Why red and green?
Fir trees, because of how they remained green during the winter solstice, were considered almost magical and therefore their green coloring came to signify everlasting life. Even before the birth of Jesus people created wreaths from the ‘evergreen’ trees and/or holly and hanged them upon their doors during the cold winter months for prosperity in the spring, and in ancient Rome people displayed wreaths on their doors to signify victory in battles.
This tradition continued, or was ‘rolled’ into ‘Christmastime’ when the church chose to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th. The color red was then added to represent the blood of Christ.
My father’s favorite color was red. He was also a “Christmas Eve” shopper. I tried hard to get him to shop earlier, but finally had to concede it wasn’t going to happen. So no matter how many people I was expecting for dinner that night, I knew my Christmas Eve morning would be spent shopping with my dad for one particular present. A red dress for my mother. We deviated a bit over the years, a red skirt and jacket, or one year it was a red coat, but for the most part, it was always a red, somewhat fitted, dress. They were married for almost sixty years, and my mother always acted like that was the first red dress she’d ever received upon opening his package.
When my father died in 2007, I told my sister I was going to buy a red dress for the funeral, and that tumbled throughout the family. At dad’s funeral all the girls, right down to my granddaughter, not yet six months old, were dressed in red and the men of the family wore red shirt or ties. That year, though I didn’t buy it on Christmas Eve morning (I’ll always keep that morning sacred by not shopping), I bought my mom a red blouse, not wanting to try and replace dad’s gifts, but to keep the tradition going. And did so every year until this one. Mom passed away in June. While shopping the other day I saw a blouse she would have loved, so I bought it, and will wear it tonight with honor as the family gathers.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
And, I must take a moment to mention my next Harlequin Undone, Disobeying the Marshal goes on sale January 1, 2012.
El Dorado, Kansas, 1881
Marshal Cord Donovan believed he was married to his badge—until one incredible night in Florie Rockford's bed changed everything. When Florie unexpectedly arrives in town with a desperate warning for his safety, Cord is determined to show her that their spark burns so hot that one night will never be enough.
But Florie has returned with more than just a warning—the consequence of their passion defies all the lawman's rules!
A short excerpt:
Florie lowered onto the couch and took a deep breath. It was too late to turn back. She was here. Glancing up was a mistake. The way he cast those caring eyes at her had her heart pounding and her insides growing warmer by the second. The uncanny way he made her feel was scandalous for sure, and she’d thought of little else since he’d left her house three months ago.
Could she tell him everything? Right now, gazing at him, it was hard to think. She begged her senses to remain, and settled her gaze on his shoulder, the exact spot she’d dug out the bullet. “How’s your wound?”
A deep frown formed between his hazel eyes. “Fine. What did you want to tell me?”
Twirling and twisting, her mind sought to pull up something besides the images she treasured. The ones of them alone, together. The ones she dreamed of reliving.
“Florie?” He knelt down in front of her.
He was so handsome—and honorable. The urgency she’d felt back at the farm zipped through her, settling real terror in her chest. “Those men you were chasing that day you were shot. It was the Winter gang, wasn’t it?”
“Were they at your house?” he asked. “Did they do this to you?”
Fear burned her throat as she whispered, “They’re after you, Cord. They’re going to kill you.”
His hand cupped her cheek. “The Winter brothers won’t hurt me.” His gaze never wavered. “Answer me. Did they do this to you?”
“They might already be in town, Cord, you have to leave, or…” She bit her lips. The desire to wrap her arms around him and hold on was so strong she trembled from head to toe. She’d put his life in danger, and now she had to save him. Had to. “I came—”