I'll Be Home For Christmas - The Winning Entry
December 1, 2011

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By Ursula d'Aria

December 1962. 

It was cold.

It was getting near that happy time when friends and family congregate and celebrate, meet and sing, and are just a touch nicer and more understanding to one another ... and "the most wonderful time of the year" tunes are floating in stores and public buildings ... Salvation Army man power are adding their own jingle bells ... Pardon the touch of sarcasm but I was lonely and new in the country. 

I had now lived a whole year on my own after that big step of leaving the parental nest in Germany.  The new immigrant was getting her first taste of freedom, breaking old ties and facing new challenges.  The biggest challenge was to tough it out and not to return home.  I stood.  I  learned to keep a job, stretch a paycheck, pay attention to the intricacies of a new language, absorb a new culture, and venture into territories where a young person must go ...

The Residence for Women for foreign girls like myself was a meeting ground for European immigrants and American girls who had also left home to live in the big City.  We aired out our grievances when congregating in the TV lounge, or picking up the mail in the reception area.  We talked more about being underpaid than chatting leisurely about fashion topics, such as perfumes.

Perfume had always been a big part of my young life.  However, at this station I could not afford these pretty bottles with those gorgeous scents, it would have meant to take on a second job and start moonlighting.  Not good. 

When my parents had asked me in a loving letter what I would like for Christmas, I dared to wish for Shalimar.   Let's not forget that perfumes were not an item of conversation or expenditure for them ... but hey, they thought, let's give her what she wants.

And then the package arrived.  It was the 23rd of December.  I waited until the evening and picked a quiet time to be alone for a moment of privacy. Almost time ... I am here and they are there.  It hurts. 

I opened that brown carton, threw away the wrappings, and there it was ... the beautiful slim umbrella bottle in its purple carton, and I looked at it in wonder, unscrewed the golden cap, and breathed in deeply and cried a little bit, and felt so at peace, completely connected and surrounded with love, from far away across the miles!  Even the toughest girl has her ...  what? soft moment.

We are pleased to feature the winning entry from our Holiday Writing Contest.

We would like to thank our sponsor, Luckyscent.com for providing the winner with a $100 eGift Certificate to their website.

Congratulations to Ursula D'Aria from Flushing, NY. Your story has captivated our hearts and our senses.