Monday, December 3, 2012

Intruders and Wash Baskets - My Favorite Christmas Memory

[UPDATE: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is FREE on Kindle December 14-17 - Grab Your Copy Here!]

Today, we launch The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. To help celebrate it's release, we'll be sharing favorite Christmas memories and recipes from the authors of this special Christmas book.

Chapter One of The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is written by Joan Campbell. Read part one of her chapter today on her blog - she'll post part two tomorrow.
Since Joan was instigator of the whole project, she actually has two chapters, so today, we'll share her favorite Christmas Memory, and later on, we'll share her favorite recipe.

Intruders and Wash Baskets 
By Joan Campbell

Pine trees don’t thrive in South Africa’s warm climate, yet for a few years of my childhood my father kept digging up and re-planting one that had the dubious honour of being our Christmas tree. Every year it looked a little more scraggly as he hauled it inside for the Christmas season. Yet my sister and I saw it with different eyes. As we draped it with lights, tinsel and gaudy ornaments, it took on a magical quality for us. It became the portal to places where trees are laden with snow, where sleigh-bells jingle and—if you listen closely enough—you may just hear St. Nicholas laughing.

Christmas was a special time for us as a family. As Dutch immigrants it was the one time of the year that we were likely to have family with us, since one set of grandparents usually came out from Europe for the holiday. On Christmas Eve the tree would be lit-up in all her glory, and we would play games to pass the time – tedious Dutch board games such as ‘Mens-erg-je-niet’ or ‘Jeu de Barricade.’ We never gave the games our full attention though. It was just to pass the time until …

“There. I heard something on the roof!”

“Me too. Do you think he’s here?”

“I’m sure. Come. Quickly!”

My sister and I ran to the nearest window, hoping to catch just one small glimpse of the Christmas intruder.

“Try the door!”

The adults clustered behind us as we thrust open the front door. St. Nicholas wasn’t there anymore of course, but he had accomplished his mission—on the welcome mat stood a wash basket full of presents. Our wash basket, in fact, but these small discrepancies never entered our minds.

Suddenly my Dad would appear too. “What did I miss, girls?”

This, my favourite Christmas memory, came vividly alive again a few years ago, when we spent Christmas Eve at my parents’ house. My two young girls and their cousins were all there when suddenly we heard a noise on the roof.

“What was that?”

“Quick, let’s go see!”

We all rushed outside to look but, instead of an intruder, we found a wash basket full of presents outside the front door. The children’s faces lit up with the magic of it all.

I could have sworn I heard St. Nicholas laughing.

About Joan:

Joan Campbell is a South African mother of two teenage daughters. She spends a great deal of time lost in the world of the Fantasy Trilogy she is writing, but emerges every now and again to cook for her family. Several of her short stories have been published in various anthologies, including one in Life Lessons from Grandparents, published by Write Integrity Press. (This book is available for our Give One Get One Free Sale!)

Her first collection of stories, “The King’s Quiver” is available in digital format. Joan loves to travel, and her chapter in “The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt” was inspired by her recent trip to Kenya. She and her husband are involved in the worship team at their church. Read more about Joan and her upcoming books on her website.

“The King’s Quiver” has been described by renowned author Susan Mathis as “creative, authentic and unique.” It is currently available as a free download from Joan’s website.

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.

Read Chapter 1 Part 1 by Joan Campbell

Come on over and join all the fun at Magnificent Hope's Christmas Party!

1 comment:

Elsi Dodge said...

Hey, Joan! That's my grandmother's story! ;-D She was born in 1896 near St. Louis. Before Christmas, her older brother would be excused from dinner early to meet his friends. Then they'd hear rattling in the locked parlor. When they found the key and got in, they discovered Saint Nicholas had left a fully decorated tree and escaped through the open window. In fact, they had just missed him, as proved by the movement of the curtains and a bit of holly on the windowsill. As they stood in the doorway exclaiming, in would come brother, who was scornful: "If I'd been here, I woulda caught him for sure!"