Early Christmas – day 1

Hi and welcome to the third annual Early Christmas, where I give you an opportunity to meet authors of books I’ve loved. What’s even better than that? Well, of course, I also give you a chance to win them. This year, I have five amazing authors in the house. First up, we have Carolyn Jewel. Here’s a holiday message she was kind enough to send my way for me to share with readers.

A couple of years ago, I had the bright idea that our extended family should have a white elephant gift exchange. I wasn’t sure how it would work out since the age range is 82 to 5. But what a hit! The love, affection and, yes, plotting during the exchange has come to define our holiday far more than the individual gift-giving. For that time, we’re interacting and having silly fun. So, my holiday wish is that you start or continue a tradition that brings friends and family together.

Do you have one? I’d love to hear what it is.

–Carolyn Jewel

I’ve squeed about her books more than once on here, but in case you need a reminder…

Carolyn is fabulously multi-talented. She writes lush, gorgeous (and different!) historical romances, but she can also turn her hand to dark, deliciously gritty paranormal romance. I have read and loved both, and I’m anxiously awaiting
new books in both subgenres. I especially love her paranormal series because it has witches and demons. If you love Larissa Ione, but you haven’t tried Carolyn’s paranormal series yet, I can’t recommend it enough. She is the ideal blend of action, gorgeous writing, and fantastic characterization, and each work is fresh and fantastic.

That’s the prize pack. One lucky winner will walk away with all those books tomorrow. Carolyn wants to hear about your unexpected Christmas traditions, so let’s talk about those today. This contest is 24 hours only, as we’ll be meeting another amazing author tomorrow. This will be a busy, busy week, so keep watching this space. And go!

ETA: The winner is… kai charles! Email me your name & mailing address, so I can get your prize pack sent.

Posted in books, contest, early christmas

43 Responses to Early Christmas – day 1

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  2. Katee R says:

    My parents always “hid” the stockings stuffers. One year they were in the tree (let’s not talk about how long it took me to figure that out) and another they were at the end of a ridiculous path made of ribbon. It was great fun!

  3. My grandmother’s birthday is the day after Christmas and the family shares a lakehouse in northern Alabama. We all gather there, eat cake, and watch her open her Christmas and birthday presents altogether. It’s nice how everyone gives after Christmas since Christmases have a tendency to get bigger every year, thanks to editions to the family with marriages and babies.

    My sister and I have a fun tradition. Well, we think it’s fun. Every Christmas, we somehow managed to wait until the very last minute (and I’m talking midnight on the 24th after our parents finally went to bed) to wrap gifts. The trouble with this is that there wasn’t enough giftwrapping paper so we would have to improvise. Now we purposely wait until midnight on the 24th to wrap everything because everyone gets a kick out of the crazy wrapping alternatives.

  4. Robin K says:

    We always buy my mom booties for xmas. I forgot one year and had to stuff them through her mailbox slot after the holidays!

  5. Moth says:

    So, my holiday wish is that you start or continue a tradition that brings friends and family together. Do you have one?

    Oh sure! Lots. The usual one is of course trimming the tree, but I’ve got a young nephew who likes to play with things he’s not supposed to, so we haven’t had the really breakable ornaments out for a few years now. Last year, tho, my nephew noticed the tree was pretty bare so he stuffed some of his favorite toys in there. It was really adorable.

    Another tradition we have is to watch a Bing Crosby movie together after dinner. We do this at all the big holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

  6. Santa always “drops” a few small gifts on his way out the door. He’s in a big hurry you know. The kids get a huge thrill out of the bonus gifts!

  7. Darla G says:

    My family always has a big x-mas tree. It’s usually about 12 feet tall. So we all have to decorate it. Getting on the scaffolding is sometimes scary and it gets really hot with the lights, but we probably have more fun taking the tree down than putting it up.

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  9. Rosie Carlo says:

    Well, I’m sad because my youngest son no longer believes in Santa. So, now our Christmas gift exchange is on Christmas Eve (also because my husband has to work on Christmas). Last year was the first year and, even though the belief in Santa was gone (even though I tell him that if he believes in his heart, it’s true), the joy of watching him as he opens his gifts never changes. I’ve also, over the years, tried a new cookie recipe every year. I love to bake and anyone that knows me can count on lots of cookie gifts during December.

    Happy Holidays to you, Carolyn, and thanks for stopping by.

  10. Natasha A. says:

    Hubby and I buy a new ornament every year for the tree. Something that represents the year for us.

  11. kai charles says:

    our familys tradition is to put up the tree the day after thanksgiving and not take it down til New Years day, I still do that:) It makes the season seem to last longer and helps me shop earlier! Kai.

  12. Michelle Carter says:

    When my girls were older they could stay up way later then me And I knew they would be up very very early to see their gifts. One Christmas I decided to open the gifts at midnight that way we could all sleep in in the morining. We opened the gifts then the girls decided they were hungry so they made Waffles with strawberries and Whipped Cream. Christmas day we found that we could just relax and enjoy the gifts so we have done this ever since

  13. emmad says:

    We don’t really have any traditions as such.
    What normally happens is my partners daughter trys every year to get us to drive to where most of the family is but we don’t as have mulitiple horses to look after (racehorses mostly other peoples) so can’t just leave.
    Therefore usually the family turn up on boxing day. :)
    So I tend to just have an open invitation for anyone spending christmas alone to pop round to our place. Had several enjoyable christmas’s with odds and sods turning up lol

  14. SusiSunshine says:

    Our family decided a few years back that it would be to much to give everyone a pressie. So I’m only allowed to spent money for my parents and my sis. The rest gets something self-made. The week before Xmas my sis comes for a week long stay and we start making pressies for the whole family. We make Fröbel stars, origami mobile, amigurumi and many other things. We also make the packages and it’s one of my favorite things about Xmas.
    Always a fun week with my sis!

  15. DeAnn says:

    We have a tradition or two that my husband and I have brought from our own families (when we were kids) to our current family with our son, Nick.
    My hubby used to have to put his stocking in his bedroom, because there was no fireplace or mantle in his home in Florida, so Santa got into the habit of leaving one gift under his pillow or on his bed next to his pillow. So now we hide a small gift near our sons pillow so he can find it first thing Christmas morning.
    One year when I was about 8 or 9 years old, my parents were both sick with the flu on Christmas day, so my brothers and I made them hot cocoa with a candy cane in it and cinammon toast and brought them breakfast in bed on Christmas morning. We did that for years, and now I always have hot cocoa with a candy cane ready first thing Christmas morning before we open presents. We also always make a seed-covered apple or seed and dried fruit mix and hang it in our trees for the birds on Christmas day, so they can have a treat too!

  16. Patti says:

    We let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, and we always make sure it’s a boring gift like socks or something so they’re not too keyed up to go to sleep! Then, in the morning, they’re allowed to open up their stockings and play with whatever’s inside them until Mom and Dad wake up! They usually come wake us up anyway :)

  17. Aww! You guys have some great traditions!

    I, too, was sad when my son stopped believing in Santa Claus. My youngest niece is now reaching non-believer stage. But the family gift exchange is fun transition.

    I LOVE the idea of people just popping by. I wonder if I could get people to do that for us? Except we live out the in boonies so for many it’s a pain to drive and then find our house. Santa never has a problem, though.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

  18. limecello says:

    Hm… Christmas tradition? :X My family isn’t so hot at that – but generally we all get up and open presents. As my sister and I have gotten older, the time this happens becomes later and later :P
    Generally my family also watches a movie together on Christmas, either in the theater, or at home.
    And… since my sister got her dog, we usually spend some time “tormenting” it – freezing peanut butter and watching her go. Wrapping dog treats up in paper… Apparently we’re easily entertained people. [That and sister’s dog is adorable, and quite brilliant.]

  19. Jackie U says:

    When I was younger, we celebrated on Christmas Eve. We’d have a big dinner then open presents. Once my siblings started marrying off, we changed it to the next night. Now that I have a kid, we have to maneuver around his dad. I’m not sure we’ll ever have a tradition again! lol

  20. Paula says:

    We’ve always brought the tree in on Christmas tree and it stays until Epiphany. In the last few years, we’ve discussed bringing in the tree earlier, but this tradition seems hard to break. So, the Christmas Eve morning is spent decorating the tree and cooking for Christmas Eve dinner.

  21. Paula says:

    Sorry, I meant “brought the tree in on Christmas Eve”. Duh.

  22. blodeuedd says:

    Can’t say we have any unexpected traditions, though I remember a year when I opened my presents and then dad came in and said he had seen more. I rushed out and found a bag on the porch “santa” had left it there and oh how happy I was.

    Oh not to forget the yet when “santa” called and asked if I had been good, though I knew it was my uncle

  23. Carla says:

    Oh… We don’t have any unexpected traditions. We just gather the family to spend Christmas Eve together.

  24. Caitlin Usignol says:

    We always open one gift on Christmas Eve. Usually it is the one from my cousins in Florida because it comes in the mail so early teasing us under the tree.

  25. We open all the presents on Christmas eve and do the stockings on Christmas morning. This basically started because my father was too impatient to wait, but since we were never raised to believe in Santa anyway, it worked out well. Now Christmas morning is all about a lazy breakfast and playing with the stuff we got. It’s really nice.

  26. Breia b says:

    Well seeing that I have young ones we made up our on traditions. We spend the week leading up to Christmas watching our favorite holiday mvies( My fave is A Christmas Story) and we make cookies together to give out as presents.

  27. Terri says:

    Every year we have Christmas at my grandma’s on Christmas Eve and open our presents they we give each other.

  28. Jane says:

    We open presents at midnight and we make a nontraditional dessert in addition to the traditional.

  29. Katie says:

    We don’t have any unexpected Christmas traditions but there have been many pranks…so maybe that is the tradition. Last year my Aunt got an IOU from Santa. Boy was she pissed off! It was great!

  30. SeaGrace says:

    Like another poster, I used to buy at least one new tree ornament each year for each member of our family, until I had enough for three trees. I had to stop a couple of years ago, but it was great fun finding meaningful ornaments each year. (I also would write their initials and the year given on the ornament somewhere, or attach a pretty tag so they can be identified easily.) When the kids start having trees in their own homes, they will have a great start on decorations.

  31. We have a very large extended family as well so we have a tradition that on thanksgiving all the kids under 18 put thier name in a bowl, then they all draw a name out. Who evers name they get they have to buy a present for them for Christmas with a $20 limit. The kids love it and its fun to let them do the shopping and pick out the gift they think the person the had to buy for would like.

  32. Barbara Elness says:

    My Christmas tradition was always spending the day at my sister’s house with the whole family. After it got dark, my sister and I (and anyone else that wanted to come) would always drive around the neighborhoods looking at the fabulous displays of lights and decorations. Now I live across the country so I have to go without my sis, but I think of her as I’m admiring the lovely lights.

  33. Linda Henderson says:

    Back when I was first married (to my first husband) my husband and I received a set of placques for the bathroom. I don’t know if any of you remember those flourescent looking fish with the bubbles that went with them. They were ceramic and hideous. My brother made such fun of them that I saved them in the package and wrapped them and gave them to him the next year. We passed those things back and forth I can’t tell you how many Christmas’. Finally while my brother had them his wife broke one and so she threw them away. I was so mad at her. I searched for years for a replacement set and you just can’t find them. I even went to a ceramic store to see if they could make me some and they didn’t have the pattern anymore. And so ended a tradition. Boy I sure wish I could find some of those fish again.

  34. LaurieF says:

    Don’t know if this is technically a tradition but I spend Christmas morning with my ex-husband. Our kids are grown up now but 10 years ago they were in their late teens and six months after the separation came Christmas and we decided that Christmas morning was a time we’d spend together with the kids.
    Though my ex and I do get along most of the time, at first I wasn’t sure how I’d feel but it’s been okey. Means a lot to the kids. What surprises me the most is other people’s reactions. Usually disbelief that we do this.

  35. Sharon M. says:

    My mom’s birthday was on Christmas Eve, so we would go to dinner with my parents then she would open her birthday presents. We would then go to church at midnight and sing lots of Christmas carols and return home to open 1 gift. The rest were for opening in the (hopefully late) morning after everyone woke up.

  36. I am having such a great time reading all these lovely traditions! I really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their stories.

    I love the one about the ceramic fish perpetual regifting and I do hope you find new ones.

    Ornaments! Yes! I LOVE buying ornaments for the tree.

  37. Sharon M says:

    9 years ago, my husband and I started playing handbells in our church choir. One of the biggest commitments is midnight mass on the 24th/25th. Because of that, my family (very small) started traveling to my house for the Christmas celebrations.

    I love Christmas and am very happy to host. However, I didn’t want the pressure of having to fix all of the tradional food that my husband’s family (pierogies, kielbasa, mushroom soup, apple pie, cherry pie, etc.) and my family (ham, turkey, mashed potatos, green bean casserole, sweet potatos, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, etc.) would expect.

    I also wanted something that would stick to our ribs so we could make it through midnight mass without starving. I chucked all of the foods (except for pumpkin pie) and decided to go with lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. I’ve even fixed chicken salsa Monterey on Christmas day. Haven’t gotten a single complaint and everyone seems to like the non-tradional foods I now fix each year.

    A very new tradition is hanging candy canes on the Christmas tree. I’d read my son The Sweet Smell of Christmas last year and he liked putting some candy canes on the tree. We bought this year’s batch today and he was so excited to put them on the tree.

  38. e_bookpushers says:

    My family does a wrapping paper fight after all the presents are opened. Those of us who are regulars stockpile our wrapping paper in crumpled balls. (We usually have at least one person who hasn’t experience a Christmas with my family yet.) Then at an unseen signal we let them fly. I always feel slightly sorry for the newbie because they are the initial target. *giggle* We have only had 1 person decide to run and hide all the others dive right in :).

  39. Pearl says:

    My family’s Christmas tradition is food, food, food. Kinda like your Thanksgiving…The women start preparations way in advance, whilst the men help (or play cardgames > the lazy ass ones). Then on Christmas Eve a lascivious dinner followed by opening Christmas presents follow. As we don’t get together with the entire family much, I always look forward to Christmas, where we catch up, eat, drink and laugh into the wee hours of the night…

    Christmas Day is for conking out on the couch still in pyjamas, basking in the glow of the presents. Christmas movies, the cheesier the better, are a standard tradition for hubby and me on Christmas Day…We’re already picking out the movies!

  40. Carol Thompson says:

    The only out-of-the-ordinary custom we have at Christmas is that all our animals get to share in it !

    Sometimes they even get gifts such as a new dog collar, a toy for the cats or a perch for the birds.

    Haven’t yet figured what one gives goldfish for a present?

    Any ideas ?

  41. CrystalGB says:

    We get together with friends before Christmas to share a meal and play cards/board games.

  42. Ina says:

    Every year my sister and I are playing christmas songs (on the guitar) before we get the presents…I really love Christmas – the whole family is together and that is special, because under the year thats a little bit difficult :neutral:
    have a great day,

  43. Ann Aguirre says:

    I’m not going to lock this post, but once I announce Carolyn’s winner (I’m about to do that), there will be no more winners on this thread.

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