusual ones in my family when I was growing up. Every Christmas Eve, my father would bundle up in his parka, shovel off the back deck if necessary, and barbecue steaks. Now this was long before gas grills. It was all charcoal and lighter fluid. This was the 1970s, so barbecuing in winter was very rare. We’d eat early because all my parents’ friends would come to our house later that night. It was always a lot of fun.
Then there were the parties my parents threw every holiday season. My mom would be cooking and baking for days. The dining room table would be weighed down with food. There would be turkey, a roast of beef, baked ham, potato salad, fruit salad, Jell-O salads (it was the 70s), fresh rolls and butter. Guests would serve themselves and find a place to eat in the living room or family room. Looking back, it’s a wonder so many people fit into such a small space, but there always seemed to be room. There was always a Christmas fruitcake and cookies, mini chips and flings (not sure they still make those), open boxes of chocolates. My mom is an amazing baker and whipped up all kinds of yummy holiday cookies and treats. My father would tend bar, mixing all kinds of drinks. He’d also make up a huge bowl of punch that was always festive.
The Christmas tree always sat in front of our living room window. It was always my job to test the Christmas lights. In those days it was all chunky colored light bulbs and metallic reflectors in various shapes and colors. The tree was artificial, and in retrospect, it wasn’t all that big. But it always seemed so large and magical when it was lit and the presents were piled under it, just waiting to be opened.
Those days are long gone. My father passed away in 1982 when I was only eighteen, so I cherish those memories. But my mom is still here. She just turned eighty and is still going strong. She continues to bake fruitcake for family and friends every year, and we all love it.
New traditions have come and gone during different stages of my life. I think I cherish them more now because I’m very aware that times come and go. Situations change, as do relationships. But through it all, some things remain. I’ll spend time with my sister and her partner and my mother and stepfather, and on Christmas Eve you’ll find me at my brother and sister-in-law’s home. He’s the one who now fires up the grill to barbecue steaks and other goodies for us to eat.
Yes, traditions come and go, but the important thing is spending time with those you care about, whether that’s family or friends.
Have a wonderful holiday season, and I hope 2019 is the best year of your life.
Blood of the Drakon, Book 6
Dying isn’t an option. I’ve survived a kidnapping, and now I’m on the run from the Knights of the Dragon who want my gift. There’s nothing a dragon loves more than treasure. I’m Abigail Owens, and I can sense gemstones. When I find myself drawn to a beautiful stone bracelet at a tiny shop in Moscow, I can’t help but have it — even though I can sense it’s power. But I didn’t realize with this one decision I’ve just put myself in the middle of a war between the Knights and a Drakon.
I guess I’m just lucky like that.
The only person I trust even a little is Vasili Zima, which is weird since I’m not sure if he wants to kill me or protect me. I’m drawn to him in a way I hadn’t thought possible, and he feels the same way, or he wouldn’t be risking his life to help me. He’s wanted by the bad guys just as much as I am, and staying with me, well, there’s a hundred percent chance I’m about to get us both killed. But I will not be going down without a fight.
About the Author
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
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