Christmas morning, I'd always set my alarm for five a.m. Yes, I was on vacation from school, and yes, I could have slept in, but I knew it would take me forever to get ready and that we had to be at my grandparents' house (an hour away) early. My dad would usually get up about the time I was finishing my makeup or attempting to curl my hair (I'm still to this day terrible with my hair—takes me forever) and we'd head downstairs to open our presents to each other. My dad never seemed to need anything—still doesn't—so I'd get him the same type of things every year: a coffee mug and a planner for the next year. He always managed to act surprised at my oh-so-predictable gifts. I'd also add the same type of thing to his stocking every year—I'd write him a short story, try to do some sort of fancy border around it, print it out, roll it up like a scroll and then tie it with a ribbon.
We'd head down to my grandparents' house early. This was before they opened up the extra lanes on Highway 101 (if you live in the Bay Area of California, you know what a headache that was), so there was always a ton of traffic. More often than not, we'd have to pull off the freeway and take the back roads, which took almost as long as sitting in traffic, but wasn't nearly as frustrating.
When we reached my grandparents' house, I'd help my dad carry in the gifts and arrange them in the front room. My aunts and my cousins would usually be there already because one aunt lives in the same town and the other in Canada—she always flew in a few days early. My grandmother would make coffee for the adults and hot cocoa for me (I still don't drink coffee to this day) and would bring out the pastries she heated in her toaster oven—including the fruitcake. Don't say ew. I don't know where my grandmother gets this fruitcake, but it's actually good. We'd all hang out the whole day. My grandfather would play piano and we'd sing Christmas carols. My grandmother would make a ton of food and instruct me in the fine art of setting a proper table (it's more difficult and involved than it sounds). My dad and I would head back home much later with leftovers.
My aunt has taken over the Christmas cooking now, and my cousin the piano playing, but Christmas remains more or less the same...a day to spend hanging out with my family. Surprisingly, my tree didn't go up last minute this year. My husband and I set it up the day after Thanksgiving (I still haven't finished decorating it, though). Christmas is still my favorite holiday. To me, it's not about the food, or the presents (although those are fun to wrap). It's about spending time with my family, laughing and hanging out.
Oh, and Dad, if you're reading this...I promise I didn't get you a coffee cup and a planner this year. Although, I can't guarantee that I didn't get you one or the other.
Brea, thanks so much for sharing your Christmas memories with us. Christmas is my favorite holiday also!
Brea Essex was born in Gilroy, California, called the “Garlic Capital of the World”. She has been telling stories since she could talk. She moved around a lot as a child, living all over Northern California, with a brief stay in Montana. She graduated college with a degree in Medical Assisting. She eventually decided that a medical career wasn't for her, so she began writing her first YA novel, Foreshadow, inspired by her favorite city of the multitude she's lived in: Capitola, CA. She currently lives near San Jose, CA with her husband, their dog and three cats, and enough books to start a library.
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Imagine discovering that your boyfriend was out to kill you—and that the annoying boy from school was your guardian angel.
Rae Davenport has already lost her mother. The only thing keeping her sane is her new boyfriend, Andrei—that is, until she finds out that he wants to kill her. Andrei is a devil, and he wants to use Rae as a sacrifice to get back into Heaven. The only one who can save her is Logan, her guardian angel. He’s only annoyed her in the past, but now he will be her savior.
Sounds like a book going on my TBR pile and I love the cover. Book One of The Shadow Imperium series is coming soon from Astraea Press! If you'd like to be entered to win in Brea's giveaway, please feel free to comment. Brea, thanks again for guesting today!