KAREN: Linda Swift is a multi-published author with Kensington Publishers and Published with Rebecca J. Vickery, to name a few. She has over one hundred short stories, poems, and articles in print, and a play produced on WPSD-TV, an NBC affiliate. She's here today to chat about the true meaning of Christmas and she's offering a recipe for Pecan Pie. ...And that's not all.
***CONTEST: She's also offering THREE digital copies of HER holiday book THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Read on to find out how you may be a winner! CONTEST ENDS DEC. 3RD AT MIDNIGHT PST.
MY BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT
by Linda Swift
As my children grew older, the Christmas season gradually became a marathon I began running right after Halloween. There were school and church functions, family gatherings, a house to decorate, festive food to prepare and shopping for gifts. No longer believing in Santa, the "want list" included specific brand names, colors, and whatever the current fads were. (these sometimes changed after the requested items were bought.)
Gift buying had become so complicated that I was designated to shop for my children's gifts from my parents and grandmother as well and my husband and self. One Christmas Eve, my daughter and I stood empty-handed outside the last department store on the block. She had asked for clothes this year and after searching all afternoon, still hadn't found what she wanted.
"You have to buy something," I said desperately. "We have to spend Grandmother's gift money."
"I didn't see anything I want." She looked near tears. "I can buy something later."
"No, you can't," I raised my voice. "We have to put a gift from grandmother under the tree."
"Well, I'm not buying anything I don't want," she shot back. "That is not what Christmas is all about. This is Christ's birthday, not mine. "
We stood a moment in the cold wind, glaring at each other, and I suddenly realized the truth of what my daughter had said. I put an arm around her. "Okay, let's go home."
I don't remember how we explained to my mother the lack of a wrapped gift under the tree. But I do remember that on the way home we discussed how we would handle Christmases from this time forward. There would be no more marathon shopping sprees or pressure to spend money just to satisfy the gift-giving syndrome the merchants would have us think exemplifies the spirit of Christmas.
br /> We decided to introduce our plan now for the following year and give the grandparents time to get used to the idea. Feeling no gifts would be unacceptable, we suggested a token gift exchange, with each family member buying for the others. Since little money would be involved, a bad choice would not be disastrous. And each person would have a special celebration on his or her own birthday with larger gifts if they chose.
Even with prior notice, it was not an easy transition for them. As the next holiday season approached, they began talking of the usual large gifts. My daughter and I gently reminded them of the new rules and encouraged them to go shopping early. And me? I wandered through the stores, watching those harried mothers rushing about, arms loaded with packages. And I wanted to stop them and remind them that this was not what Christmas was all about. It had taken a stubborn teen-aged daughter to teach me the lesson and in so doing, she gave me the best present I ever had. And to this day, each Christmas season, I enjoy her gift again.
* * * *Our family Christmas wouldn’t be complete without desserts made from my mother’s coconut cake and pecan pie recipes.
This is my mother's no-fail recipe that differs from any other I've ever seen for pecan pie. The secret of its mild taste is using light corn syrup and white rather than brown sugar. An easy version of Kentucky Derby Pie can be made by adding a cup of chocolate chips. I make this pie often and it always evokes memories of my mother's wonderful desserts.
3 whole eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat eggs slightly. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and melted butter.
Stir in vanilla and pecans. Bake 40 minutes at 375d. or until filling is slightly firm
*Or cook 45-50 minutes at 350d.
****CONTEST: I will be giving three digital copies of my holiday book The Twelve Days of Christmas to the winners of this question:
What was your best Christmas present? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL SO I MAY CONTACT YOU IF YOU SHOULD WIN. CONTEST ENDS: MONDAY, DEC. 3 AT MIDNIGHT. I'LL POST THE WINNER ON TUESDAY. GOOD LUCK!!
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Contemporary Women's Fiction Ebook and print Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
Leigh and Russell have not seen each other in years when they come to Kentucky to spend the holidays with Leigh's Grandmother. Russell's own grandmother lived next door until her death and they had been in love before he left for college. Leigh waited for his return but to her disappointment, he never came back. When they meet again, the attraction between them is stronger than before but many complications exist. Leigh's husband and young son were killed in a car accident in upstate New York. She blames herself for her son's death and vows never to be a mother again. She left her elementary teaching job and moved to Florida where she sells real estate. Russell is a successful building contractor in Arizona, a divorced father of two, whose wife just remarried and will be moving overseas. She has offered custody of their girls, four and eleven, to him and he must decide now. When Russell asks Leigh to marry him, she thinks he needs a mother for his children and doesn't want the job. Will he be willing to say no to custody in order to get Leigh to say yes? Can she become Russell's wife if it means depriving him of his beloved daughters?
Linda Swift's Website