Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Special Guest: Author Sandra D. Bricker

It’s the week before Christmas
and all through the house
are notes taped on desktops
and my click-clicking mouse.

I’ve always been such a fan of Christmas. Well, almost always. We had a huge extended family when I was growing up, and the holidays were jammed with all the traditional stuff. Ohio snow flurries, a Christmas Eve luminaria in the neighborhood, big family dinners, Christmas carols and eggnog, presents stacked to the rafters, and the most horrendous Christmas sweaters! Oh, how I loved Christmas back then.

In my late 20’s, reality started to bite a little. I was always such a Daddy’s girl and, on my second Christmas away from home, my Dad had a massive heart attack. I flew from Los Angeles to Florida to be at his bedside, and I was given the gift of eight amazing days where time stood still. While he healed, I got to be Daddy’s Little Girl again, and we spent the most wonderful time together. On the morning that I was due to fly back home, however, his big old heart gave out once again and, this time, he wasn’t revived.

The following year, my Mom flew out to L.A. to spend our first Christmas without him together. The only trouble with that was … Dad was just about the only thing we’d ever seemed to have in common. What in the world were we going to talk about for two straight weeks? That Christmas, we started down a road without the very large personality of my father to fill up our lives and … what do you know?! My mom and I became friends.

When she became ill, many years later, I left Los Angeles and moved to Tampa so that I could provide care for her. They told me I’d be fortunate to have her with me for three more months … but she didn’t pass for three more years. And by the time she went to join the love of her life (and truthfully, the love of mine, too) in a much better place, my mom was one of my best friends. But, like my dad, she left me right after Christmas.

I tell you all of this so that you’ll understand (and forgive, if necessary) the following statement: I really don’t like Christmas any more.

I know, I know. But at least you understand why, right?

Christmas is no longer wreath cookies, family dinners and presents under the tree. I’m a diabetic with a weight problem, so sugar cookies and fruitcakes … not so much! The family dinners I attend these days are with other people’s families, and don’t get me started on the pressures of Christmas shopping! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the actual holiday that I dislike. How could I?

In March of 1987, I came to terms with the true reason for the season, and I haven’t been the same since. So celebrating the incredible blessing and absolute privilege of what Christmas morning actually means is one of the greatest joys of my life. But what we’ve done to distort it, distract us from it, color over it … well, that just adds to my lack of euphoria each year as the holiday season approaches.

So a few years ago, I started making a conscious effort to de-commercialize my own personal Christmas. I cut back on my card list; I got a small (but stunning!) Christmas tree, and I made a few dozen clay angel ornaments that I use every year. I started broaching the subject of not exchanging gifts with my inner circle of friends, and instead I began funneling the money I would have spent into the hands of a couple of needy charities I’ve supported over the years.

This year, I requested some extra time off from the day job, and I’m doing something really exciting for Christmas: I’m closing myself away in my house with my dog and my little Christmas tree, and I’m starting a new book. A comedy. About a girl who hates Christmas.

If my dad were still with me, he’d surely point out to me (between versions of Jingle Bells and O Holy Night on the stereo) how things always seem to come full circle. My mom would ply me with sugar-sprinkled Christmas tree cookies and pumpkin pie, interrupting my writing flow every 20 minutes or so to tell me how proud it makes her that I’ve followed my dream. All these years later, they are still the voices in my head, especially at Christmas.

No matter how we spend it … whether there are stockings hanging by the chimney with care, or if the glow of the luminaria has been replaced by the vibrant hum and glow of the laptop … it’s still a time to remember the true reason for the season.

The teenager in my head just whispered that it has something to do with chocolate-dipped coffee cookies. But we know the truth, don’t we?

Sandra D. Bricker has been publishing in both the Christian and general markets for years with novels for women and teens, magazine articles and short stories. With 10 books in print and 3 more slated for publication through 2010, Sandie has carved out a niche for herself as an author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the inspirational market. Last year’s Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas garnered three readers’ choice awards, and this year’s Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, as well as the devotional she co-authored called Be Still … and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, has them lining up at bookstores and author signings. Sandie was an entertainment publicist for 15+ years, an experience which fuels her penchant for promoting her books with flare and creativity. She currently writes for Summerside Press and Abingdon Press while working a day job as a content editor in Tampa, Florida, where she resides with a free-spirited collie named Sophie.

All graphics except the header are from: http://www.christmas-graphics-plus.com/ (the header is designed by our own talented Lisa Richardson)


  1. Thanks for visiting us Sandie and thanks Suzie for transporting her to Inktropolis.

    Sandie, I think there's a lot of people who have had disappointment or broken expectations flavor their Christmas memories. When everyone is wishing you a Merry, and you don't get a Merry--it happens. Add pressure to please, overspending and over scheduling. Yikes!!

    Seems people are beginning to turn to a more simple style. I know I have. It's wonderful. I wish it were more so for all of us. Your Christmas present to you this year sounds great, Sandie! Enjoy!

    Somewhere in this year's hustle-bustle, may we all find peace from the greatest of the traditions--remembering the birth of a baby who came to change our lives.
    Merry Christmas!

    For unto you today in the city of David a Savior was born. Christ the Lord!

  2. Sandie, thanks for visiting the Well!

    All your books sound wonderful; do you have a favorite?

    A girl's gotta have a place to start!!!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. I'm so glad you came to share your thoughts and experiences, Sandie. Thanks for being our guest today.

  4. Thank you for your candid view of the Christmas season, Sandie.

    Our family's view has evolved the last few years as well. We've dropped sending cards and 2 gift exchanges. Our own gifts under the tree are half what they used to be although that might be due to the more expensive electronics taking over the quantity.

    Suzie, thanks for introducing Sandie to me.

  5. book sounds great


  6. Thank you Suzie and Sandie,
    I love the title, Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. :)You just have to laugh. I was reading about this devotional somewhere else and it looked great.

    Oh and Sandie, thanks for the romantic comedies. I love them.

    You'd think a peaceful Christmas, a cup of cocoa, and lots of presents related to my writing needs would be the ultimate. :)

    But the ultimate is the wonder of a child born to die for my sins.

  7. A heartwarming post from Sandie and Suzy.

    This year I am focusing on the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of our Lord.

    Let us all rejoice on the day that Christ was born.


  8. Patti, my favorite book is always the last one I wrote. Probably like most writers? So that would be Always the Baker, Never the Bride, which won't be out until next fall. Meanwhile, hit Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida. I had a ball with that one!

    Thanks so much for stopping in, everyone! I love the Inkwell. I hope you'll all invite me back again soon.

    Merry (low key) Christmas to all!

  9. Sandie, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Christmas season. Also, I'm really enjoying reading Be Still... and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, the devo I recently won in a drawing on this blog. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas :-)

  10. Hello Sandie, my Abingdon sister! Thanks for visiting.

    I love Christmas, but this year I've been particularly struck by the commercialness of it. Don't get me wrong, I love buying gifts and decorating trees. But for some reason, I'm more put off this year by the desperation of "getting just the right gift." If everyone only realized we've already been given the best and perfect gift, Christmas would be a lot more fun and much less stressful!

    May you and yours have a blessed, merry celebration!

  11. Hi all. How are you?


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