Laura Browning talks Christmas Presents

Today Laura Browning graces my blog, chatting about something we ALL love PRESENTS!!! 

My son is a man on a mission. He’s beennagging me for what seems like weeks already to go Christmas shopping, postinghis list in a prominent place on the refrigerator where I will be sure to seeit each and every time I open the door. He knows his “big” gift is already inthe house—somewhere—and because I went shopping again last evening, he alsoknows some of the other things he wants are…somewhere.

So I know that as soon as he’s left alonein the house for any length of time, the great Mission Gift Search begins. Howdo I know this? Not because he’s given himself away…well there was the incidentlast night with the flashlight in the room where the tree’s located…but becauseI did the exact same thing every single year growing up.

I found them in the trunks of cars.
I found them in the cedar closet in ourbasement.
I found them in my Dad’s Army footlocker(thanks for already wrapping them, Mom).

But then came the year of the bicycle. Ihad asked for a ten speed. And I knew my mother well enough to know that shewould never wait until the last minute to get a gift. After all, this was thewoman who documented in a little notebook any toy trades or sales betweensiblings, which we then had to sign so no one could argue over what belonged towhom. This was the same woman who yawned at day-after-Thanksgiving shoppingbecause she was already through. So I knew the bicycle must be somewhere aroundour house.

I looked everywhere I could think of, evenquestioning neighbors and friends to see if she might have sneaked it over toanother house. I finally had to draw the conclusion that I just wasn’t going toget the bike I wanted. Another thing my parents were strict about was budgeting,and the bike was on the upper limits of what they would be willing to spend onany one child.

Christmas morning arrived. I promisedmyself that no matter what was under the tree, I would be happy with it. When Ireached the bottom of the steps and turned the corner into the living room,there sat a gleaming white and chrome ten speed bicycle, parked right in frontof the fireplace.

In the garage, where I had looked manytimes, sat our ski boat with its canvas cover in place. I had looked under it,behind it, and on top of it. I had just never pulled the cover off to look init. You got me, Mom.
So, Jacob, search away. This year yourpresents are buried.

The issue of presents plays a role in myholiday release, Santa’s Helper. Theheroine, Merry, is working three jobs to support herself and her son, but alsoin hope of being able to provide him some sort of Christmas. Jack, the hero isringing the bell for charity outside the local mall where Merry’s workingpart-time as an elf.

Despite the fact she’s short on cash,Merry’s not short on the idea of Christmas giving as you can see:

“Ithought you might like a cup of coffee.”
Jack looked down for what seemedlike forever to a pair of bright blue-green eyes and curly red hair stickingout from beneath…an elf’s hat? He blinked. Was he delusional? Had the coldgotten to him to the point where he was imagining elves?
Her smile disappeared as she bither lip. “I noticed you when I came in to work. I thought you might be cold ifyou were still out here. And we—we had some leftover coffee.”
He took the cup from her.“Thanks.”
She shifted from one foot to theother. “Right. It’s black. I hope that’s how you like it.”
“It is.” Jack knew he was makingher nervous, but he couldn’t resist. He remembered her now. She
was the woman in the tailoredovercoat who’d been so cheap…tossing in just a buck. And here she was
dressed like an elf.
She hadn’t entered the mall toshop; she’d arrived for work. The woman in the tailored camel hair coat wasworking as an elf.
A small shiver shook her slenderframe beneath the costume.
“You’ll freeze out here. You shouldgo in unless elves have some sort of magical protection.”
This time she blushed, as ifonly now realizing she still wore her elf suit, and nodded. “I should goinside.”
She turned to hurry away fromhim.
“Wait!” She stopped and glancedover her shoulder. His gut clenched with sudden desire. “What’s your name?”
She blinked. “Merry.”
“Merry—likeMerry Christmas.”
And that is exactly what I wish for all ofyou. Santa’s Helper is availablethrough TheWild Rose Press.
If you’d like to check out my otherreleases, you can visit my website

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