Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alert! Wonder Woman is On The Tree by Anna J Stewart

It won't come as any surprise to those who know me that I love and I mean love the Christmas season. Yes, I'm one of those people who anxiously await the new displays in stores and yes, I'm also one who doesn't mind how early they arrive. Not going to apologize for it because this time of year reminds me just what is most important in life...my family and friends.

Christmas for me officially begins on Thanksgiving the second the turkey (or whatever I'm cooking) is put in the oven. The boxes come out of the closet and I dive in, almost like opening presents as I tend to forget what I've packed where. The containers come down from the shelf in the garage, the fake tree (hey, I'm a California girl) gets hauled out of it's cabinet (at least this year it didn't look like I was hauling a plastic encased body through the house).  The lights get tested...oh, yes, the lights.  I think a minor miracle descended this year as it was the first time in memory ALL of my lights from last year worked.  Whew! Because as you can see...I use a lot of lights.



The tree used to be my nemesis. While I loved it once it was up, I hated the process. Until I worked out a system and now, while it takes me about 2 hours to get each layer open, separated, and strung with lights, I don't have a swearing fit as I untangle cords and trip over electrical strands. My biggest concern is always whether the topper is straight. Hooray! This year it is (for now <G>). I'm also super fortunate to have one of those cats who really doesn't have any interest in climbing the tree. Thank goodness!! I feel bad for people who have explorer cats. This is a rough time of year for them.

Once the tree and lights are done, it's time to start bringing out the ornaments. Now I will fully admit to being an ornament junkie as in I should join a support group. I actually have to put myself on a Hallmark budget every year. About four years ago, however, after going through four boxes of ornaments that came from my grandmother, my mother, and myself, I culled the collection down, putting a lot away for good. Now I display ones that have a special memory or connection. I bet you do the same thing, too, especially those of you with children.  Here are a few of my favorites:


I'm a long-time Barbie collector and while I have a TON of Barbie ornaments, there are only 3 or 4 which make the tree these days. The Nutcracker ballerina is still my favorite.  She's just so pretty and reminds me of all the Xmas Eves we spent watching the Baryshnikov production of the ballet. To this day it's my favorite thing to watch during the holidays (except maybe the Harry Potter movies).


Yes, that's a scuba diving bumble bee. I have a few bees, because once upon a time my critique group was called the TKBees (Tiny Killer Bees. The name is a blog worthy story so...maybe soon <G>). The bees just make me smile. This one in particular. Come on! A scuba bee?! Isn't that the most ridiculous think you've ever heard of...or seen?  He makes me laugh every year.


In my early years (and for a lot of them), I was a dancer.  Tap, jazz, acrobatics, hula and ballet. While I don't move nearly as well as I used to (who does?!), I still have a particular affinity for ballet slippers especially if they come with tiny mouse residents.  She's so cute!! Another one that brings a smile to my face.


So this little crocheted baby ornament is from way back from when I was around five years old. It was given to my mom by a waitress who worked at the coffee shop my mom and grandmother used to take me to quite often. By now this little baby is about forty years old, but every year I unwrap her is like the first time I'm seeing her. She reminds me of what a wonderful childhood I had growing up in San Francisco in the Sunset District, walking down Irving street to the doughnut store or the used bookstore (which incidentally fed my romance novel addiction for yeeeaaaars!). 


If there was one cluster that represents our household the best, it would probably be this trio of ornaments which, every year, goes near the top. The STAR TREK ornament is self-explanatory (LIVE LONG AND PROSPER TO ALL). The butterfly? Well, Heartwarming readers (and authors) know about my Butterfly Harbor series. But that little blue and white angel sitting on a shooting star? That was my grandfather's and by now must be nearly sixty years old. I've written about him on this blog before. He died when I was 6 months old so I have no memory of him, but between my tree topper angel (which stands tall on my miniature Harry Potter tree), the jingle Santa hugging his knees, and this tiny plastic ornament, he's with us every year. Merry Christmas, Grandpa (and Grandma! I miss you!)


You guys all know me well enough by now to know none of my decorating would be complete without SOME representation of my favorite superhero! That's right, Wonder Woman is in the house er, on the tree. I actually have a couple of this same ornament I've received some as gifts (see? People do know me, LOL). I keep one at my writing desk, but this one stands guard over my tree every day it's up.



Christmas does not stop at any door in my house. In the kitchen, aka my writing office, you'll find the little 3 foot tree that at one time used to go up in my Grandmother's room every year. She made all the needlepoint ornaments displayed and that topper? My grandfather bought that for her for 10cents back in the day (I still have the box with the price tag on it!).  Now it's my tree...my writing tree. Or at least one of them.



A little glimpse of my writing area and the little tree that adds some holiday cheer amidst the Barbie character inspirations, a curious Tinkerbell, and a ready to fight off demons Dean Winchester (for you Supernatural fans). And yes, that's Jason Momoa peeking out from between two of my girls (don't worry--he belongs with them <G>).

As you can see, everywhere I look these days, I'm reminded of the joy and cheer this time of year brings. It's been a rough year for a lot of people in many ways, but when I take a few minutes, and sit in the quiet, surrounded by quiet lights and memories of family and friends...I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to be living this life.

So to all my Heartwarming sisters and brothers, authors, readers, and editors alike, I wish you all the blessings of the holiday season and may 2017 bring you everything you heart desires. As for the next Butterfly Harbor story? I can officially announce book three will be released in August and will feature Deputy Fletcher Bradley, Paige Cooper, and Paige's daughter Charlie, who may have seen The Parent Trap once too often. And you thought Simon Campbell was a handful? You haven't seen anything yet!

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what your favorite holiday decoration is and if it has any special connections for you. Please, share in the comments!!

Happy and Merry!
~Anna J



A self-admitted TV and movie addict, USA TODAY bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to spicy romances across the genres including the Butterfly Harbor series for Harlequin Heartwarming. Visit her online at www.authorannastewart for more information on her workshops, editing services, and to join her mailing list.

23 comments:

  1. Anna J, you must not come to my house as I don't have lights or a tree up. Or maybe you need to come help me decorate. I have a centerpiece on my dining table and a Ho Ho Ho hanging on my door. This year for some reason I'm not feeling the ho ho ho. Love your photos and your ornaments.

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    1. Ah, Roz. So sorry the ho ho ho hasn't hit you yet this year. But there's still time! Pop on some Xmas music and let the good times roll. :) Thanks for posting.

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  2. Wow, Anna! And I thought I had a pretty good bunch of decorations that mean something to me. Yours is awesome! I love opening the boxes each year and discovering all over again those favorites, which always seem like a surprise. My absolute favorites are a crystal star that reflects the lights on the tree and a pair of sweet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus ornaments. Oh, and the ones my kids made in school! Merry 🎄 Christmas to you and to all.

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    1. Merry Christmas, Leigh! Sounds like you have a beautiful collection!!! <3

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  3. I love decorating for Christmas, I have ornaments from my mom and 57 years of ours, I put small 12 to 18 inch trees in the bathroom on the vanity tops or the back of the stool, sometimes I have been known to put garland around the bathroom mirrors, we have trees for the formal dining room ( a very Frou Frou tree), one for the den, one for the family room, one for the guest bedrooms, one for my studio, etc. you get the idea, I love decorating, hate taking it down and putting it away, it's so time consuming.

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    1. I'm right there with you on the taking it down, Roberta! I start thinking about that almost as soon as I'm done decorating, LOL. Garlands around the bathroom mirror! Adding that to my list for next year . Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Anna, Your tree is gorgeous! Love the stories behind your ornaments. I enjoy the memories they spark when I dig into my boxes, too. But my favorite decorations are my Santa Claus collection. I have so many now because family and friends give them to me as gifts. During the year most of them (they won't all fit anymore) live in an antique hutch in my living room, but every holiday season they get spread out all over the house.

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    1. Santas everywhere!! Yay! And good to know for future reference .

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  5. Anna! What wonderful ornaments and all attached with love from someone special. I collect stars and my tree is full of them - hand-sewn, wooden, crystal, all kinds. But my favorite ornament is a little glass church I found in an antique shop. I always place it right in front of a light, but I swear it would glow on its own. Thank you for this warm and wonderful post.

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    1. Star ornaments! What a wonderful theme, Muriel. And I bet that church ornament is stunning. :) Appreciate you stopping by today. Merry Christmas!

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  6. Anna, thank you for the wonderful post, and sharing a little bit of your Christmas with us. If I didn't already feel the Christmas spirit, your post certainly would have gotten me in the mood.

    I love, LOVE your decorations and the stories behind them.

    To repeat, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kate! <3 Merry Christmas!

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  7. I ALWAYS smile when I unwrap my scuba bee, he's so ridiculous :) I have a wonderful Day of the Dead ornament from a trip we took to Arizona, she's all skeletal, playing a guitar with a huge skull grin (very Christmas! Not :). I have an astronaut, a vintage cosmonaut and Santa hugging a space capsule. I have glass fish and other sea creatures, a pink poodle and an alligator. I love them all. But the closest to my heart are all my Polish Pottery pieces -- now displayed on the piano. I, too, need to join a support group! Happy Holiday Hugs to you and your mom. LU

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    1. LU2, Judy!!! And I loved those wrapped makeup sponge garlands you had up on FB yesterday. So adorable!! Hugs back. :)

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  8. Thanks for the trip around your tree!

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  9. I love seeing your decorations and reading the special stories that go with them! Big fan of the Wonder Woman ornament, and I love those handmade ones on your grandmother's tree. I hope you have a great holiday!

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    1. Thanks so much, Amie! Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  10. I wish I were as organized for Christmas as you are Anna! I loved the stories behind your fave ornaments as they reminded me of some of my childhood favourites too which, sadly, were tossed out when we cleared out my parents' house. And a couple of years ago when we renovated and down-sized, my husband took on the task of going through our ornaments. Big mistake! He threw out my daughter's kindergarten macaroni garland and she is still grouchy about that! I tried to comfort her with the reminder that she can now start her own collection of ornament memories but every year, that macaroni garland's 'ghost' reappears.

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    1. Oh, Janice! I can't even imagine losing ornaments like that but you told your daughter exactly the right thing. As long as the two of you remember that garland, it'll never really be gone. Happy holidays. <3

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  11. Oh, goodie. I love Charlie and Simon. Beautiful decorations, Anna. Merry Christmas.

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  12. Cool beans, you grew up in San Francisco. I've only been once but want to go back.
    Love your tree and all the stories.

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