Guest Blogger: Melissa Ann Goodwin

You’d think that by now I would have learned my lesson about touching stuff at Grandma’s house. I’ve had plenty of time to think about that while lounging in this hammock under the Tiki Hut on this white sandy beach, with just three days to go until Christmas.

I’ll back up a little and explain. Last year, when I was 12, Mom and I were going through a rough time, so we went to spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa at their house in Vermont. I was pretty down in the dumps, and I kept wishing that I could escape to a place where things don’t ever change.

Grandma had put out her miniature Christmas Village – you know, those collections of little cottages and Ye Olde Shoppes, with carolers and a skating pond and all that. It’s really pretty and old-fashioned looking, and I admit I was kinda fascinated by it. You probably won’t believe this, but one night I made the BIG mistake of touching something in the village, and the next thing I knew, I was in it! Even though I’d been wishing I could live in the Christmas Village, the minute I got there, all I wanted to do was get back home.

Anyway, that’s all another story, because the other day, Grandma said, “Jamie, I think we should go with a Polynesian Christmas theme this year!” So instead of putting out her Christmas Village with the cotton batting snow and tiny cottages, Grandma got all this white beach sand and spread it in a big box on top of a table. Then she added a bunch of fake palm trees and all these miniature Tiki Huts. She strung colored lights all over it and added some fat little Santa Clauses wearing grass skirts, leis, and Santa hats.

Last night, after everyone else was in bed, I came back into the living room to check out the Polynesian Christmas beach scene. I saw that one of the Tiki Huts looked a little crooked, so I reached out to straighten it, and … well, I think you can figure out what happened next ….

It’s hot out there on the beach, but it’s nice and cool here under the Tiki Hut. A few minutes ago, one of the fat Santas in a grass skirt said he’d bring me another ice-cold lemonade. If I squint, the white sand looks a little like snow. The ocean water is an amazing swirl of colors that reminds me of Mom’s opal ring. While lying in this hammock, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to get back home in time for Christmas. But this year, I’m 13, and I just spotted a couple of really cute girls in bikinis heading this way. So now I’m thinking that maybe I’ll just hang out here under the Tiki Hut a while longer, and worry about all that other stuff later.

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Melissa Ann Goodwin
Author of The Christmas Village
I treasure wonderful memories of a happy and carefree childhood growing up in the beautiful New England town of Andover, Massachusetts. I am especially grateful to the teachers there, who encouraged me to read the books that inspired me to become a writer. I have written many stories, poems and articles for the Fun for Kidz family of childrens' magazines, and my non-fiction work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including Guideposts' Angels on Earth, Caring Today, and The Caregivers' Home Companion. I'm also a restorative yoga teacher, that's why my blog handle is "WriterYogini." My husband, artist J. Richard Secor, and I currently live in Santa Fe, NM, but we've sold our home and plan to tour the U.S. and Canada in an RV starting next spring.


Janet, said…
I enjoyed reading this column. I am also a children's writer and write a column for them in a regional magazine. The Christmas Village sounds like a really good book. Good luck with all your writing.
Sounds like hanging out at the Tiki Hut is better than the Christmas Village.
LR said…
That was so cute. Loved it. The cover is also adorable.
Anonymous said…
Its great to meet you Melissa!! Best wishes to you and your book The Christmas Village!
Shirley Wells said…
I loved that. The book cover is wonderful too. Good luck with The Christmas Village, Melissa!
Linda G. said…
Perfect tie-in to the Tiki Hut! :)
Slamdunk said…
Well done Melissa. It sounds like you are in for some fantastic adventures with your new direction in the RV.
Joanne said…
From the looks of that beautiful cover, it looks like your memories of Christmases in New England made it to the page ... Life is the best muse, isn't it?
Ciara said…
I prefer the white snow, but I grew up in Florida and had way too many holidays at the beach. :)
Christmas under the Tiki Hut--Lovely!
KarenG said…
I can't wait to get a copy of this book! I want to hold it in my hands and peek often at the beautiful cover while reading.
Tracy Jo said…
Already purchased this one. My Mom is reading it first and I can't wait to read it over this Holiday season. Great job, Melissa!
Hi Everyone! Thanks for all the great comments! This was so fun for me to write! I'm delighted to meet you all - thank you for the well-wishes with the book, thank you, those of you who've bought it or are buying it - I hope you love it.

Joanne - my childhood New England Christmases were definitely my inspiration for the Vermont Christmas in my book.

Look forward to chatting more!
Clarissa Draper said…
Sounds wonderful! What a unique idea with the sand and tiki huts.
Hi Clarissa! This post was the most fun I've had in a while!
Melissa sounds like a true adventurer. RVing around the U.S. would be so much fun. And what a wonderful way to find more stories to write about.
Liza said…
Oh I like this idea! I'm off to find a Polynesian themed Christmas Display to touch!
Kathi, I'm thinking my new blog will be called "Reluctant Adventures of a Confirmed Homebody." I am so NOT adventurous, I love being at home! But I am very excited about this and my home will be going with me, so stay tuned!

I hope there will be tons of stories - I'm sure there will be...
Robyn Chausse said…
Hi Melissa,
Loved this post--especially fun having already read The Christmas Village. Any sequels planned?? Is this a teaser?
Liza, it's sounding pretty good to me too - it was 7 degrees here in Santa Fe yesterday - that's just unheard of! :-)
Arlee Bird said…
Lovely post. I've often looked at those miniature villages, Christmas and otherwise, and wished I could be whisked away to that magical place.

Tossing It Out
Hi Robyn - a sequel isn't out of the question ...but it's also not first on my radar screen...I'd like to go back to Canterbury too..

Arlee, hi! My book can take you to that magical place :-) Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi.
What a cool concept for a book. I love it!
Sally said…
Cute twist on your story. A pretty beach sounds inviting.
Carol - thanks!

Sally - a beach does sound good right about now ..

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.
Carol, thanks for introducing us to Melissa. This sneak peak really drew me in. Best of luck with The Christmas Village Melissa! Julie
Anonymous said…
When I was a kid I wanted to fall into the miniature world of dolls and figurines. I like the Grandma's decorations.

Great story. :)
Hi Empty Nester, now you have to find out what happens to Jamie in the Christmas Village .... how will he ever get back home????

Hi Medeia, I think miniature worlds have such appeal too!
Julie said…
What a clever post! I'm in the middle of reading The Christmas Village right now and I love it, great work, Melissa! :)
Lydia Kang said…
A lovely idea for a story. :)
Thanks Julie - I'm glad you're enjoying it! I hoped you would ..

Hi Lydia! Nice to see you again :-)
Carol Kilgore said…
Melissa - Thanks so much for guest blogging with me. You had a great turnout. I hope you had fun :)
Carol, thank you for your generosity! It was great fun - I really enjoyed writing this post and I'm glad folks enjoyed it.
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays.