To round off our Wild Rose Blog Tour, I'm honoured today to welcome Amy Corwin who's here to tell us about her favourite Christmas tradition. I'll be over on Lilly Gayle's blog talking about my own Christmas "tradition", so do stop by and say hello :)
Strangely enough, this was the hardest blog to write because my family never really had any traditions! That sounds so terrible and yet we always had the best time because the holidays were always low-key and simply a fun.
For Christmas, Mom would really “do up” the house. We only had a few lights outside, but inside…wow! In the early 60’s, we had one of those silver tinsel trees with a rotating color disk to make it green, red, yellow and blue in succession. And we had a smaller white tree with bubble lights in our dining room bay window. Then every surface had decorations from ceramic figurines, to wax candles. We had so many bayberry candles that it simply isn’t Christmas to me without the scent of bayberry burning.
My aunt knitted us stockings to hang on the fireplace and over the years, they stretched and stretched and stretched until they held tons of goodies by the time we were adults. We never stopped hanging our stockings at the fireplace, either. When I got married fifteen years ago, my aunt knitted my husband a stocking to hang on our fireplace. Of course, his doesn’t hold nearly as much as mine, which has been stuffed with goodies every Christmas since 1957. Of course, the goodies it was stuffed with consisted of undies, socks, gloves, one or two “Just for fun” tiny toys, and a few candies.
My mom was so holiday crazy that she even made felt doorknob covers, complete with embroidered and sequined Santas and dangling bells. During the 70’s, we all made ceramic Christmas trees that lit up, as well as ceramic ornaments for our tree. The silver tinsel tree drifted down to the basement and we got a bigger, better green one that could hold the millions of lights, tinsel, and ornaments we either made or bought (on sale!). By 1974, we must have had seven or eight trees dispersed through the house for the holidays, plus two complete ceramic manger sets my mom made.
We weren’t allowed to open any presents Christmas Eve. We usually had a wonderful dinner, lit the logs in the fireplace and sprinkled powder over them to make them sparkle with brilliant colors. I have no idea what it was, but I remember the scents and amazing multicolored flames. Then with the fire crackling, we watched a holiday movie and finally, as the fire died down, laid out the cookies and milk for Santa. Then it was early to bed (as if we could sleep). The next morning-wow! We would all tumble out of bed early, dressed in our Buster Brown pajamas, quilted robes, and slippers and run into the living room. Nothing could happen until everyone was there.
Then we’d take all the bulging stockings down, first, and pass them to their rightful owner. We start a fire in the fireplace and us kids would start handing around the packages. While we saved most of the paper for the next year, if there was any packaging that couldn’t be reused, into the flames it went! And what glorious flames some of those metallic wrappings made!
Once the orgy of gift giving was over, we’d dress and start cooking a really, really, BIG breakfast. There was no standard meal, per se, but it was often pancakes, real maple syrup, bacon, and orange juice. It seemed like we barely finished cleaning up breakfast when we started cooking again. Sometimes it was ham, sometimes a roast, sometimes a turkey—there was really no set meal—but the food was amazing. After dinner, Grandma would pull out all the boxes of cookies we had been making earlier in the month, in addition to mincemeat pie with real whipped cream. I’ll never forget opening the refrigerator to see a bowl and mixer in there, chilling so the whipped cream would be really fluffy.
And the eggnog—how I loved eggnog—real, homemade eggnog with plenty of nutmeg.
We spent the day cooking, playing with—or wearing—our gifts, and talking. Just having fun. This was the day when we also brought out our board games such as Monopoly or Scrabble, sometimes even cards. I loved those games and the chance to just sit around, eat, and talk all day. So while we never had any strict traditions, we sure had magical Christmases.
And now here's a brief bio: Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and has been writing for the last ten years and managing a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies/historicals, mysteries, and contemporary paranormals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.
Amy’s books include the Regency, SMUGGLED ROSE; three Regency romantic mysteries, I BID ONE AMERICAN, THE BRICKLAYER’S HELPER, and THE NECKLACE, and her first paranormal, VAMPIRE PROTECTOR.
The Bricklayer’s Helper
A masquerade turns deadly when a murderer discovers who hides behind a commoner’s disguise.
After her family perishes in a suspicious fire, Sarah hides her identity by working as a bricklayer's helper. But her disguise can't keep her safe when someone discovers she survived the flames.
Alone and terrified, Sarah pins all her hopes on William Trenchard, the only available inquiry agent with Second Sons. William, however, seems far too handsome to have the intelligence necessary to solve the mystery, and Sarah fears that involving him may be her final~and fatal~mistake.
The pair are in for a wild ride as they try to solve a decade-old mystery of murder and deceit in Regency England.
A frightened woman must unlock her memories if she's to survive the deadly company of her Vampire Protector…
An anonymous note forces Gwen on a mission to discover an ancient family secret that may be hidden in her long abandoned childhood home. When she asks her attractive neighbor, John, to accompany her, she’s not expecting much, except possibly help if she falls through any rotten floors.
Unfortunately, that's just her first mistake.
John is a vampire, and her house is not exactly empty. Secrets—and the dead—won’t always stay buried, and John’s extraordinary strength and determination may be all that can withstand what awaits them in the shadows...
Thanks so much for sharing your tradition and books with us! Wishing you the happiest of holidays!
And visitors, to make the holiday season just that little bit more magical and fun, remember to please comment for a chance to win any of the fabulous prizes from the Rose Tour. If you've already commented and have stopped by these last four weeks, can I just say a massive thank you for your support.
All the very best for 2011 everyone :)