The weather is finally colder, Thanksgiving and all your annoying relatives are close at hand, and that can mean only one thing: Christmas mania. And although I like to pretend to possessing an insouciant New York je ne sais quoi, I get as swept up in the season as anyone who wears brighter colors. This past week, I dove into what my husband not-so-laughingly refers to as the Leaning Tower of Romance, the stacks and stacks of paperbacks that are spilling off our bookshelves and onto the floor. My purpose: to unearth, and display, my enormous collection of Regency Christmas anthologies*. I know I don’t I have them all (a gal’s gotta have goals, after all), but an informal count yielded approximately 30 Christmas-themed books. There are one or two medievals in there, but the majority are Regency-set Christmas stories. Every year, I pull them out, place them lovingly in a basket, and display them somewhere near my ginormous Christmas tree (we’ve got 12′ ceilings, and we usually buy at least a 9′ tree). And then, because the collection has grown so large, I place the overflow of books on the floor near the basket. And then? I pick them up and read them throughout the season, hopefully with a glass of wine at my elbow. See, it’s a busy time at Christmas, and you don’t always have the ability to commit to a full-length book. But a short story, penned by masters such as Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, our own Amanda McCabe, Carla Kelly, Allison Lane, et al? Perfect. And if you do get the chance to read a longer book, you’ve got myriad choices there, too. Mary Balogh has written at least three “Christmas” traditional Regencies, and Diane Farr, Elisabeth Fairchild, Carla Kelly and Lynn Kerstan/Alicia Rasley each have one. Regency Christmas stories convey the essence of Christmas cheer (even though those Regency people didn’t celebrate Christmas so much–that came later, with the Victorians). I’m a sucker for all that good will, not to mention the wine, and I love the times when I can settle down with a good book that’ll satisfy my urge for a good romance AND a good Christmas story. So what are your traditions? Do you collect any particular type of book (besides Regencies, of course)? Do you collect any kind of Christmas trinket? Which is your favorite Christmas romance story?

*and in case you think my husband has any right to complain, keep in mind he has over 300 Christmas music discs, with more arriving as I type. Obsessive media types? Uh, yeah, that’s us. Too bad our apartment isn’t quite as large as our appetite for music and reading.