It’s a Wonderful Life

Guest Blogger: Wendy Corsi Staub

Christmas was, in my small-town childhood, everything it’s supposed to be. It was a Hallmark flurry of family, friends, Santa, church, parties, lights and decorations, sledding and skating, giving and receiving gifts, baking cookies, volunteering our time and giving to charity, watching annual TV specials together, perpetually hearing carols on the piano, stereo, and car radio.

And then there was the snow. Having grown up in southwestern New York’s blizzard belt, I remember white Decembers, always. Reeeeeeeeally white. As in, three or four feet — sometimes more — of white. When I reminisce about childhood Christmases, it’s like peering at a festive scene through a swirling snow globe.

The celebration always began Thanksgiving Day, when my father drove the long way from one set of grandparents’ house to the other (for our second meal) in order to see the candy cane lamppost decorations lit up along Central Avenue. No school the next morning, and we kids were up early to stack the stereo spindle with our collection of vinyl albums (Perry Como, Bing, Barbra, and our favorite: The Partridge Family). The merriment lasted through New Year’s Day, when my parents came home from a night of dancing to serve a wee-hour breakfast to a houseful of friends, then managed to get us all to my grandparents’ house by noon for their once-a-year homemade egg pasta.

White candles in the windows, seafood on Christmas Eve, incense at midnight mass. Taking turns opening gifts in chaotic living rooms crammed with wrapping paper and homemade cookie platters and people and noise. Milk spilled, candle wax dripped and hardened on tablecloths. There were instantly broken toys, toys without batteries, unassembled toys that were impossible to put together. Toddling cousins tripped, toppled.  China teetered. Teetotalers tippled. There was caroling. There was, of course, plenty of snow. There was love — plenty of that, too.

Now I live with my husband and children in the New York City suburbs more than four hundred miles from my hometown. We’ve kept all those holiday traditions alive and embraced countless new ones with our sons, so that they cherish the season as much as I did growing up, and still do, to this day.

Yes, it’s hectic and expensive and cluttered and there is too little sleep and too much to do—especially this year, amid the stress of writing the final chapter of my latest manuscript and embarking on a book tour as my new thriller, SCARED TO DEATH (Avon Books), hits stores on December 28.  But it’s a wonderful life and I’m blessed to have so much to celebrate. I wish all of you the perfect blend of peace and joy this season, and I hope to see some of you as I hit the road next week. For my tour stops and to read more about my latest thriller, visit my website here.

Bestselling author of more than seventy novels Wendy Corsi Staub has penned multiple New York Times bestselling adult thrillers and more than two dozen young adult titles under her own name. Her latest bestseller, LIVE TO TELL (Avon, March 2010) received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.  The book is the first in a trilogy, to be continued with SCARED TO DEATH and HELL TO PAY. Her young adult series, LILY DALE, has been optioned for television by Freemantle Entertainment.

As Wendy Markham, she’s a USA Today bestselling author of chick lit and romance, including her most recent title, THE BEST GIFT (Signet, November 2009).  Industry awards include a Romance Writers of America Rita, three Westchester Library Association Washington Irving Awards for Fiction, the RWA-NYC Golden Apple for Lifetime Achievement and the RT Bookreviews Career Achievement Award in Suspense.

Wendy lives in suburban NYC with her husband and children.

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