This past week I’ve been off work (yay!) and trying to get ready for the holiday. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

1) Reading the new Phillipa Gregory book
2) Working on the “Muses” WIP (122 pages so far!)
3) Researching two future projects. This is confusing the heck out of me, because one is set at the court of Henry VIII and one in eighteenth century France! So, I’ve been switching back and forth from Regency England, 1528 England, and 1780s France.
4) Making Christmas candy. I’m not much of a cook, but there are a couple of things I like to make at this time of year. Maybe it’s that winter “hibernate and pack on pounds” instinct. Maybe childhood memories–I also like to read Eloise at Christmastime, because I remember my mother reading it to me when I was a kid (see the photo!). Boy, was my mom sorry when I took Eloise as my role model. One of my favorite holiday treats are my grandmother’s Christmas bonbons. They’re super-easy to make and very yummy. See the recipe at the end of this post.
5) And, on evenings when no one is having a party, I’ve made popcorn, put on my flannel pajamas, and watched some favorite non-Christmas, romantic movies. Like these:

Amelie–if Eloise grew up French, she might turn out to be a bit like Amelie. I love her schemes, her self-made rocky road to love, the characters she works with at the cafe, and the silly touches like talking photos! Tres French.
Strictly Ballroom–lots of dancing, a hunky hero who (eventually) falls for the plain but spunky heroine, Australian accents, outrageous costumes. This, along with Dancing With the Stars, has inspired me to sign up for a samba class after the holidays. Hopefully I can dance away those bonbons!
The Cutting Edge–one of my top guilty-pleasure movies since high school! Shrewish prima donna ice skater and oafish ex-hockey player forced to team up (as if that would happen!). Arguments (“Toe pick!”), kisses, and Olympic medals. This makes a great double bill with Strictly Ballroom!
Cold Comfort Farm–the romance in this is minimal (it does feature Rufus Sewell, but not as the love interest), but it’s an adorable movie. Kate Beckinsale (before she decided to morph into Posh Spice) sets a passle of grimy relatives to rights. Great costumes, stellar cast, hilarious!
Shakespeare in Love–admittedly, I’ve seen this one so many times I speak the dialogue along with the actors, but I love it every time. Perfect holiday escape. It also makes a great Valentine’s Day film, along with Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.

Tomorrow, I’m off to my parents’ house for presents (yippee!) and my dad’s “famous” margaritas (double yippee!). However you spend the holiday, I hope it’s great, and that you have a “Risky” New Year! Let us know your best holiday “escapes”…

Christmas Bonbons
1 stick butter
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 can Angel Flake coconut
Tsp vanilla Chopped pecans
Chopped maraschino cherries

Mix these up, refrigerate until chilled. Then form into little balls.

1/4 pound paraffin
Large package chocolate chips (I use dark!)

Melt in double broiler, and dip coconut balls in. Let them harden, and you’re done! (The pecans and cherries are optional–you can really use anything that sounds yummy to you)