"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. " ~John Steinbeck
On the first day of winter my true love gave to me . . . What is it about romance and snow that gets us so excited for those wonderful holiday books and movies that begin to arrive just when we're ready for a bit of magic? Is it the spirit of Christmas that makes us believe anything is possible? Sweet Christmas romances are a far cry from the romantic thrillers I like to write, which is why I write both, but this time of year it's tough for me to put on my suspense hat when I'm mostly thinking about twinkling lights, walking through the winter forest, or listening to the snow fall from the heavy branches of pine trees. It is magical!
I truly believe it is that very magic that has those so inclined, craving the sweet holiday romance stories.
“There’s nothing you can’t do.” He kissed the side of her neck, a brief touch of his lips before he leaned back. “I want to hear all about everything,” he said. “But first . . .”
Cameron veered the gelding off the road and into one of the open pastures, and urged the horse into a gallop. McKensie held onto the arm wrapped around her waist, closed her eyes, and let go of her fears.
~McKensie's Christmas Gift~
Some of my favorite Christmas books, historical or contemporary, are written with that special and magical ingredient—love. Love for family, love for friends, love for lovers. The possibility and promise of romance get us to pick up the book, but it's the love between the pages that keeps us grasping for more of the same all winter long.
There are some who say that winter is the most romantic season. Do you agree?
Longer days and cozy nights sure offer plenty of romantic opportunities. It may be the first day official day of winter, aka the Winter Solstice, but some of us have already enjoyed the beauty of snow carpeting valleys, hills, and mountains. For ancient cultures, this day was time of death and rebirth, which yeah, is not very romantic. But in their worry over starvation was also hope. They lit their fires and slaughtered animals to feast and help carry them through the long, cold winter days. If you go back through history and research how different cultures celebrated this day, you'll be hard-pressed to find an easy link between then and the wholesome Hallmark movies of today, but that's exactly what happened.
I give credit to writers like Washington Irving and Charles Dickens for helping people to unearth lost customs and even create new ones. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the USA on June 26, 1870, and it did not take long for us to create our own customs. Christmas has been around in a variety of forms for centuries, and all of that history, with the help of some clever storytelling, has helped shaped what we celebrate today.
The next time you pick up a Christmas book or watch those wonderful holiday movies, remember that the romance of the season are in the spirits of giving and love. And to think it all began with the first day of winter.
However and whatever you celebrate . . .
Many happy wishes for a bright and merry season!
McKensie’s story really began in 1892 in Wyoming Territory, when her namesake ventured west with her twin sister, Madison. The Wycliffe Hotel, Caitlyn Marsh, and the fictional town of Wycliffe first came to life in “Teton Christmas,” a story I wrote under the name MK McClintock, which is a part of the short story collection, A Home for Christmas. When I wrote “Teton Christmas,” I always knew someday I would revisit the characters and the charming town. Little did I know it would be through a descendent 127 years later.
McKensie's Christmas Gift by McKenna Grey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: 1
Language Level: 1
Violence Level: 1
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