Happy Holidays from Authors’ Billboard

All of us at Authors’ Billboard wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Happy Holidays

 

Family Christmas

In elementary school, one of our teachers used to ask the class to write a paper about the meaning of Christmas. What does Christmas mean to you? This sentence still echoes in my ears after so many years. I had no trouble filling the pages, writing how my grandparents organized Christmas for their family of six children and families. Christmas meant getting together with the many cousins, enjoying a fun time, a delicious dinner, innumerable cookies and desserts. “Christmas is family time,” my grandmother often repeated. Yet she always added to her guest list the friends and neighbors that were on their own on Christmas day.  

And then my grandfather passed. A year later, my mother took over. The Christmas get-together moved to my parents’ house, with my grandmother’s menu and a few new recipes. By then I was married with small children. So were the invited cousins. The reunions continued, with thirty guests attending, all related — my children playing with their relatives, creating life-long bonds of friendship within the family.

When my dad passed, Mom lost the desire and energy to prepare big gatherings. It was my turn to maintain the tradition that came with a lot of work but so much joy for children and parents. For the last thirty years, I’ve been starting the cooking and baking three weeks before Christmas. Even after we retired and moved to Florida, our children and relatives kept visiting for the holidays. This year, I will entertain twenty-five guests on Christmas Eve, relatives and a few lonely friends. My daughter will handle the Christmas Day dinner. The family reunion continues with my grandchildren befriending the cousins’ kids.

Christmas meant family togetherness for church, dinner, and play, when I was a school kid, and it still has the same meaning. My grandmother must be smiling from up there at my grandchildren and her many descendants bonding together.

Yes, the holiday preparations can be exhausting. What do you do after a long day of preparation? Wouldn’t it be nice to lounge in front of a fire or curl onto a couch or even in bed with a sweet romance novel, forget the latest lousy news and escape into a warm Christmas story that would cheer you up and reassure you there is still love in this world?
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Here are a few warm Christmas stories to lift your heart:

 

 

The Christmas Coat

A Sweet Christmas Story to share

I’m not sure who wrote this – a friend sent it to me in an email – but it’s worth passing forward. Whether it’s fiction or fact, it brought happy tears to my eyes. If you know who the author is/was, please let me know in the comments. In the end, all we have is our story, our name, and what we gave away.
An old boy was fumbling around one day
In a women’s clothing store.
He’d found his wife a Christmas coat
And was headed for the door
When he bumped into a little boy
That looked like he was lost
And he said “Mister can you help me
Find out how much something costs?
Here it is almost Christmas
And the nights are gettin cold
Winter time is on us
And my mom don’t have a coat
I’ve been workin for the neighbors
And saving for a time.”
And in his tiny, outstretched hand
Was a dollar and a dime.
His gaze went from that big eyed boy
To that pretty Christmas coat
And he finally cleared away the lump
That had gathered in his throat.
He said, “Son,
that’s just what this coat costs.
We’re lucky that we found ‘er.”
And he turned around and gave a wink
To the lady at the counter.
She put it in a pretty box
And wrapped it up just so
And went off in the back
And found a big red Christmas bow.
He said “I thank you for your help, sir
And I kindly thank you, ma’am.
I hope y’all are gonna have a big Christmas
‘Cause now I know I am.”
Well, the old boy walked home busted
Except for the dollar and the dime
Thinking he’d just have to buy
The coat another time.
He told his wife that Christmas this year
Wouldn’t be much fun.
He gently took her in his arms
And told her what he’d done.
She said, “Why you old softie.
I wouldn’t trade you for a farm.
I’ve got two or three old coats
And your love to keep me warm.”
She put that money in a matchbox
And placed it beneath their tree
And said “That is the grandest gift
You’ve ever given me.”
The years went by like years will do
When people are in love.
Their marriage was a golden bond
That was forged by God above.
Then one day came some bitter news
That filled his heart with fright.
The doctor told the old man’s wife
That she was going to lose her sight.
He said, “There’s an operation we can do
But it puts me on the spot
‘Cause it’s a quite complex procedure
And it’s going to cost a lot.”
The old man said, “Doctor, I’m a failure.
I’ve made no preparation.
We don’t have the money
For that kind of an operation.”
The doctor got the strangest look
And he sat there for a while.
And then he slowly nodded,
And he broke out in a smile
He said, “Why sir, you can’t fool me.
You’re a very wealthy man.
You long ago invested
In the world’s best savings plan.
I’ll see she gets the best of care.
She’s going to be just fine.
And the total cost to you, old friend
Is a dollar and a dime.”
The old man stared in disbelief
Then he recognized that smile,
The one he’d seen those years ago
On a loving, thoughtful child.
He said, “What you gave to me that day
Was more than just a coat.
You gave me the gift of giving
And you gave my mother hope.
My mother’d been mistreated,
Neglected and abused.
But she gave life just one more chance
And it was all because of you.
Now every year she takes that coat
And lays it beneath our tree.
It represents to us the things

That Christmas ought to be.
She says that when we leave this world
For a better home someday,
The only things that we’ll take with us
Are the things we gave away.”

Now it’s time for LAUGHS! Just released: Another CUTE BUT CRAZY Rom-Com set!

Did you get happy tears from the story of the boy and the Christmas Coat? Ready for tears of laughter? Check out the Quirky Careers of this odd lot of characters. Can they stop from falling in love? Nope. Get acquainted with these love-challenged guys and gals today. Read for #FREE with Kindle Unlimited or buy for 99cents. Another great set by the ladies from THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD.

DEPRESSION AT CHRISTMAS TIME

DepressionInstead of giving you a menu you’d probably never use, or ho, ho, ho, the happy time of Christmas, I am going to talk about Depression. My son, Rhys died in February/19 after his heart was destroyed on Dec.20th by a woman he trusted. He’d known her 9 years, she was the mother of his daughter’s best friend. He was also clinically depressed. He left his two beautiful daughters behind.  The following information is from the internet at Professors House website.

Christmas is the most likely time of the year to experience depression. The suicide rate is higher during December than any other month. This tells us that Christmas depression should be taken seriously. Loss, failure, and loneliness are just a few of the things that can trigger depression at Christmas time.

Holidays are stressful.

People fail to recognize that holidays are stressful enough to trigger a depression. Sometimes the hustle and bustle and the need to produce (food, presents, parties, and the lot) are enough to seriously frustrate a person right into a depression. Feeling disconnected with the holidays can easily lead to a mild to moderate depression.

Whether dealing with a loss or change or simply feeling overwhelmed by holiday sadness, the number one most important thing anyone can do is to tell someone. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Over the past ten years there has been a great awakening, so to speak, that has illuminated the issue of Christmas depression. People have become more educated and more understanding about the phenomenon and often already know that someone they love is suffering from depression before there is any actual confession.

If you are alone at Christmastime and you realize that you are coming down with holiday depression, reach out to someone by phone, whether it is a friend, a relative, or a professional, just call someone. This is so important. There is nothing to be ashamed of and there are plenty of people willing and able to assist you. A bad moment (even a really long one that last several weeks) does not have to ruin a future. Unfortunately people who find themselves depressed and do nothing about it are prone to staying depressed. Depression can interfere with job performance, friendships, romantic relationships. I can affect parenting, self care, and even the ability to take care of the dog. It can lead to losses of these very important things if the depression becomes serious enough.

DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SIGNS!

Dealing with a holiday depression once you are able to recognize it is a vital step in returning to a better state of health. Naturally, my first recommendation is that you find a good counselor to speak with. The onset of holiday depression doesn’t have to mean that you require long term counseling or even medication. It may just mean you have to learn to set better boundaries or learn to let go of the past or learn better coping skills when it comes to dealing with a tragedy. Nothing that you are experiencing is so terribly abnormal, and no one is going to react terribly to you if you ask for help.

A good counselor can help you learn to set “holiday boundaries” while you are coping with holiday depression. “Holiday boundaries” include things like limiting the number of holiday party invitations, scaling down Christmas, and asking for help. It’s okay to deal a little differently with the specific tasks that tend to depress you more. Wrapping presents can trigger an emotion or a memory. Consider asking for help so that you don’t have to wrap nearly as many. Sometimes just doing it with someone is enough to help keep your depression away.

Unforgettable Christmas

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Unforgettable Christmas Joy

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