It's the holiday season..yes, indeed it is! And today, we've invited The Girlfriends to visit. Always lovely to have some new pals in the neighborhood--and I'm delighted to introduce you to a whole raft of new (and new-to-you) authors... many from the romance and women's fiction world. (Some are on a blog called Girlfriends Book Club with Lucy and me--check it out!) But now some of them have come together to create a book of holiday short stories called Sleigh Ride..and that got me thinking.
About holiday traditions. I remember growing up--we always always had a Droste's chocolate apple in our stockings. (You know the kind you whap to break into pieces?) We were absolutely not allowed to open presents on Christmas Eve, no matter how much we whined and high-pressured.
And Christmas dinner was always standing rib roast and champagne. (We never whined about that, and the fragrance of Lawry's and roasting roast (?) always makes me think of home for the holidays. Yes, we're Jewish, but that's another blog. (We always battled over the Chanukah presents...my mother tried to get away with giving us bubble gum for the last night's present, and we...well, I guess we whined. Mom didn't always have it easy..)
In later years, my parents had a house in Acapulco, so it was a command performance for the family to go there for the holidays. After so many winters in the tundra of Indiana, it was hilarious to celebrate the holidays hearing Feliz Navidad and floating in the pool surrounded by hibiscus.
So girlfriends, welcome! What was your favorite holiday tradition?
Jenny Peterson: A real tree! As in the kind you have to go cut down yourself. (Edit per my husband: The kind I point out to him and make him cut down.) I grew up in Michigan, home to snow and ice skating and all things winter and my husband and I recently moved from Oklahoma City to Denver. Growing up, I loved heading out into snow -- my cheeks so cold it hurt to smile -- and helping to pick out our family Christmas tree. Today, I continue that tradition with a real tree.
They're always unique -- maybe a little stumpy and crooked, with a bare patch that you hide in the back -- and I love them.
I put on Christmas music (traditional, save for my eternal love of "All I Want for Christmas is You" and the Barenaked Ladies' version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"), string the lights, then hang the ornaments by the glow of the tree. It's perfect.
Dani Stone: On Christmas Eve, I give my husband and two children new festive pajamas. We watch the movie A Christmas Story while taking care of last minute details for the next day. We never forget to leave a thank you note and plate of cookies on the fireplace for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer.
Megan Barlog: I have a big family, so on Christmas morning, we have this rule where no one is allowed to go downstairs until everyone is awake. One by one, we gather in my parents’ room and sit on their bed while our dog, hearing our voices and realizing we’re not coming down to greet her, whines from the base of the stairs. Once we’re all up (either by choice or by “gentle” encouragement from our youngest brother), we head downstairs and race for the living room to dig into our piles of gifts.
After the usual pictures and excited unwrapping of gifts, my mom makes our favorite holiday breakfast: Monkey Bread. My mom’s mom, Grammy, used to make it for her kids, and now my mom makes it for us. It gets its name because you have to eat it like monkeys. It’s basically a giant mound of round bread pieces covered in cinnamon sugar with walnuts mixed in, and its sweet, sticky deliciousness.
Malena Lott: Family Christmas shows! My husband and I have three kids (now 6, 11, 14), but you’re never too old for traditional Christmas cartoons, TV specials and classic holiday flicks like Home Alone 1 & 2, Christmas Vacation, and, of course Elf. My husband and I re-watch Love, Actually after the kids have gone to bed. Must be watched with Christmas cookies, popcorn and M&Ms, too. I also adore watching the kids make reindeer food and sprinkle it outside on Christmas Eve. Even my teenager loves to do it.
So what are your favorite holiday traditions?
And--are you ready this year?
About the book: Sleigh Ride: A Winter Anthology features seven stories by seven award-winning writers and each story contains a very different sleigh ride. Chick Lit Central called it "well-written" and "so moving" and Booking Mama said, "you'd have to be a grinch not to have these stories warm your heart a little." Written by Megan Barlog, Samantha Wilde, Maria Geraci, Maggie Marr, Jenny Peterson, Malena Lott, Dani Stone
Kindle Store http://ht.ly/7VY8Z
NOOK Book (eBook) http://ht.ly/7VYeB
Available in trade paperback and ebook.