Love, Christmas 2: Miracle on Christmas Tree Street by Alicia Street

My story in the Authors’ Billboard bestselling boxed set Love, Christmas – Movies You Love is based on the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street. I love the way it blends down-to-earth reality together with the magical elements of Christmas.

A personal reason this has always been a favorite movie of mine is because my mother worked in Macy’s Department Store when I was growing up. When school let out for Christmas vacation I would sometimes go into work with her and wander the store all day, watching people shop for gifts and looking at all the pretty decorations and taking in the holiday cheer.

While my story has a rural setting and does not include a court case against a man who needs to prove he is Santa Claus, I do have a pessimistic single mom, and her daughter who is befriended by a Santa-like grandfather figure who might be more than he seems. And of course there is a handsome bachelor who is determined to break through the icy walls the single mom has built around herself.

Luckily my own mother was nothing like the cynical woman in the movie played by Maureen O’ Hara or the one in my story. But this character is the perfect counterpart to the Santa Claus character who enters her life and proceeds to confuse, baffle, and inspire. I love the way he challenges her reality and the way a parent realizes she can learn something from her child.

It is this transformation that creates the story’s message of hope and faith. A belief that wonderful things can happen and that you can still find miracles in a cynical world.

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A New Christmas Story Based on the Movie, “The Holiday”

My husband, Walt, and I lived in Hawaii for five years while we were both teaching school. We lived on the island of Oahu, near Waikiki, but neither of us enjoyed water sports very much, so we did a lot of hiking along the mountain ridges there. We bought a topographical map so we could find the trails. Many of the trailheads were semi-hidden, and if we missed one, we just walked along until we came across the trail further up the mountain. Once on the top ridges, the trails were worn so deep into the soil that a foot-high lip formed on each side. The mountainside often dropped away straight down, and sometimes not quite as steep, which is the side we came up on. During the wet season, these trails got muddy and slippery.

Once we had a group of friends who wanted to hike with us, so we took them on a trail we hadn’t hiked before. When we didn’t find the trailhead, we went straight up the mountain, knowing the trail cut across it. Halfway up, Walt, who was in the lead, stopped and said something like, “We might find the trail before we get to the top.” The others were all complaining as they pulled themselves up the steep slope by hanging onto the vegetation. They figured we were lost and wanted to turn back. I remember their surprise, as each in turn put their hands on the trail, then pulled themselves up to where Walt was standing, loudly wondering how much further the trail was. The last one looked around and said, “Here’s the trail. What are you guys talking about?”

We took our Australian collie on the trails, and when we were leading groups and got separated, Walt would send her back to me, then I sent her to him. It gave him some estimation of how far his group was ahead of mine.

Sometimes we spent the night on a wide spot in a trail. We took newspapers with us. The newspapers went under us, our jackets over us, and the dog in between as a heater. One Thanksgiving, we spent the night above a naval air station, which we found out later was off limits.

Hawaii doesn’t have snakes, but they do have mongoose. On one hike we met a mongoose running along the trail towards us, its nose to the ground, sniffing as it ran. About ten feet away it spotted us, and instantly dropped off the trail on the almost vertical side, out of sight. It moved so silently, we couldn’t tell where it had gone, and could just hope it was ok. Earlier, we had come across a wild hog. When it saw us, it also jumped off the trail, but we could hear it, like a rolling boulder, crashing through the underbrush, sounding like it bounced all the way to the bottom.

The Hawaiian Islands are a great holiday destination, and I chose them for the scene of my new book, The Holiday (Christmas). It is based upon the movie, “The Holiday,” where two women swap houses. I put the houses in Seattle and Maui. I put a puppy in it, belonging to the man who also ended up at the Maui home, and based the pup’s description on a dog my grandson owns, named General Washington.

I really enjoyed writing The Holiday, a modern Trahern novella. It is part of the new Love, Christmas 2 collection, now on sale for 99¢. Thanks to our many eager readers, this set skyrocketed into the top 100 on the USA Today bestselling list.

Did you know we are running a giveaway? Are you interested in winning a gift card or a free book? Click here to find out more details on this month’s contest.

Heartwarming Christmas romance with all the feels!

When I was a kid, my family didn’t watch a lot of TV. My parents were very firm about us: A) not “wasting our lives staring at the boob tube like zombies,” B) being productive, a.k.a. doing a lot of chores and doing well in school, and C) socializing as a family and playing outside.

They also had clear guidelines and notions about what constituted “acceptable and appropriate” viewing.

I’m making my parents sound very . . . un-fun. Really, nothing could be further from the truth. They were strict (sometimes, aggravatingly so), but they were also supportive of our hobbies and passions, read to us a lot, played with us a lot. And when we did watch television, it was an event. (Our weekly Disney-viewing tradition remains one of my treasured family memories.)

“Movie night” became a bi-monthly or so thing when I was nine or ten (when VCRs became popular—and most people just rented them because they were so expensive). After getting movie-pic feedback from my mom, my dad would go to the local video store and pick out a “kids’” movie (usually animated),  a “family” movie (often a Disney classic, like the original “Parent Trap,” or “Old Yeller,” and an “adult” movie (not that kind of adult, LOL. Get your minds out of gutter!) for him and my mom to watch after we went to bed.

My mom would make homemade pizza dough and put out every kind of topping you can imagine, and each of us kids would get to create a personal pizza with our own version of topping heaven. As they cooked and cooled, my dad would make huge stainless-steel bowls of popcorn—one each!—that he popped in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Us kids would get our pajamas on and collect our stuffed animals and “snugglies”—quilts that zipped up like sleeping bags but that had holes for your face, hands, and feet.

Then pure imagination plus carb overload delight would reign! For an hour or three, we’d be caught up in the hilarity or heartbreak (or both) of whatever that evening’s viewing entailed.

One year, near Christmas, my dad came home with “A Charlie Brown Christmas”—and I, being a huge Peanuts™ freak, practically lost my mind with glee, doing my own ecstatic spinning version of Snoopy’s happy dance.

Sweet and sentimental, funny but also a little melancholy and blue initially, it captured the feeling of Christmas so well to me, even as a young child.

Earlier this year, when I received the exciting invitation to be part of this amazing box set of Christmas romance novels, Love, Christmas 2, where each story was to be somehow inspired by its author’s favorite Christmas movie, there was no question in my mind as to which movie my book would somehow incorporate: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” all the way!

And just as instantly, Sharla Brown—who’s really tired of the Charlie Brown jokes she’s endured all her life because of her name—sprang into my head. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is her favorite Christmas movie for all the same reasons it’s mine. She and I hope you love her story—and all the rest of the merrily festive, heartwarming Christmas romances in Love, Christmas 2.

Wishing you a lovely fall and cozy winter, full of wonderful “small” things that really are huge: family, friends, pets, love, and laughter. (And, of course, good books!)

Ev

P.S. If you haven’t pre-ordered Love, Christmas 2 yet, do it quick! ?  I’d hate for you to miss out on the fabulous pre-order price! ?

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