Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas to all of you who have been following along with me. This will be my last post this season. It has been a lot of fun looking forward to Christmas with you. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and that you are full of Christmas spirit!

What do you have planned for Christmas day? My family and I will wake up tomorrow and have some home made Strawberry muffins. We will open presents (probably before the muffins if my little guy has anything to do with it!). We will share the day together as a family. Most importantly, we will pause and remember why we celebrate and we will give thanks to God.

I am excited to give my wife and son their gifts for Christmas this year. It has been a lot of fun thinking about them and what they would like. My son is super easy to shop for. My wife has been a bit more difficult, but I think she will like what I have come up with. It is so much fun to show them love in this way. I hope you have had a blast as you have prepared as well.

Thank you for reading along. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my friends. Till next year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To give really is better than to receive

Had you told me this when I was a kid (and I am sure some of you did), I may not have believed you. Christmas was about getting presents. Giving was good. I have always known that, but getting...that was the stuff. 

Then, I fell in love. Christmas 1998 was my first with my wife and it seemed like I could not give her enough. I was a college student and didn't have much money (got my first full time job two days after Christmas that year.) But, what I did have I wanted to give her. Sure, getting gifts was nice, but making her happy was even nicer. 

Fast forward a few years. I had gained a deeper appreciation for my parents (as most people do after they live on their own for a few years. Thanks Mom and Dad!) Add with that my wife's family (who I love very much), and add new friends (who are more awesome with every year that goes by), and giving took on a deeper meaning still. 

Then, the boy came along. My boy. My very own. My son. I had no concept for the range of emotions that you can go through as a parent. They are good ones...most of them anyway. Giving to him has given me an even more heightened awareness that it is better to give than to receive.

Fast forward a couple more years. I feel more blessed than I can recount. I have very few real needs in my life. They are there and being addressed, but I am aware that there are many who are not as fortunate as I. I am by no means rich, but I do have a roof over my head, I am cooking a warm meal as I type, and there are presents under the tree for my family this Christmas. For those who are not so fortunate this Christmas I say a prayer and am moved to find ways to help. Giving to them is so much better than receiving myself, because by giving they find what they need and I find even more joy at Christmastime. 

As far as wants, I have them, and they are on the horizon and I have set my sights on achieving them. Some are toys for fun. Not all of the wants are things I can hold in my hands. To me those will be worthwhile pursuits. There are places I want to go with my family. Experiences I want to share with them. Lives I want to impact for the good. These are the things that I want the most. 

How has your view of giving and receiving changed over the years? What events have happened in your life to lead you to this view?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

We took our son to see Santa today. He was very excited to go. He stood eagerly at the front of the line. When it was his turn (he wasn't by himself, our friends brought their daughter along as well) he took a few steps forward and then froze. He wanted to see Santa, but was not so sure he wanted to sit on his knee. As it turned out, they had a great picture made and no one got too upset. 

I look forward to taking him to see Santa, because I love to see the wonder in my son's eyes. Santa is this mysterious character who wants to do him good. He is just like kids everywhere who want to see him because they can tell him what they most desire for Christmas. I read an interesting article the other day about the things kids are asking for. Some of the items may surprise you. 

There are the usual requests for toys or other fun things, but there is also much more going on. One boy told Santa that he didn't want a gift this year and for Santa to give his away to a kid that didn't have one. Many kids have asked Santa to bring home their mom or dad because parents have divorced. Some kids have asked for their siblings to not be sick anymore. 

Being a Santa would be a neat job, but it would be heartbreaking as well. People open up and tell Santa the truth. They share things with him that they don't share otherwise. Desires and hopes. Dreams and wishes. Part of it is the hope that the man in the red suit can make everything better, but more importantly he is a trusted figure, a wise old grandpa we can be real with. All the Santa can do is sit and let you talk and then wish you a merry Christmas, but in some ways this makes things ok. 

Most kids know deep down that presents are not the main reason for Christmas. It is a time to be kind. It is a time to show love. It is time for the best parts of us to shine through. Santa is a wonderful symbol of the season. He has the ability to point us to the main reason for the season, the gift that was given by God to us all. 

Do you know someone who is hurting this Christmas? Is there an act of kindness you could show? Do they need some extra attention? Who could you play Santa for this year?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Preview - Chapter 5 of I Believe: A Christmas Story

I Believe – Chapter 5

In what seemed no time at all, my little sister and brother were at the side of my bed pulling on my arms to wake me up.
“Get up Peter, it’s Christmas morning!” They said together.
We all three hurried down the hall to find my parents waiting for us by the Christmas tree. There were presents of all shapes and sizes. My sister and brother squealed with joy at the sight.
Then, I heard the strangest noise from one of the boxes. Something inside was…moving? The box had my name on it. What could it be?
I looked at my parents who smiled back at me.
“Well, open it son,” Dad said to me with a grin.
I tore open the box to find a puppy inside.
After “oohs” and “aahs” from my siblings my parents asked me what I was going to name the little pup.
I had the perfect name. Comet.
My sister looked at me funny when I told her the name. “You mean like Santa’s reindeer?”
“Yes, sis. Like Santa’s reindeer.”
“Peter, do you believe in Santa?” She asked me.
I looked over at my parents and smiled. “Yes, I do. And you should too! He is just as real as you or me.”
My sister giggled and ran off to play with Comet.
My dad came over to me. “It looks like you finally decided what you believe.”
“Yes, sir, I did.”
“Why is that?”
“Because there is so much to believe in.” I said.
“Yes, son. There certainly is.”

It has been several years since that night. And I still believe now as much as I ever did. I have shared Christmas the way Santa wanted me to with everyone I know. I have seen the spirit of Christmas grow and grow because of it. Now I am sharing it with you so that you can pass it on and share it with others.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gathering for Christmas dinner

Last night we had our first Christmas celebration with my family. My brother lives out of town, so we generally have Christmas with my mom and dad when my brother and sister-in-law can come up so we can all be together. It was a wonderful time. I love my big brother very much and do not get to see him as often as I would like. My favorite part of the evening was Christmas dinner...mexican style. I made spinach poblano chicken enchiladas (here is the recipe from Chef Rick Bayless' website) and beef fajitas.

There we were, my mom and dad, brother and sister-in-law and their grandson, my aunt and uncle, and my family all gathered around the table. We had a great time eating the feast in front of us. We had a great time enjoying each other's company. For dessert we had peach cobbler that I made, and an awesome frozen brownie sundae that my darling wife made (you can get that recipe here).

Why is the meal such an important part of the Christmas experience? Eating together can be a very intimate thing. Think about it. You don't have meals too often with people you don't like do you? But, when you eat with people you love, you relax and enjoy. Conversation has the freedom to flow. You savor the food and the time that you have with those around the table. 

Are you planning a big Christmas dinner this year? Or will it be an intimate one with just a few people? Whatever the case may be, take time and enjoy those around the table with you. It doesn't have to be the traditional fair. Eat food you all love. Savor the time together. It will make everything taste so much better. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The world is not very big anymore.

I started this blog a little less than two months ago with the intent of spreading a little Christmas cheer, and promoting my book as I went. I just looked at the blog stats and I am about to pass 1000 hits for the blog in that time span. For that, thank you readers. It has been a lot of fun to think and write about Christmas and I am so thankful that you have been joining me on this journey.

One of the cool features that many blogs have is the ability to see what parts of the world are reading your blog. Since I am right in the middle of the United States, I had no real idea how far my little blog could go. Last time I looked it had been viewed on 5 continents. I was, and am, amazed.

The world is not the big place it once was. The way we can communicate and share ideas now has made us all a lot closer to one another. It amazes me to think that someone in Russia, or Great Britain, or Brazil, or South Korea is reading my words and looking forward to Christmas just like I am. For all of you who have joined on the journey, thank you. Someone across the world from you appreciates you more than you know.

Christmas is 9 days away. To all you wonderful people around the globe, hanks for reading and looking forward to Christmas with me. We only have a few more days to go!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Enjoying Christmas Traditions (Guest Post)

For this post, I have asked my lovely wife, Marixa, to offer her view on Christmas. Below is a wonderful post she has written on family traditions. She is the love of my life and my best friend and I am excited to share this post with you. You can check out her blog at

Enjoying Christmas Traditions

Growing up my family was big on family traditions. We'd go to my paternal grandparents on Christmas Eve and my dad would read the Christmas story from the Bible and then we'd open presents with them. Then Christmas morning we'd open the rest of the gifts and then get ready to go to my maternal grandparents house for lunch and lots of family.

David grew up very different. His family doesn't really like traditions and so he didn't have any. When we got together he wanted to start some and he loves creating new traditions. We go to a candle light service at a local church on Christmas Eve and he likes to makes us cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. The Christmas David and I were engaged he wanted to start the tradition of watching a movie on Christmas Eve with my sisters.

Traditions can be a lot of fun sometimes, they are comfortable, you know what to expect and some are just fun! But they shouldn't be so rigid that they become boring or not enjoyable.

Over the years of our marriage we've changed some family traditions. We've realized that some things are great for a while but eventually fizzled out, or had to change out of neccessity. Where we used to do a sibling movie we don't do that anymore because Trey (our son) can't come with us and we want to be together on Christmas. Grandparents have passed away. And the there are the cinnamon rolls... I've requested a different option this year as the rolls are too sweet for me to eat first thing in the morning.

Christmas is full of so many traditions and just about every family has some, but we shouldn't become so fixed on them that there isn't room for new things to begin or fun to be had. After all Christmas is about love and family and community and if you can't enjoy the time together then what's the point?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas Daddy

I was in the kitchen cooking this evening. (I am the chef in residence at my house so this is a daily occurrence at Casa Willis). I could hear my boy wandering the halls playing. Then, he popped his head around the corner and smiled at me and said, "Merry Christmas Daddy." Yep, I melted.

He is almost two and a half years old. He has been saying various words for a while, but, of late, he has been putting together full sentences. He surprises me sometimes with what he comes up with. To say I am proud would be an understatement. I didn't know my heart could swell like this.

I told him Merry Christmas and he went on his way, playing happily. I stood mesmerized for a few and the excitement began to build in me. We get to share Christmas with him this year and he will be able to participate so much more. He will be excited when he sees the things we have gotten for him. He will be able to play and enjoy while we enjoy him. It is going to be awesome.

On that note, my wife pointed out to me the other day. This will be the last Christmas we spend for a long time where we get to sleep in a bit on Christmas morning. I am sure as soon as next year he will be waking us up long before the crack of dawn, eager to see what Santa has left. I can't wait. Truth be told, I will be just as excited as him.

I am starting to experience Christmas (and some of life) like a child again. It is an amazing feeling. I watch the wonder in his face and I start to feel some of the same. This is the good stuff.

Why are we so fascinated with having a white Christmas?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is the old Irving Berlin classic, White Christmas. We all know the song. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know... Did you know that the song has a verse before the famous chorus we are all used to? It does. The first time I saw the sheet music I thought, "Hey, what is this?"

The sun is shining, the grass is green, The orange and palm trees sway, 
There's never been such a day in Beverly Hills L.A. 
But it's December the twenty fourth,
And I am longing to be up north.

Strangely enough, the song made more sense to me after I saw those lyrics and I appreciate it more.

Why are we so fascinated with having a white Christmas? Here is my opinion: Snow is fresh, clean, and bright. When we wake up on Christmas morning and there is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground our world feels peaceful and calm. It gives us permission to stay in where it is warm and spend time with the ones we love...or to go out in the snow with them and play like we did when we were children. It brings a peace that is healing to the soul.

I have only experienced a few in my life. I live in Oklahoma and it does snow here sometimes, but there is no guarantee for the last week of December. So, when it happens I feel very grateful. The Christmas days that it has been sunny and 60 degrees make me feel a sense of loss and longing. I too want to be up north, where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I hope this Christmas day finds you in a place of peace and joy. If your Christmas is white, all the better.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Signing This Saturday at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City!

If you are in the Oklahoma City area, mark your calendars for this Saturday at the Full Circle Book Store in 50 Penn Place on Northwest Expressway. I will be there with my book, I Believe: A Christmas Story signing copies. If you can make it out for this I would greatly appreciate seeing you there! The book signing is from 3:00 to 5:00 this Saturday, December 18th.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Preview - Chapter 4 of I Believe: A Christmas Story

I Believe – Chapter 4

For all of my life I have seen photos of what Santa is supposed to look like. None of those photos ever came close to seeing him in real life. I was in shock and he must have known I was.
“Hello, Peter.” Santa lifted his right hand for me to shake. “I have been expecting you. How was your trip here?”
“It was…..good.” Not every day does a boy get to talk to Santa, and now that I was here with him. What was I supposed to say?
‘How did he know my name,’ I asked myself. ‘He’s Santa, silly,’ a voice inside my head reminded me.
Santa escorted me through the front door of the modest little cottage. It was no bigger than a small apartment. There was a small fire burning in the living room just off the front door where we walked in. In front of the fireplace were two chairs. Santa led me to one of the chairs and I sat down.
“You are probably wondering why I sent for you aren’t you?” Santa asked as my eyes wandered around the small cottage.
“Yes sir,” I replied.
“It seems to me that you have almost stopped believing in me.” Santa stood behind his chair as he spoke these words to me. “Tell me the truth my boy. You have started having your doubts, haven’t you?”
I was so embarrassed. My face felt hot and I am sure it turned the color of Santa’s suit. “Umm…yeah, sort of. Until now.”
“Does it make it easier for you to believe now that I am standing here in person?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, you are right here,” I said.
“But was I any less real before you got here?”
“No. I guess not.” Santa stroked his beard as he talked with me. He could tell that I was a bit ashamed and a little embarrassed, so he offered me a drink of cocoa to break the tension.
Frosty appeared with a tray of hot cocoa. I smiled. Santa smiled at me. He was clearly enjoying our time together.
 “You would have never believed that you would be sitting at the North Pole having your cocoa delivered to you by an elf named Frosty, would you?” Santa asked with a laugh. Frosty rolled his eyes at me and stomped away.
Now I was feeling more comfortable.
As Frosty walked away I noticed the room we were sitting in was larger than it was before. I was first amazed by how small the place was, but now it didn’t seem so small. I looked to my left and to my right. There was a workbench with unfinished toys that I had not noticed before. There was also no one else around when I came in, but now there were a few elves here and there busying themselves with…something.
Santa caught my attention again.
“So, its easier for you to believe since you are here with me?” Santa continued. “But I was just as real before you got here as I will be after you leave.”
“Yes. You were. I mean, you are.”
“Well then, if I am obviously real, why do so many people stop believing in me about the time they reach your age?”
I didn’t have an answer to his question. I honestly didn’t know.
“I will tell you what I think,” Santa stood and walked over to his work bench just behind his chair. “I think people forget that this world is full of so many things that are magical and wonderful. All they ever see is the ordinary stuff in life and they have a hard time remembering that there are many things out there that are extraordinary.”
Santa gave me a moment to let his words sink in. “I guess the ordinary is easier to believe because it is right there in front of you,” I answered.
 As I said this Santa turned back around from his bench to face me. “Yes, you're right. But what happens if we lose sight of the extraordinary?”.

“Well, I guess we stop believing, and life loses its magic,” I said finally comprehending what Santa was getting at.
I looked around again. The room had gotten even larger. There were elves everywhere working frantically. Each one was carrying a load of boxes to the end of the room which now resembled a large warehouse. The ceiling above me was at least 100 feet high and the building around me must have been the size of a couple of football fields.
I looked back over at Santa. He was smiling at me.
“Santa, why has this place gotten so big? It was so small when I arrived?” He could see the wonder and awe on my face as I continued to survey the scene around me.
“This place we are in has been the same size since you arrived Peter.”
“But Santa,” I exclaimed, “this place was so small when I got here. The north pole was no bigger than my arm.”
Santa walked back over to me from his bench. “No Peter, it is your belief that has gotten bigger. Come here and I will show you.”
Santa started down the steps just on the other side of his work bench. I was sure the stairs behind the bench had not been there before. He led me down the steps and across the large warehouse floor.

Ahead of us I could see something sitting on a large platform. It was…Santa’s sleigh! Elves were all around us carrying the boxes I had seen before. Presents! They were loading presents into Santa’s sleigh.
Santa walked up the steps onto the platform and motioned for me to do the same. With me standing by his side, Santa looked at an elf sitting in a booth across from the platform.
“Open the roof!” Santa shouted to the elf at the control panel.
I looked up in amazement. The sides of the roof started to slide back to reveal the amazing sky overhead. There were stars as far as the eye could see. And there was the largest metal pole I had ever seen. This was the North Pole! It didn't look like this before!
“You see Peter,” Santa said as he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “the North Pole is right there. Much bigger than your arm I might add.”
“But why did it seem so small when I arrived?”
“Because your belief was small.” Santa had the look of a wise old Grandpa on his face. “As you have been here your belief has gotten bigger and so has your perception of where you are.”
“So, you brought me here to make me believe again?” I asked puzzled.
“No, I brought you here so that other people could believe because of you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Peter, you never stopped believing, even though your belief was small. Many people have stopped believing all together. They forget the joy and the reason for the season: giving." Santa smiled down at me. “Imagine what would happen to those around you if they saw your belief and were able to believe because of it? Christmas would mean more to people because of you! It is a gift you could give them!”
I did my best to take all of it in as Santa continued.
“So many people have forgotten that its giving that makes Christmas what it is. People giving each other presents is nice, but people giving their time and care is so much greater. The more you believe in Christmas and all it is about, the more you will be able to share with people the real meaning of the holiday season!”
The elves were working around us in a fury. It was almost time for Santa to be off in his sleigh delivering presents to all of the good little boys and girls.
Santa looked around at his enormous workshop. “If everyone could see where we are now there would be no doubts in their minds that I exist. But that is not the point that I am trying to make. Whether they believe in me at all makes little difference. I am still Santa Claus. What I want you to take home with you tonight is that people shouldn't stop believing in Christmas. We must never forget that it is a season where men lay aside their differences and unite as brothers to help their fellow man. Christmas is far more important than I will ever be. It shows the world what could be.”
Frosty stepped over to Santa and pulled on his jacket. “The sleigh is ready to go Santa!”
“Thank you, Frosty!” Santa patted him on the head and climbed up onto the seat. “Take care of Peter and see that he gets home.”
“Yes sir!”
I was a little disappointed. My time with Santa had come and gone so quickly. I walked up to the sleigh to tell Santa one last thing.
“Thank you, Santa. I will always remember what you have shared with me.”
“I know you will Peter. Thats why I brought you here. Ok, the sleigh is ready! Time to be on my way!”
‘Something is missing’ I thought to myself. ‘Where are the reindeer?’
As if on cue, a line of elves led each reindeer into place and got them ready to fly Santa’s sleigh.
Santa looked over and smiled at me. “Can’t bring them out too early, they get a little antsy and take off before its time.”
With that, the roof of the large building opened even further. Santa began that famous old chant “on Dasher, on Dancer...”.
To my surprise there was one name left off the list. Comet. Frosty led him over to me and I climbed up on his back. Frosty hopped on behind me. We rose into the air just after Santa’s sleigh and followed it out of Santa’s workshop.
The North Pole was enormous, standing proud over the large building. Santa explained why it was the size it was, but still it was  awesome to see.
Santa waived to me one last time and disappeared into the night. Comet, Frosty, and I hurried the other way back to my house. Soon it would be Christmas morning and I couldn’t be out of my bed!
Comet was much nicer to Frosty on the trip back. He only kicked him off a block away from my house this time.
Comet and I landed not far from my bedroom window. I climbed down and petted him before I turned to walk away.
“Thank you Comet for coming to get me tonight. I will never forget what has happened. I'm sorry that you had to miss your run with the sleigh tonight.”
Comet snorted his approval at me. By this time Frosty had traveled the block and had overheard our conversation.
“He won’t miss out on it at all. We are to meet Santa here in a few short moments.”
I thanked Frosty the same way I had thanked Comet.
“You are welcome, young man. Be sure never to forget what Santa told you.”
“I won’t forget, trust me.”
I turned to walk away and Frosty stopped me one last time.
“Peter.” Frosty said as he tossed something to me. “Comet wants you to have this, so that you are sure to remember.”
I looked down at the object in my hands. It was a collar just like Comet's. I looked back up to say thank you but Frosty and Comet were both gone.
I hurried inside and snuck back to my room. Morning would come before I knew it and my parents would be in to check on me.
I crawled into my bed holding the collar in my hand. This had been an amazing night. I thought over everything Santa had said to me. People would believe because of me. Because I believe.
These thoughts swam through my head as I drifted off to sleep. 

Finding perspective during the holidays.

Christmas 2004 was a hard one. It is a Christmas I will always remember because I was two weeks out of surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. The doctors believed they had gotten it all, but were not certain. Also, I was to take it easy and not lift anything heavier than a fork. 

It was also a hard Christmas because we decided to sell our house and downsize to save money. We really liked where we lived, but felt we needed to.  So, we had Christmas and then moved. Did I mention I couldn't lift anything. I felt helpless. It was really hard. Looking back though, I feel very thankful. 

Thankful? How can that be? Let me tell you. The doctors had not gotten all of the cancer and it had spread. I had many chemotherapy treatments and they worked. I am still here and I am healthier than I have ever been. I have been cancer free for over 5 years. I am thankful. 

We moved out of a house we liked into a house we ended up not liking at all. It never felt like home. But, we are now in a home we love so much more than the one we originally had. We have been here over 4 years and life keeps getting better. I am so thankful. 

Through all of the turmoil I didn't always understand why it was happening. Why do bad things happen to people? I don't have the answer to that. However, I did (and do) have faith that the bad situations can and will turn around. Tomorrow can be a brighter day. Tomorrow will be a brighter day. It starts with a choice. 

So, I approach this season (and all those to come) with a deep sense of gratitude. It is not lost on me that spending Christmas with my family is a gift. It is a gift that I cherish. Christmas 2004 has given me perspective. 

Have you been through hard times during the holiday season? How did you respond?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter's nap, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name, "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

15 days until Christmas day.

I have been counting down to Christmas for over 200 days now. Yes. It is true. No. I am not crazy. Having written a Christmas story, I have spent most of the year working on it and looking forward to Christmas. It has been a lot of fun. It has gone fast.

I wrote the story over 4 years ago. I toyed with the idea of having it published, but eventually put it on the back burner and didn't pick it up again until last year. Last year I had most of the art done for the book. I had copies printed up and I tried to get it into as many hands as possible. It is a very cool thing to see someone else enjoy what you have written.

This year I have taken it up a notch. I had some more art done for the book. I revised the book. I have sought advice from people I trust and respect. I self published the title and have had a great time with the project.

I still want to get the book into as many hands as I can. Not just because I wrote the book, but because I believe in the message in it. Christmas is sacred to me. The spirit of Christmas is very much alive in me and I want to share that spirit with others.

If you have read the posts from my blog you will notice that I have not said much about the original aspects of Christmas: Shepherds, wise men, angels, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. I have not done this with the intention of neglecting this part of the story. The birth of Jesus is the reason I celebrate Christmas. I Believe: A Christmas Story is a story about believing in Christmas. Jesus is the reason I believe. He is the reason I give. He is the reason I want to share the spirit of Christmas with others.

My family continues to prepare for Christmas. We look forward to the time together. I look forward to being with them. To loving on them. To giving to them. To celebrating with them. Because of the book, Christmas day will culminate 8 months of expectation. I look forward to 15 days from now, and to the next year of thinking about Christmas and all it represnets. In fact, I may just have to write another Christmas book so I can just keep thinking about it.

Thanks for reading. The countdown continues....

By the way, be sure to leave a comment on the blog or on our Facebook page to get entered for tomorrow's giveaway. We will pick one lucky winner. I hope it is you!

Tis the season...

I was walking through the mall yesterday on my lunch break. It was nice to get out and stretch my legs while doing a little Christmas gift research. I saw a window display that struck me. It read 'Seasons Greedy', which I can only assume was a play on 'Seasons Greetings'.

Is this really the right advertising message for Christmas? Many stores would want you to think that. The message is telling all who enter the store that it is all about what you get at Christmas, not what you give. But, we know deep inside this isn't so.

I discover this more and more with each year that passes. I can't think of many things I want as Christmas gifts, but I know of plenty of gifts I want to give. Marketing messages like this only reinforce the way I feel. Christmas is not about me. We celebrate Christmas because of a gift that was given. Not because it is a time to be greedy. 

What messages have you seen that seem out of step with the true meaning of the season? What plans do you have to give intentionally this Christmas?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giveaway #2

This Christmas season we want to give back to our faithful readers and supporters. This week we’d like to give away a copy of I Believe. We would love to get a copy of our book into as many hands this Christmas as possible. So please read below for details on getting your hands on a FREE copy!
For the giveaway –
One lucky reader will win a signed copy of the book.

To enter – leave a comment sharing your favorite Christmas goodie
For extra entries — {leave a comment for each} blog, tweet or Facebook this giveaway.
Be sure and include @dwillis36 in your tweet
Giveaway ends Friday 10th at midnight CST
*Also, Marixacreates is also offering a 20% discount to all I Believe readers using coupon code IBELIEVE. Code expires December 24th.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking Forward to Christmas Movies - How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I really like Jim Carrey's version of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It is really good. Granted, I have a two year old and I really enjoy Dr. Suess because my son loves it. We generally read more than one every night. (My tongue is much more nimble than it used to be.)

This story is a great caricature of life. The story starts out with the town of Whoville busy rushing about buying gifts and overdoing it because Christmas is on the way. Sound familiar? Cindy Lou even asks her dad if it is all a bit much. Then the Grinch enters the scene. You know the story. By the movies end, we are reminded that it is people that make Christmas special, not things.

Strangely enough, I didn't see the movie for the first time until a couple of years ago (it came out in 2000). I bought it at a Black Friday sale in 2007. I didn't pull the wrapping off of it until 2008. We watched it and I loved it. It kind of got to me though. I was one of the busy Whovillians. (Not sure if that is a word, but you know what I mean.) I bought the movie because it was on sale at Walmart sale. I picked it up because it was cheap, not because I wanted to see it. More than one of my Black Friday trips have been like this.

Not all of my Christmas shopping was like this, but I did tend to get caught up in all of it. This year has been much different. I have been purposeful with everything I have purchased. I refused the temptation on Black Friday to buy anything on impulse. (I did go out for a brief stint, but it was because I found killer deal on a gift for my darling wife.) I didn't buy anything for myself that day either. It was very different than in years past.

Giving this year will be about showing love on purpose. I look forward to our celebration of Christmas because we have the chance to remember the reason for the season as a family. We have the chance to be together. I will cherish it. The gifts will be nice. The time together will be so much better.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What do you mean you hate Christmas music?

I looked at her in disbelief. She shrugged her shoulders and repeated herself. "I just don't like Christmas music." She went on to say she loves Christmas, but can't stand the music. I asked her why. Her answer? Because it is the same thing every year. New artist maybe, but same old story.

Strangely enough, I see her point. I love Christmas music. I sing along with almost every song that comes on, but I could see how it could annoy and even take away from the season. Sometimes ritual, for the sake of ritual, isn't necessarily a good thing.

It got me wondering. are there things that we do every year, without really knowing why we do them? Are we really keeping the spirit of Christmas if we are just going through the motions? I don't think so. We may even be doing ourselves harm.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said this: the only difference between a rut and a grave is this, the ends are kicked out of the rut. Are you in a rut this December? Have you been in a rut for some time? If the answer is yes, choose today to do something new.

Is it time to stop doing a certain tradition because it has lost its meaning? Do you need to rethink the gifts you give for Christmas? Is there a family in need you can help out? Do you need to stop listening to Christmas music?

I gave her a hard time for her stance on Christmas music, but I respect her for it. Not every aspect of the holidays appeals to everyone else. That is ok. I did tell her she might want to stay out of my office for the next couple of weeks though...I tend to sing Christmas carols a little loud.

Not every one feels the same at Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I know it is not this way for everyone. For some, Christmas has little meaning at all. Some have been hurt deeply at this time of year and would rather hibernate until January. Some have lost loved ones and the season is bittersweet. Whatever your situation may be, we all feel a little different at this time of year.

There is a great line in Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol that speaks on how to approach this issue:

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar year, when men and women by on consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they were really fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!

There is a line in all of that that strikes me. We are all fellow passengers to the grave. We are all human. We all have hurts and needs. Joys and sorrows. We need each other.

If you know someone who is hurting this Christmas, be there for them. Give them an extra gift of your love and attention. Be like Fred who was full of the Christmas spirit and chose to share it with his uncle year after year. It may be a hug, or having a cup of coffee to talk, or just being with someone as they hurt. If you have the opportunity, do it. It may be the best gift you have ever given.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Finding joy in Christmas even though things change. (Guest Post)

This post was written by my good friend Aubrey Green (you saw a post from her husband Steve not too long ago). Aubrey and I have been friends for several years now and she has a perspective on Christmas that I want to share with you. She is an awesome wife and mother (Steve has told me on many occasions), and a good friend. Their family is about to embark on a journey with CRM of living for two years in Spain. You can check out more about they are up to at their blog:

Finding joy in Christmas even though things change

Christmas has always been a very special time for me and my family.

When I was a little girl, I remember my dad sharing how it always tickled him to read the nativity story out of the King James Bible because it said that the shepherds found “Mary, Joseph and the babe, lying in a manger”. He picture all three crammed into a little manger and it made him laugh. From that day on I would start to laugh uncontrollably every Christmas Eve when dad read the story. Even now I can’t hear the story without getting the giggles, much to my husband’s dismay.

We usually began celebrating on Christmas Eve. Mom made a big dinner; we read about Jesus’ birth, opened up one present (only one) and watched White Christmas. Nothing says Christmas like Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby! Then the next day we opened the rest of the gifts and enjoyed them all day. Mom wouldn’t cook, we’d watch movies, read, whatever we wanted. It was a day of rest.

Even after I got married this was how we celebrated Christmas, with mom and dad and my sister.
But about the time my son was born, my parents moved away so far we couldn’t go for both thanksgiving and Christmas. We chose to spend thanksgiving with them. And then made all the snacks and goodies we typically had at Christmas time. It felt very festive! Almost as good as actually having both holidays with them.
The down side to all this merry making in November was that Christmas lost its appeal for me. Sure, we have our own family traditions. Yes, I know the “true meaning of Christmas”. But I would look forward to seeing my parents all year long, so once that was done, everything else was anticlimactic.

Christmas lost its magic.

This year, our family is changing how we celebrate. My parents are still too far away; in fact we didn’t even see them at thanksgiving.  And I think that may help me. Perhaps I’ve relied too much on what I knew from childhood, not spending enough time creating my own traditions. 

We are not giving many gifts this year. We are hoping to not receive very many either. This year we are spending our money on a family that can’t afford to have dinner, much less presents and a tree. After all, the true meaning of Christmas goes back to the One who gave the Greatest Gift to us, not just out of love, but because we needed it..

Christmas may never feel like it did when I was a child. That’s ok. Life goes on, things change. I am learning what Christmas feels like now as a mom, as a wife, as an adult. I am choosing to ignore the commercial rush of Christmas (Charlie Brown would be so proud!) in order to act more like Christ. Let’s see what that feels like.

And maybe I’ll still watch White Christmas sometime this month.              

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Believe: The Giveaway

It is my hope that you enjoy coming to this blog site and reading and thinking about the good Christmas that is to come. I have had a lot of fun writing for the site and looking forward to Christmas myself. It is my favorite time of year.

As you have seen the site features my book, I Believe: A Christmas Story. For those of you that have had the chance to read the book, I hope you have enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to write and has been a ton of fun to share with everyone. To that end I am going to give away a few copies of the book before Christmas. 

To get entered for the giveaway I need you to do me a favor. Each item gets you an entry:

1. Post a Tweet about the site.
2. Blog about the site.
3. Post on Facebook about the site and/or, visit our Facebook page and click the Like It button.

Leave me a comment on this post to let me know what you did and you will be entered for the drawing. Make sure to leave a comment for each thing you have posted.

I would love to get you entered for the drawing.  I will have the first drawing on Sunday evening. There will be more to come after that. 

I am very thankful for you taking the time to read this blog. Keep checking back for new thoughts and posts on Christmas. Let's make this the best Christmas yet!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making awesome Christmas memories.

Have you ever noticed that many of the things you love to do are multi-sensory events? What do I mean by this? We experience them with all of our senses combined. It makes more of an impression on our memory when more senses are used.

Christmas appeals to us in this way. Think about Christmas morning. The lights of the tree are on and the presents are wrapped and ready. The smell of pine or maybe cinnamon rolls is in the air. Presents are passed out and you rip into yours, tearing the paper off the present. You hear the oohs and aahs when you show off the gift. You take a sip of hot chocolate and savor the experience. 

Some of my best memories have all these components in them. I can remember the way everything felt, smelt, and everything else. Some of these times happened spontaneously, but many were because of planning. Either way the memories are awesome. 

With this in mind, how can we make this Christmas extra special? What extra touches can you add to your Christmas celebration to make the memories great?

How long is your list?

I bet you know someone who does it. You have been to Christmas parties where you have seen it. There may be 30 people at the party and there is someone who tried to buy a gift for everyone there. I remember it well. I got a 2 dollar bottle of cologne that I had never heard of.

They didn't really know me all that well. Had they given me a spirited handshake and a Merry Christmas I would have felt welcome and included. After all, I didn't get them anything, and wouldn't have thought to.

It left me wondering. Why was there the need to buy for everyone? I admit, I don't know the motive behind it in my example. But, I know that there are many people out there that buy gifts to gain approval. Or to avoid ridicule. Or, because that is what is expected.

I read a great post the other day called Worried About Christmas? It was a good read and I loved the first point in the post. We have the power to decide who we give to. We have to set a budget for what we can give and then go have a blast showing our love in this way.

Is your list longer than you want it to be? Is there too much list left at the end of your money? Show love intentionally this Christmas. If that includes giving a gift, wonderful. If it mean writing a letter or doing something that is inexpensive, do that instead. Whatever it means, give out of the love in your heart.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There is one in every family.

As I wrote in a previous post, we have a tradition of helping our friends decorate their house for Christmas. It is a great tradition that has taken on some fun parts over the years. This year I made some Snickerdoodles for the evening. Our friends made a wonderful potato soup. We decorated. Then, like every year we get together, we watched Christmas Vacation.

There are a lot of levels to this movie. Most of them are so hilariously wrong. From the trip to get the tree to the lighting of the house, the mistreatment of the neighbors to the cat being electrocuted, there are tons of funnies in the movie. One of the characters that has made me scratch my head since I first saw it? Yep, you got it...Cousin Eddie.

We all have one don't we? An eccentric relative that we hardly ever see. One we know will make some sort of splash at the family function. It is my sincere hope and prayer none of your relatives are quite like Cousin Eddie (none of mine are thankfully). But, I know that all of us have a few that are unique in their own ways. (I do hope I never find one of my relatives venting their sewage tank in front of my house!)

This may sound like a strange statement, but we need these people very much. A family is like a painting. There are patterns woven throughout. Each person in the family leaves their imprint on the way the overall picture looks. Some are the base colors. Some are the bright and beautiful ones. Some are the parts of the picture you can't quite figure out but grow to appreciate all the same.

I find it very fitting that Cousin Eddie is the reason that Clark gets his Christmas bonus at the end of the movie. Had Eddie not kidnapped Clark's boss, the boss would have never seen the errors of his ways. It was the odd family member that saved the day. I liked it this way.

Are there family members you haven't seen in a while? Are you that odd duck relative? Take some time and remind them you love them. They may be the odd duck, but family is family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Books, necklaces, and other cool things

It is 26 days until Christmas. This year has gone so fast. I am looking forward to December and the good times to come.

For those of you who have been reading the posts for this blog, thank you. I am grateful that you take the time to read these posts on Christmas and the holiday season. I will be posting, and featuring posts from others, through Christmas day. Please spread the word about what you are reading if you have found it worth your time. 

There are a couple of things I would like to share with you. As you see over on the right hand side of the blog page, my book, I Believe: A Christmas Story, is available for purchase. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy for yourself, or one as a gift for this Christmas, why not today? Click the Buy Now button to get started. 

Also, my very gifted and much better half (my beautiful wife Marixa) has items on her Etsy story that are perfect for Christmas time and would make excellent gifts this season. From necklaces to paintings, there is cool stuff there. Please visit and check out the items she has there. She can also custom make similar items. 

If you have a chance check us out on Facebook and click Like on the page for updates on the blog and ideas on Christmas. 

We will be having giveaways during the month of December, so stay tuned! Thank you again for reading. I appreciate you all and would love to hear from you.

Rediscovering the wonder of Christmas

This post was written by my good friend Steve Green. Steve and I have been friends for several years now and he has a perspective on Christmas that I want to share with you. He is good husband and father, and a good friend. He and his family are about to embark on a journey with CRM of living for two years in Spain. You can check out more about Steve at his blog:

Rediscovering the wonder of Christmas

After the birth of our son Christmas took on a whole new meaning in my life. Before it seemed like a hassle. I was tired of the excessive commercialization of the holiday taking away from the core message. Also, the constant bickering about what was “politically correct” in terms of expressing one’s self during the holidays left me frustrated. Every year the news was always the same, just maybe in a different town, or school. There was no “Christmas spirit” that we have heard about time after time in the many classic songs and stories. Shopping was an exercise in self-preservation. When all was said and done, I could find no joy in the season.

I knew the Christmas story. The original one, that is. I knew how Christ was born as a savior for mankind. The living embodiment of God on Earth. I understood the symbolic importance of recognizing this time of year and the many blessings I had in my life. But, still, I found no joy.

Oh, I liked the presents fine, however. More stuff to put in my house. Gizmo’s and gadgets. Toys and fun new things, much of which would wind up buried in a closet by the time Christmas came around again. Still, I would rate a good Christmas by the number of gifts I had under the tree. And again, once the gifts were opened, the boxes thrown away and the New Year had begun, I felt no joy.

Christmas, for me, was marked with a hollow feeling. An emptiness that did not make sense. The visit with family only seemed to accentuate the loneliness that came with their leaving. As we sang carols and used words like ‘festive’, ‘joyous’, and ‘merry’, I did not resonate with the sentiment. I did not understand the problem.

Then came the year that my son was born. Things didn’t seem that different at first. In fact it took a couple of years before I started noticing the change. Watching your children grow is like going back and discovering the world anew. You vicariously experience their sense of wonder and excitement as each new experience is sewn into the tapestry of their life and things that seemed understood or mundane now take on new meaning. Be it the first time he saw snow, or early encounters with ‘Santa’, or maybe the “Go-Go” Christmas lights that brought a smile to his face, I began to see an excitement to the season, something to look forward to. He returned wonder to a previously bland experience.

The real indication of change, however, would prove to be the key to my understanding the Christmas season and unlocking the joy that had been missing for so long. As he grew, every year I have looked forward, more and more, to the gifts that I will give to him. No longer do I care about what I am getting. Oh, I still like getting presents, but I no longer imagine, or hint, or long for the things that did not bring fulfillment. Now, I watch carefully at the store to see what draws him in, discerning what he truly wants, as opposed to the impulsive wants that pop up in the frenzy of wandering the toy aisles. I mentally note the things and plot how I can then come back and purchase it without him knowing it. Instead of imaging what I will be getting, now I imagine his reaction when he opens the gifts his mother and I buy for him. And in those moments I realize that there is a person known as Santa Claus, and I am him. Because I have found that joy comes not from trappings of the holiday, the race to have perfect decorations or a lot of presents, but instead it simply comes from giving of yourself, your time and money to make someone’s day, or month, or year a little more special. After years of looking for joy I have finally found it through the eyes of a little boy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One gift I gave that keeps giving back.

Do you have a specific Christmas that sticks out in your head as extra special? You may have many that come to mind. I do. One that I will treasure forever is the first one I spent with my wife, before we were married.

It was Christmas of 1998. I was newly engaged (September 1998) and very much wanted the gifts I gave her to show her how much I cared for her. So, I bought everything that looked like it would work. I think I gave her over 13 gifts. (Most of them fairly inexpensive...I was a junior in college.) There are many things I don't remember that I have her. A few I do. One is the bible she still reads to this day.

We were to be married two weeks after Christmas. So, I gave her the bible with her married name on it. I remember holding it after I had the inscription done. I read the name several times. It was awesome to see her first and middle name with my last name attached to them. It has been 12 years since that Christmas and I still pick the bible up from time to time to look at the name.

I knew I was spending my first Christmas with the woman I will spend the rest of my Christmases with. I love spending the holidays with her more and more. I find that I love her more with every year that passes. I am so grateful that she took my name and chose to be my partner in this life. She is the best friend and best wife I could have ever imagined. In fact, she is more.

Do you have a Christmas that sticks out in your mind as extra special? What happened that made it that way?

Christmas through a child's eyes.

Do you ever sit back and wonder what a kid sees when he looks at a Christmas tree? Or freshly fallen snow? Or bright shiny presents they know are for them? Wonder. Awe. Pure excitement. I saw that on my son's face last night. It was awesome.

The tree was decorated. No lights were on, except those on the tree and a few candles. The fireplace was burning steadily. Our family sat down in the middle of it all to watch the Polar Express. My darling 2 year old boy watched the movie in spots, but was more interested in the tree. At one point he stood up, walked over to it, and exclaimed, "I LIKE IT!" He made the same statement several times again throughout the evening.

I miss the childlike wonder in my life. I get so busy in my day to day. There is work to be done. Bills to be paid. The mundane silences the exciting. The ordinary clouds the extraordinary.  Here is an excerpt from my book that looks at this very issue:

     “I will tell you what I think,” Santa stood and walked over to his work bench just behind his chair. “I think people forget that this world is full of so many things that are magical and wonderful. All they ever see is the ordinary stuff in life and they have a hard time remembering that there are many things out there that are extraordinary.”
     Santa gave me a moment to let his words sink in. “I guess the ordinary is easier to believe because it is right there in front of you,” I answered. 
     As I said this Santa turned back around from his bench to face me. “Yes, you're right. But what happens if we lose sight of the extraordinary?” 
     “Well, I guess we stop believeing, and life loses its magic,” I said finally comprehending what Santa was getting at.

I am going to spend as much time with my boy as I can this Christmas season. I am going to try to see the world through his eyes for a bit. As I share Christmas with him, I know he will share his enthusiasm with me. Maybe, I will be able to stand in the middle of it all and exclaim at the top of my voice, "I LIKE IT!"

Do you have a little one that you are looking forward to spending the season with? What are you doing with them to make the season extra special?

Friday, November 26, 2010

More thoughts on decorating.

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful and talented people. I asked my friend Carissa to put some ideas together for a guest blog post and she was more than up to the task. She already had it done. She wrote about the subject in her own blog a while back. Please click this link for a little look into her decorating world. She is very good at it. (This is not surprising to me though. She is an awesome wife and mother of four...about to be five. She is extremely creative and super driven. I haven't heard of anything she has put her mind to that she hasn't accomplished. She has been like that since I met her over 15 years ago.)

I hope your day after Thanksgiving was awesome. 28 days to go until Christmas. I know they are all going to be great.

Keeping Christmas Traditions - Decorating Day

One of the traditions that we have kept year after year is Decorating Day. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving we pull all of the decorations out of storage and being the transformation process on our home. By dinner time this evening the house will look and feel like Christmas.

I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. I got to do a little shopping this morning. (I went to Target at 4:30 and saved almost 50 bucks on a gift for my wife! Instead of going two hours early and waiting in the cold, I went half an hour after they opened, still got what I wanted, and waited 45 minutes in the heat. Better choice). I get to do a little cooking here in a bit. There will be a fire started. Christmas movies start playing here in a bit as well. There will be Christmas music on. I get to watch my darling wife do what she does so well in decorating our house. I get to put up the tree. I love it all. 

Why is this tradition so important to me? It is all about being with my family and sharing the season with them. Every time we turn around we hear about a family that is estranged. Husbands and wives choose to separate. Kids get overlooked and feel insignificant. Something that was special is lost. This will not happen in my home. I choose my wife and our family. I choose to make the small things important. I choose to take the time to build our history of love and enjoyment of each other. As we enjoy the Christmas season together we build our relationships further. 

It is easy to do choose to do our own separate things, but the easy things in life are seldom the most profitable. Being together involves working together and compromise. It can be tough when you first start out. After you have done it for a while a funny thing happens. You change and so do they. You share interest. You look forward to things together. The holiday becomes less about me and more about us. 

So, I am excited about Decorating Day. It is going to be a good one. What are you doing with your family this season? Have you made plans to be together to enjoy the season?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A day for giving thanks.

I don't know about you, but I am excited about tomorrow being Thanksgiving day. It is a time to be with family and enjoy. It is a time to pause and reflect on the blessings that we have in our lives.

At dinner tonight it hit me how blessed I really am. I have a wife that loves me completely and I love her the same. I have a son who brings me more joy than I have ever known. I have a family that has raised me and supported me through all of life. I have the best friends I could have ever imagined. I have a home I love. I have things I enjoy. I have wants, but very few needs. I am so very blessed and so thankful. 

It is my hope that Thanksgiving day is not lost to you. It is a good day that can help us reset the compass of our lives. It can help bring us perspective. Thanksgiving helps us live intentionally. If we are thankful there is little room to take things for granted. 

So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving day. The Christmas season will really be in full swing when the day is done. There is no better way I know to start off the giving season than by giving thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Preview - Chapter 3 of I Believe: A Christmas Story

Chapter 3

We rose quickly into the air. I don’t know how reindeer do what they do, but it is amazing! In just seconds we were high above my small town and it quickly faded into the night. Comet set his course due north.
Somehow, I was locked into place. Comet zipped this way and that and I didn’t even budge. Frosty didn’t seem to take to riding as well as I had. He was a loud little elf man. He yelled at Comet for most of our trip North.
As we made our way further north the lights from below started to fade out. I could only assume that the North Pole wasn’t far away because every bit of civilization seemed to have vanished.
Comet veered again. This time he shook Frosty right off of his back. Fortunately we were not too high off of the ground and there was a large snow bank just below.
With a loud poof Frosty landed in the large bank of snow. He was hollering even louder now. “Comet! You... deer!”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the little man. As he walked out of the snow bank he very much resembled the snowman who shared his name.
Comet snorted his approval as he landed just feet from Frosty.
“We have important business at hand and you are playing games!” Frosty was obviously angry.
Comet yawned.  He was clearly not impressed.
With that, Frosty saddled up on Comet once again and we were off. In what seemed no more than 5 minutes we were in front of a small house on what seemed the middle of a frozen lake.
Frosty jumped down off of Comet and motioned that I should do the same. I climbed off of Comet’s back and headed for the front door of the little house.
‘This couldn’t be where Santa lives,’ I thought to myself.
“I know what you're thinking boy!” Frosty said with almost a grin. “You're thinking, ‘This is it? This is the  North Pole?” He pointed to a small pole on top of the house. It was not at all what I had expected.
“Let me just say this, things are not always what they seem.” With this Frosty walked up to the front door and jumped to reach the doorbell. On the third try he managed to ring the bell. Then, the most amazing thing happened: Santa opened the door.


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