A Christmas Story
I hope you survived the holidays, that they were better than expected, and if not, that you’re happy they’re behind you, and we can move ahead into a new year.
I’ve been busy. My children were home for ten days, which was absolutely wonderful; we had a good time together. And although we all dreaded this Christmas, as the first one without their father, we got through it, and it turned out to be much sweeter than expected, with a few tears and many bittersweet memories, and some real fun too. (We played games at the dinner table on Christmas Eve this year, with some fairly rude prizes, and laughed a lot. Irreverence and laughter was the perfect antidote to sadness, and carried the day.) And being together as a family was a real blessing.
Since then, I have been working very hard on a new book, and doing a huge amount of writing, which I usually do at this time of year.
I don’t have any important news to share with you, and am deep in my work, as I always am at this time of year. And I don’t know why, but I remembered a Christmas story tonight from a few years ago, and thought I’d share it with you. It made me laugh out loud, remembering the moment.
Shopping always relaxes me (even at a hardware store or a drug store, and I’m in heaven at a shoe store, even if I only buy a pair of sneakers. Shoes always cheer me up. And no, the story on the internet about my having 6,000 pairs of shoes is not true—-although I wish I did. But yes, I do like shoes.), in any case, I like to shop and there is a lovely store in New York where I buy really nice sheets every few years, and tablecloths. It’s an Italian store, and they have really pretty things. And usually, on Christmas, they send me a small gift, a little baby pillow for my head, with a pretty pillow case, something like that. And I always like what they send me. And because I like to shop, sometimes stores send me a little gift for the holidays. And I am always very well behaved and save all the gifts I get until Christmas Eve, and open them then. So even if I get a gift from a store, I don’t open it until Christmas, and I save my little stack of gifts until it’s okay to open them. I don’t cheat and open them early.
A few years ago, however, I was feeling sorry for myself a week or ten days before Christmas, and my little stack of gifts from friends, people I do business with, and a few stores, was sitting in my bedroom, and I noticed a package in the distinctive wrapping of the Italian linen store in New York that sends me a pretty gift every year. And I lay there in bed, thinking, oh what the hell, who will know…..and I confess: I cheated and decided to open their gift early. It was quite a big box, which was unusual, but I thought maybe they’d been even more generous than usual. And feeling like a sneaky kid, I hopped out of bed and opened their gift about 10 days early. And WOW!!! What a gift!!! It wasn’t a pillow case; it was an absolutely fabulous cashmere (!!!!!) bed cover, in a soft oatmeal beige. I am always frozen at night, so it was really the perfect gift. I was stunned that they had sent me such a beautiful gift. There was no card, just the wrapping from the store, but I hadn’t ordered anything from them, so it was obviously my annual Christmas gift. And it happened to be a freezing cold night, and I put it on my bed and snuggled under it with delight, really pleased at the fabulous gift. Further confessions: When I was married, I was very circumspect in my bedroom, I didn’t smoke in the bedroom, didn’t sleep with my dogs (or no more than one of them, I had two then), didn’t eat in bed, so as not to offend my husband. But living alone, I have developed some really bad habits I enjoy: I smoke in my bedroom, as long as I’m wide awake, read until all hours; if I get hungry, I eat cookies in bed, or whatever else I decide to eat, and often all four of my dogs sleep on my bed, or at least one or two. If I ever live with a man again, I’ll behave, but for now I don’t have to and can do whatever I want. So as soon as I put the gorgeous cashmere cover on my bed, my dogs hopped onto it with delight, and I cuddled up under it, smoking, and even had a cup of soup, and spilled a little on the cover. I made myself right at home with my new bedspread!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my new bedspread for the next 10 days, til Christmas, the dogs slept on it, I slept under it, I dropped a few ashes here and there, some cookie crumbs, a drop or two of soup. I made myself totally comfortable, and couldn’t imagine how I had lived without a cashmere bedspread until then. It was my largest and certainly most luxurious gift!!! And after I’d been happily living with it for about 10 days, my oldest daughter called me, quite annoyed, and said that she had ordered a cashmere bedspread from that same store, months before, and it had never come. Had it shown up at my house instead? Uh…ummm……bedspread??? CASHMERE bedspread?…..hmmmm….uh oh. I suddenly realized that my fabulous new gift was not a gift at all, but I’d been happily living on her new bedspread, and there had been nothing on the package to indicate that it was her order, and not a gift for me. Oh…..shit. We were of course talking about the bedspread I had been living with, smoking over, eating on, and that my dogs had come to love too. I was in deep trouble there. My oldest daughter is rabid about smoking, and won’t even be in the same building with it, does not approve of four dogs in bed, and I’m certain that she has never eaten Oreo cookies in bed (she has a husband. Everything is a trade off in life; you either get a husband in your bed, or get to eat Oreo cookies at midnight.). I confessed immediately, told her I had thought it was a gift from the store, and that I had been living with her new bedspread for the past 10 days, and offered to have it cleaned immediately. She was horrified and not happy with me. She assured me that no amount of cleaning would exorcise the smoke, dogs, and cookies, not to mention the soup I had spilled on it (just a little) the first night. And she had waited months for it to come. If she could have seen me happily living on her bedspread, she would have had a stroke. As it was, she wasn’t too happy. The end of the story was that she ordered another one, and I wound up buying the one I had adopted illegally. And to tell you the truth, I love it, and am still living with it, and probably will for years. But if you could have seen me living it up on her bedspread, and my face when she asked if I had seen it…..bedspread??? What bedspread??? Oh THAT bedspread…..you would have laughed too. I still laugh when I think about it. It was expensive when I had to buy it, but well worth it…..and I still chuckle when I see it, and drop a few more Oreo crumbs on it, as my dogs lie happily across the bed, and I smoke while reading a book…..to each his own, and there are more ways than one to get a new bedspread….I would never have bought such an elegant one for myself, but I’m glad I did. Now I’m more careful when I open Christmas gifts, and make sure that they are in fact for me. I hope you liked your gifts this year too!!!
Much love, Danielle
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It was so nice to check in tonight and see you post such a delightful memory. When my husband travels I let the dog up on the bed, read until I can’t hold my eyes open one bit longer, and snack in bed. It’s funny but the dog knows the minute he leaves that rules need broken sometimes!
Your christmas story came at the right time. I had a tough day at work and needed a good laugh. It had me howling..such a good laugh. You’ve no idea…and it sounded a lot like me as I do the same thing.
Thanks for the good laugh!
Great Story Danielle…LOL……poor Daughter….wow…Cashmere Bed Cover…sounds lovely…but smoking…oh no….sorry….but let this be the year to stop….
Just started reading…Irresisible Forces….
Loved A Good Woman…Thank you….
Carol O. in So. Calif.
Dear Ms. Danielle Steel,
Thank you for your heartwarming story on a Christmas present!
I just finished reading “Family Ties” today. Somewhat addicted to your stories. Since last year continuing to read your works. Every time I wonder how impeccably you could make it evolve into exciting ones without any betrayal. As for Iranian culture, I remember my friend’s elder sister got married with an Iranian, and had some problem or something. At all times your stories are giving us something real and wisdom. Really happy to touch upon your genius. Great thanks.
Your cashmere bedspread sounds heavenly. Please share the name of the store. I would like to order one.
I luv u nd ur books. I just read THE GIFT yesterday nd i luvd it,does it av a sequelae,if yes pls let me no.thks nd compliments of d season.
What a great story Danielle? No wonder your daughter was upset she has a great taste and the cashmere was posh. I just laugh and a lot stuff happens between mothers and daughters.
I am happy again connected to you again.
Great Story! Now we all want a cashmere bedspread!!! 🙂 And, why wouldn’t you usually buy yourself such a luxurious gift??!! You SO deserve it!!! 🙂
I enjoyed the Christmas story, but I really wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Happy Birthday.” I can’t help but wonder if there’s a sequel.
I just bought a new bedspread for my children, they are so happy. Get something special make your life full of good energy!!!! All the best in your writing!!!
it’s always a wonderful thing for me to read your blog, because I am still writing on my first novel (language: German) and so it’s nice and quite helpful for me to read something from a great writer, while I am working on my book.
For me your blog is just like a cashmere-bedspread 🙂
Thanks a thousand times for your work, blog and being.
Your reader and time-traveller,
Michael B., Mainz, Germany.
Just want to say love your books and was just wandering if there any new movies in the works? I just finished Lone Eagle and it would make an awesome movie
The sudden burst of laughter that I experienced after reading the Bedspread story is priceless…..I always say we are so much more alike than different…Heres to a healthy, happy , 2012 ….One filled with memories that last a lifetime….Adrian (shoe-dog)
That cashmere bedspread sounds wonderful! Just wanted to say I read “Hotel Vendome” & loved it! No tragedy in it, just a happy story! Please write a sequel! My friends & I want to read more about Hugues Martin’s family! There is so much tragedy & heartbreak in people’s lives, they need a happy escape! Reading a book is an escape even for a little while, so please write “happy” books like ” Hotel Vendome”. We’ll be waiting & hoping for a sequel!
Danielle, your the best… I love all your books!!! Just read 44 Charles STreet.. Fantastic . Please keep up your wonderful work!!!
My name is Conner. I gave you my mother’s email so you can text her. She loves your books so for a Christmas present you can text her and I am making her a book.