One of my favorite pre-holiday memories is heading to the craft store with my mom just after Thanksgiving. Every year there would be kits to make our own ornaments – paper and pictures, paints and markers, dough for some figures… The store was old and musty most days, but during the holidays the must seemed to lift, leaving only fresh air and possibilities. Over the year I made my own Christmas balls, a couple of disfigured horse attempts, but mostly stars or snowflakes.
What I learned from those early attempts is that I’m not overly artistic. I can color with the best of them, but to draw my own pictures? Sad, sad, sad.
So, as an adult, I’ve tweaked that tradition just a bit – we head to the mall on Thanksgiving weekend and pick out a family ornament from the ornament maker and have it personalized. Most years the kiddo (she’s 4) also picked out a personal ornament, too. This year it was a princess castle that looks suspiciously like Cinderella’s. One year it was a carousel horse on a candy cane…our family ornament this year is three owls sitting on a branch because, as the kiddo says, ‘it makes our family look like a friend of Pooh’s.’
I love our holiday tradition of picking out the yearly ornament…almost as much as I like unpacking the rest of the ornaments later that day and decorating our tree. What about you? What is your favorite holiday decorating tradition?
About WHAT A TEXAS GIRL NEEDS
Vanessa Witte is ready to finally claim her life. The middle of three daughters born into the Witte family – a powerful Texas name – she’s been content to float through life. Being dumped by her shady ex? A blessing in disguise. Having a one-night-stand with Matias Barnes? Not one of her more stellar moments. But she’s back in Lockhardt with a secret and a reason to start fresh: A baby.
Matias Barnes knows all about society women – it’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn’t like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation, or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she’s so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?
"I’ll take the bill, Vern," she said, holding out her hand. It was about time she started paying her own way. One tank of gas wouldn’t exactly repay the family, but it was a start. Added bonus, paying her own bills might help overhaul the character she’d found so seriously lacking in the last few months.
"It’s easier for ol’ Mitch to keep his records if I just add it to the ranch total."
"I’m not a ranch employee. This isn’t a ranch vehicle. I’ll take the bill." Vanessa couldn’t remember ever paying for a tank of gas here. Come to think of it, unless she was trying to impress someone, she had rarely paid for anything to this point in her life.
Vern handed her the receipt. Fifty bucks? Holy crap, how much did gas cost? Stupid question, Van, obviously it costs fifty dollars. She reached into her bag for her credit card and then remembered that was part and parcel of the Witte upbringing. Paying with Grandfather’s credit card? Not character building. She pawed through the baby blue Coach bag but only came up with two twenties and some loose change.
"Just charge it to the ranch, Vern." Mat Barnes’s voice echoed under the station’s overhang, chilling Vanessa. "The Double Diamond will cover it." We always cover her bills, his tone implied.
Vanessa squeezed her eyes closed and swallowed. Her fingers closed over another bill. Please let it be a twenty. Or a ten. She opened her eyes.
Three twenties. Triumph!
"I’ve got it Mr. Barnes, thank you," she said, chilling her voice as she handed the cash to Vern. He looked from Mat to Vanessa, obviously confused over what was going on between them. Vanessa held his gaze for a moment. Vern took the cash and hurried inside.
"I think we’re past the ‘Mr. Barnes’ stage, don’t you?" Mat watched her from beneath the tipped-low brim on his cowboy hat, his coal-black eyes boring straight to her soul. Yes, they were past the Mr. or Miss stage, technically, but not calling him Mat helped her keep her distance.
The way her heart raced at the mere sight of him she desperately needed that space.
She looked away, crossing her arms over her chest. Her gaze caught on the frayed edge of his jeans—which were worn in all the right places, she noted—and today’s tee, tight across his shoulders, read, ‘Chicks Dig Scars’ over his well-muscled chest.
Who was she kidding? Calling him Mr. Barnes didn’t keep her from noticing just how delectable Mat was. Nothing could do that. Not in broad daylight. Certainly not the twinkling fairy lights during Kathleen’s wedding reception.
"I don’t think a night spent in my grandfather’s hayloft makes us best buddies," she said, hoping against hope he would just leave her alone.
"Ahh, but what we did in that hayloft is another matter." He lounged against the side of her Porsche as if he might stay there forever.
About the Author
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.
To comment on Kristina Knight’s blog please click here.