THOUGHTS OF CHRISTMAS and Gifts from Charlene Sands

Yesterday, along with my daughter and her little one, a generational trio, we entered the fray of holiday shoppers.   We ventured deep into the battleground known as The Mall and we came out virtually unscathed.   Over the years we’ve concocted a game plan to thwart the system.  Shop early in the morning, plan your strategy, speed along, no dallying allowed and use the coupons to your best advantage.   Then once you get your items home, check off your list, send away for rebates immediately (or you will never do it) wrap the gifts as you go to avoid a Christmas Eve panic attack and PACE yourself.

Stop for coffee with a friend.   Have a pleasant holiday-song inspired lunch with family.  Try not to stress.

Christmas has certainly changed over the years.  So often I hear people say, I wish we could go back to the olden days, when the holiday was less commercial and less frenzied.  Think about the Old West and those homemade popcorn strings, handcrafted gifts, family gatherings celebrating the birth of Christ.

The generous volunteers at Operation Gratitude, making sure our service members receive a Care Package.  Celebrating their one millionth care package!  My friends Mary and Robin are among the volunteers!
The generous volunteers at Operation Gratitude, making sure our service members receive a Care Package. Celebrating their one millionth care package! My friends Mary and Robin are among the volunteers!

Are the holidays too commercial?   Maybe, but I still see a wonderful spirit of community and giving today.  I still see Toys for Tots, and all other kinds of charitable endeavors bringing joy to those less fortunate.  I still see volunteers working their behinds off to make sure their neighbors have a good holiday season.  I see friends who work tirelessly to send brave soldiers care packages overseas.   I see mothers sacrificing for their children, and fathers working long hours to make the holiday a little brighter for their family.

I see a long-standing icon in my community bringing joy to children with luminous lights of the season on Candy Cane Lane.   From manger scenes and lighted Peanuts characters decorating lawns and reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh and polar bears at the North Pole, these chilly scenes only bring warmth to my heart.

Streets and streets of illuminating decorations at Candy Cane Lane!
Streets and streets of illuminating decorations at Candy Cane Lane!

While evil and ill will does lurk in the world, I still see the good in people, I see givers and love and hope.

So what are your thoughts of Christmas and the holiday season?

In the spirit of giving – leave a comment here and be entered in a random draw for your Kindle or Nook. Today I’ll be giving away three copies of THE COWBOY CONTRACT!   You don’t have to own a Kindle or Nook to win…you can get a free Kindle or Barnes and Noble app for your Smartphone or computer.  (A special gift back to me would be a fair or honest review on Amazon, if you have the time, but winners are under no obligation)  

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Good Will to All!

Here’s a little about the story:

Available on Amazon Now
Available on Amazon Now

Trey Walker thought he was cursed when it came to women, but after a disaster destroyed nearly everything veterinarian Maddie Brooks owned, Trey offered the petite redhead shelter at 2 Hope Ranch.  Maddie was smart, sexy and good with animals… impossible to resist, yet he vowed not to break her heart.

Maddie knew the temporary arrangement she made with Trey was strictly business.  For over a year she’d tried to get the handsome rancher to notice her, but the man never seemed interested. Now, she’d be living under his roof and using his barn to treat animals.

Could she be the woman to break the Walker Curse?





+ posts

27 thoughts on “THOUGHTS OF CHRISTMAS and Gifts from Charlene Sands”

  1. You shop like I do, early in the morning and take advantage of every coupon and rebate. You have to use everything you can to save money. We went to the mall Sunday and it wasn’t bad when we got there, but by the time we left, it was crazy. I believe Christmas has gotten out of hand lately and I would like to see it go back to what the holiday is all about again.

  2. I found this year that I did most of my Christmas shopping in two or three trips to the Malls. I went one Saturday with one of my BFF’s.. I did a great haul of shopping.. Then just this past weekend, I went to one of the busiest malls, The Eaton Centre and I got a lot done, almost finished it all.. Although the malls were packed with people, it was a fun time, because again I was with my cousin and her BFF and we had just come from a Christmas Afternoon Tea, and we were in the Christmas spirit.. Even though our journey was fraught with adventure due to the snowy, blizzard like weather outside. But that just made it all the merrier…

  3. I like walking around in malls at Christmas time if I don’t have a huge list. I enjoy the bustling crowds as long as I’m not frantic.

    I think I’m done with all my shopping though I did think of something I NEED. And I might just go shopping for that before Christmas. 🙂

  4. Charlene, you’re a brave, brave soul! I avoid the mall like the plague. But I applaud you on making rules, something I never did. For one, I’m usually not an early riser. And another reason is that I love shopping in my office in my pajamas. I was able to buy almost every single thing for my family on cyber-Monday. Free shipping and it came to my door. Yet, I know this isolation is not good. A person has to get out of their house and mingle just a little to absorb the true spirit of Christmas. I choose those places very carefully.

    Wishing you much success, dear Filly sister!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  5. Hi Kathleen – It’s fun to go with friends as long as you SHOP and not dally. Then afterward or before, lunch or brunch or hot drinks are the way to relax and unwind. I like your style!

  6. Hi Linda – smart girl! I did some Cyber shopping too and I must admit, it’s really easy and nice to have a gift shipped free of charge directly to your home. I would say half of my shopping is from Amazon. But there are just some things, I have to hold in my hand, touch and think about, before I make a purchase.

    Merry Christmas to you, my dear friend!

  7. hi Charlene, what beautiful photos and of course, the message! Merry Christmas to all of you…hug the babies.

    I did a lot of cyber-shopping for the grandsons this time around. I also did a lot of shopping at Lakeshore Learning Store…I refuse to get the seven year old any super-hero weapons etc. so the toys and games there all have a learning component…such as making a robot out of a soda pop can. The baby loves Mickey Mouse so got a ton of MM jammies. Oh, a giant Tonka dump truck too…I’m not that mean. 🙂

    This morning, I am getting the last of everything—stocking stuffers at World Market. Everything there has a kind of nostalgic appeal. Yes, I do still stuff stockings for everybody.

    Love LOVE the cover!! xoxox

  8. Charlene, I love your photos. Certainly, times have changed but the joy of giving is still the same. Love for each other, family, friends…..blessings abound. I love to go to little local shops or little out of the way places for just the right gifts. Merry Christmas!

  9. WOW, I would love to win, I have a NOOK so that would be great…Shopping, I hate it but my husband loves it. We usually start picking things up for people in the summer when we go on long weekends to different places. It makes it easier. Of course there are always the last minute things but Hubby is good for that…Happy Holidays…

  10. Christmas used to be a wonderful time of year. I’d spend weekends baking and filling boxes of goodies for family and friends. Then my husband died just before the holidays and we tried to carry on and make new traditions. Last year my youngest child committed suicide on what would have been my oldest son’s 47th birthday (he was killed at 19 in the Navy)so now the first week of November is very hard for us. This year we made another adjustment. Christmas has been moved to my son’s house where the traditional dinner is oyster stew and pizza so I don’t even have a tree up. Maybe next year.

  11. I like how the neighborhood is decorated with Christmas lights. When I was younger, we used to stroll through the neighborhood and sing Christmas carols.

  12. Christmas is all about family and being around one another as we celebrate. There isn’t just one thing I like but many.
    The houses lit up at night, the smell of baking cookies and the rustle of paper as we team up to get all the wrapping done. It the peaceful calm that believe it or not happens when we sit back and enjoy the time spent with family.

Comments are closed.