This week the Riskies have graciously allowed me lots of extra attention because of the release of Mistletoe Kisses, Harlequin Historical’s Regency Christmas anthology. See the intervew with the other authors of the anthology here.

We also have a contest, giving away THREE autographed copies of Mistletoe Kisses. All you have to do is comment on our blogs this week – from now to Saturday. Say more than, “Great blog” please; we love to hear from you. Winners will be announced next Sunday Nov 19. See contest details here.

I apologize for talking about Christmas before Thanksgiving, I really do! But the Historicals, like other Harlequins, are only on the bookshelf in stores for one month (longer at online stores and and if we waited until the “proper time” you might not be able to find Mistletoe Kisses at all.

During the Regency era Christmas had some of the same customs we still follow today. Decorating one’s house with evergreens. Hanging mistletoe and kissing under it. Even one that surprised me–roast turkey for dinner.

In my family growing up we, unfortunately, did not have a wassail bowl, nor did we have a yule log, but then in some of the houses where we lived, we didn’t have a fireplace so maybe that was a good thing. We did cut greenery from our yard and use it to adorn our mantlepiece and to create centerpieces for the table, like Elizabeth and Zach in A Twelfth Night Tale. And we always had a live tree (a later tradition than “our” time period). We decorated our tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on New Year’s Day.

My favorite tradition has always been to decorate the Christmas tree. As a child, my sisters and I loved to unwrap our tree ornaments, to find our favorites, the ones we remembered having our whole lives, the ones we made ourselves, the ones that were souvenirs from various trips. We always had a certain way to hang the ornaments, showing our favorites in the front and those dumb plain blue ones my mother bought one year to the back. In my family growing up, the annual debate was always whether we ought to have the lights blink or not. I always voted for no blinking.

With my husband and children, decorating the tree has never been quite the valued experience it was when I was growing up. Maybe it was because Christmas had become more hectic -school parties, parties for every other activity my children were in, church pageants, work parties, Christmas shopping, visiting two sets of relatives. In fact, I always thought the time between Halloween and Christmas passed like a blur. So now that my children are grown, I often decorated the tree myself, an artificial tree so the cats won’t eat it. (I do have a great memory from my childhood when our cat knocked down the tree on New Year’s Eve just as my parents were getting ready to go to a party)

Thing is, I still love it, the tree decorating. I have some of those same ornaments from my childhood and some really lovely antique ones that were given to me long ago. My tree has twinkling lights now. My tastes have evolved with the technology.

I do not like the hectic nature of the holiday still, but I love the beauty of the season. I love the decorations, the holiday music, the Christmas Story. I love Christmas movies and TV episodes that celebrate the holiday. I love that we honor the winter holidays of all faiths now, making the season a time for loving everyone.

Last Christmas I had the additional joy of writing my Christmas novella during the holiday season. It was wonderful inspiration, both enriching my holiday and inspiring my writing.

So this year it is a great joy to share the story with you. I hope you all enjoy A Twelfth Night Tale and the other novellas in Mistletoe Kisses.

This week the Riskies are going to be talking about our favorite holiday customs or other holiday related themes, so this is an opportunity to share yours with us (and earn chances to win Mistletoe Kisses)

Tell which you would vote for and why: Live tree vs Artificial; Twinkling lights vs Non-Twinkling lights. Or share any pet-related tree stories. The Riskies want to know…

(Holiday) Cheers!