Holidays and Reading – Quick Five!

It’s a busy time of year. For the US Banditas and BBs, you have Thanksgiving next week. For the rest of us, who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we edge ever closer to the big Christmas holiday!

I don’t about where you are, but the Christmas ads started appearing in late September and Christmas in the shops was around that time too! Now, I love Christmas, but really? It gets earlier and earlier every year and the sales even start before Christmas now! I went into one well-known shop and they were already playing Christmas music in September! I said to the check-out girl that she’d be sick of it by the time Christmas rolled around and she said she was already channeling Scrooge and ‘Bah, humbug’!

We’re traditionalists in the Sugden household and wait until December 1st to start decorating – though now that Doc Cambridge is retired, we do tend to get the decs up as soon after the 1st as possible. Also, we’re very strict about taking them down again before Twelfth Night — it’s considered bad luck to have them up after that — so I like to be able to enjoy the lights and baubles and Christmas spirit.

As for getting the presents, my friends and family fall into two camps – the ‘organised and have it all finished before the decorations even go up’ crew and ‘where can I buy that on Christmas Eve’ gang! As everyone has got older, it has become harder to find presents, so we’re definitely ‘buy it when you find it’ shoppers. We also try to be organised, because we have so many parcels that have to be posted overseas and the last posting dates are getting earlier and earlier! For our friends Down Under, it’s December 3rd! *gulp*

Tiny TreatsOne thing it’s never too early for is holiday reading! I can buy holiday reads all year round! This year, with writing A Perfect Party for Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection, I went on a holiday read spending spree. I can see I’m going to have lots of nice reads for the next couple of months! Of course, I’m always on the look out for recommendations, so feel free to tell me about great holiday reads.

That said, the holidays are also a time when I get long periods where I can just sit and read – such a luxury! So I often save up books by my favourite authors to read then. Especially the ones I still by in hardback! They’re very rarely holiday themed, but I enjoy curling up in front of the fire and getting lost in their worlds. (Though since some of them are romantic suspense – not too lost!)

So, over to you

1. What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Are you a ‘buy it when you see it’ or a ‘last minute panicker’ or a ‘start on Black Friday and get it all done by Dec 1st’ or something else?

2. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP, after Thanksgiving, Dec 1st, as late as possible, Christmas Eve?

3. When you do start reading holiday stories? As soon as possible, any time, after Thanksgiving, after Dec 1st, just over the Christmas to New Year period?

4. Favourite all-time holiday read?

5. What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Any recommendations?

And don’t forget to download your copy of Tiny Treats – it’s FREE! Just click on the cover and it will take you through to Amazon.

 

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Comments

25 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Hello Anna,
    I loved the Sainsbury’s ad, but still haven’t seen the John Lewis one.
    1. Every year I try to buy it when I see it, but usually end up doing a lot of last minute shopping online for gifts.
    2. Decorations and tree goes up after Thanksgiving.
    3. Probably around late October.
    4. Nancy Warren’s “Nutcracker Sweet”
    5. Jaci Burton’s “Holiday on Ice”

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Jane! Have you checked out the link on my FB page? Otherwise, I’m sure it’s up on You Tube somewhere – it’s so cute. Love Monty and Mabel!

      I shall have to check out Nancy’s story and Jaci’s!

  • Amy Conley says:

    Happy Holidays, Anna.

    As much as I hate to admit it, if possible my house would have the big tree up, lit, and completely decort. Unfortunately this year I will be lucky to have a small tree, few decorations, and presents for the grands, well one grand, unfortunately my grands all live away.

    This Christmas will be the first since my mother passex away, something I was thinking about today. We usually don’t spend Christmas together since she lived k Fl and I live in So Indiana. We did spend most of the last 15 Christmases together with my grandmother in freezing cold, northeastern Ohio. But she passed away last year. So I’m already feeling a bit lost.

    My mil is also terminally ill, and could pass at any time, but this next week I will put up all of her decorations because she always loved all the parts of Christmas.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hugs on your tough year, Amy, but how lovely for you to create a Christmas for your MIL. Our thoughts will be with you over the holidays.

    • Shannon says:

      *Hugs* It was similar the first Christmas after my father passed. It was just hard. So sorry about your MIL.

      • Amy Conley says:

        I am getting something good out of Thanksgiving. I just found out grandson #3, who just happens to be 3, will be here. Almost all his presents for Christmas will also be here, so we are going to have Christmas here, with him. This way we will get to watch him open all his lresents from Santa. I’m so excited about this, I’m ready to start dancing.

  • Shannon says:

    My gifts now are all gift certificates, and I can get those easily at some retailer’s island. I buy socks, hats, or gloves as a stocking stuffer so there’s something to wrap with the gift just before wrapping. My deadline is 10 December (not 24 DEC) because of shipping.

    2. It’s when the mood moves me. Last few years, I’ve not done a tree, just my nativity sets. So that’s no big deal other than the straw.

    3. Holiday stories usually start around Halloween, although it’s a mix of holiday and regular. Too much of any one theme/setting gets a bit much.

    4. A Gift of Light by Jo Beverley and The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig. (I’m engaged in a friendly debate on another site that Turnip is the best beta hero ever.)

    5. There are so many books coming out. I’m still finding time for Mary Baghlogh’s latest,
    What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes, Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland, Victoria Alexander’s latest, and Sarah McLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover. An so many have raved about Mary Baglogh’s A Christmas promise, I’ve loaded that on my Kindle as well.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Gift certificates are very useful indeed, Shannon! Over here, we are loathe to give the ultimate gift certificate of money – something unEnglish about it – but it’s the best gift for a lot of people, so they can choose what they’d like. Better than a horrid present they have to ditch or regift or donate!

  • Hi Anna!
    This is what surprised me about my recent jaunt to New York City. Around here, the retailers barely restrain themselves to wait till after Halloween to put up the Christmas decorations. October 31st, the mall looks normal. November 1st you’d think we’d moved to the North Pole!
    So I was surprised that NYC wasn’t the same way. Not all of the Holiday windows had been revealed (most were waiting till this weekend – which of course was after I left), the big tree at Rockefeller Square hadn’t been decorated, the hotel didn’t have so much as a wreath anywhere. Of all the places that rush Christmas, NYC seemed to be at the bottom of the list. Refreshing, but disappointing to someone who wanted to see all the themed windows. C’est La Vie.

    Tiny Treats is a GREAT way to get in the holiday spirit. As it’s free – it’s a gift to everyone!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      *sigh* Miss New York at Thanksgiving. Such a great time. And you’re right, Donna, it doesn’t change over until the Macy’s Parade and Santa arrives on his sleigh.

      We’re normally more restrained over here -waiting until Dec 1st, but this year we saw two houses with Christmas lights up already!

  • catslady says:

    I am a panicker. It was so much easier when the children were young but now it’s so hard and I always put so much thought into gifts so try to stay away from GC’s and they aren’t as much fun unless there are presents to open and now there are the men in their lives too.

    Our decorations go up when we have our tree trimming party and it’s never the same day since there are so many schedules involved. This year it is the 6th of Dec. but some years it’s been a few days before Christmas (so I keep decorations up through Jan. lol).

    I’ll read anything at any time.

    The Littlest Angel – makes me cry every time.

    Grace Burrowes always has a Christmas story and I love them all.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      It is very hard, Catslady. We’ve taken to asking what the family wants. We always give them a little something from us that’s a surprise, but I’m a big believer in getting people what they want! Of course the problem with having a gorgeous grandson is trying not to get too much for him!

  • Deb says:

    It was so much easier to buy presents when my daughter was little. No difficult decisions on what to buy for clothes or toys or fun things. Recently, in the last 2 years, she gets cash or a gc or two. I still try to buy a fun little gift and stocking stuffers (makeup, fingernail polish, perfume, bobby pins). But, as a tradition and always will be, she gets a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve to wear to bed that night.
    I always put my Christmas tree and decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. However, this year seems to be a late holiday, so will put the tree up today or tomorrow.
    I read Christmas stories any time of year!
    My favorite reads during the Season are THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, THE WILD CHRISTMAS REINDEER, THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE, and THE CHRISTMAS COLLIE. (The last three are picture books.)

    • Anna Sugden says:

      What a lovely idea about the pyjamas, Deb. You can’t beat a lovely pair of PJs and they’re so hard to find! I’ve been on the hunt for a lovely pair of really soft flannel PJs (Victoria’s secret used to do fab ones, but they aren’t as nice anymore).

      Aww those sound like great Christmas reads.

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Anna!

    Let’s see..

    1- I’m a bit of both–If I see something through the year, I buy it. But I usually have a few things that are panic purchases. My policy is to not go near retail centers during the week before Christmas.

    2-Some years we don’t do decorations because of time and/or the work being done on the house. But when we do, my choice is for the tree to go up on Thanksgiving Day and it stays up until Groundhog Day. All that work needs to cheer me until the season begins to turn.

    3. I start reading holiday stories depending on my mood. This year it’s early. Pulled out my Christmas CDs this week too. Some years I don’t want to face it until December. I will read holiday romance any time of year, though.

    4. Favourite all-time holiday read–that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can answer that.

    5. This season I’m looking forward to the Tiny Treats collection, and also the Jeanne Adams novella, Deadly Deliveries, with a Thanksgiving theme. Jill Shalvis’s last Lucky Harbor story comes out this month too. That will be a little bittersweet.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I’m with you, Cassondra – I hate being anywhere near the shops in the week before Christmas! Uggh. I also don’t like shopping between Christmas and New Year.

      I’m feeling early with the holiday reads this year too. Hmm wonder why that is?

  • Anna, I’ve actually started on Christmas presents which is very unlike me! Catching up with a few close friends just beforehand so I can give them their gifts in person which will be nice. Here’s the quick five answers:

    1. What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Are you a ‘buy it when you see it’ or a ‘last minute panicker’ or a ‘start on Black Friday and get it all done by Dec 1st’ or something else?

    Usually I’m a last minuter. This year, I’m a bit more organised.

    2. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP, after Thanksgiving, Dec 1st, as late as possible, Christmas Eve?

    When the feeling takes me.

    3. When you do start reading holiday stories? As soon as possible, any time, after Thanksgiving, after Dec 1st, just over the Christmas to New Year period?

    Any time of year is great for a Christmas read.

    4. Favourite all-time holiday read?

    Snerk. Pardon the blatant self-promotion, but I have a novella out right now called HER CHRISTMAS EARL. Only 99 cents! It’s definitely my fave!

    5. What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Any recommendations?

    I’ve just bought a Kindle so my TBR pile is starting to touch the sky. I’m particularly looking forward to reading THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley. She’s a new author to me and I loved her THE SHADOWY HORSES.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Isn’t that funny – I’d have thought you were a buy it when you see it kind of gal! You’re always so good at gifts and so thoughtful!

      LOL Well, naturally you’ll be plugging Her Christmas Earl – that’s one I’m really looking forward to reading!

      • Anna, I have to say I put a bit of thought in before I go shopping – that’s probably why I can usually do it at the last minute. Buying presents is one of life’s joys.

  • Anna, what a fun post! Having seen your house at Christmas, I can attest that it’s beautifully decorated for the season. It’s like being in Christmas Central!

    1. What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Are you a ‘buy it when you see it’ or a ‘last minute panicker’ or a ‘start on Black Friday and get it all done by Dec 1st’ or something else?

    I hate crowds, so I avoid Black Friday and start the Monday after Thanksgiving. I might occasionally buy something early if I think it won’t be there when I usually start.

    2. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP, after Thanksgiving, Dec 1st, as late as possible, Christmas Eve?

    We start sometime in early December. Since the boy went off to school, we wait to do the tree when he comes home after exams.

    3. When you do start reading holiday stories? As soon as possible, any time, after Thanksgiving, after Dec 1st, just over the Christmas to New Year period?

    This, I DO start on Black Friday! It’s a great way to avoid shopping.

    4. Favourite all-time holiday read?

    The Night Before Christmas. Even after all these years, I just love it.

    5. What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Any recommendations?

    I’ve going to revel in all the holiday short stories out there, as well as several books with holiday themes. Can’t recommend anything in particular because I haven’t read any of them yet!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Aww, thank you, Nancy – can’t believe it’s been a year already since you were here!

      I LOVE The Night Before Christmas – such a classic! I love it even more since Doc Cambridge bought me the pop-up version. There’s also a decent one on the iPad – interactive stories are such fun now.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Anna! I’m so with you on the eye-rolling over how early they get the decor up. Arrrgh. We get the Halloween down by Nov 5 (my own little superstition), get turkeys and pumpkins up for Thanksgiving… On the weekend after T-giving, or Dec 1, whichever is first, we start on Christmas/Yule decor. Grins.

    As to shopping, I do it along and along, buy-it-when-you-see-it for some family members. We tend to be “4 days before Christmas” when it comes to our boys b/c they change their minds so much! Hahah!

    I enjoy reading holiday stories once we get into November. This year, of course I was WRITING them, so I started in August! Hahah! DEADLY DELIVERY is a Thanksgiving story, and my holiday novella in A JEWEL IN TIME is set at the holidays of 1939, on the cusp of war. My favorite, however, is a holiday read called A Christmas Affaire by Joan Overfield. It’s wonderful read!!

    I’m really looking forward to reading Tiny Treats this year and have finished Her Christmas Earl by our own Anna Campbell and LOVED it! Highly recommended!!

  • 1. What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Are you a ‘buy it when you see it’ or a ‘last minute panicker’ or a ‘start on Black Friday and get it all done by Dec 1st’ or something else?

    A little of both! I try to buy as many gifts as I can all along, but as it gets closer to Christmas those hard to shop for people make me panic!

    2. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP, after Thanksgiving, Dec 1st, as late as possible, Christmas Eve?

    Never before Thanksgiving, but usually before Christmas Eve. And I never leave them up past Twelfth Night!

    3. When you do start reading holiday stories? As soon as possible, any time, after Thanksgiving, after Dec 1st, just over the Christmas to New Year period?

    I will read some all year long when I am having a bad day, or week, or month. But, I drag out all of my Christmas anthologies around November 15th when the shopping season gets into high gear. My Christmas reads are the only thing that keep some of my customers and coworkers alive through Christmas. 🙂

    4. Favourite all-time holiday read?

    My favorite old Christmas read ?

    Angel Christmas – featuring stories by Carole Nelson Douglas, Emma Merritt, Patricia Rice, Mary Balogh and Marilyn Campbell.

    This is an older anthology (1995) but it is still available used at least via Amazon. Each story is a real gem. Gets me all verklempt every single time!

    Newer read ? La Divina Campbell’s Her Christmas Earl, of course! LOVED IT !!

    And then there is a little Christmas anthology on pre order at Amazon right now for a December 1st release. Four Regency Christmas novellas and one is by …. well, ME !! 🙂

    5. What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Any recommendations?

    In addition to Her Christmas Earl I can highly recommend A Marquess for Christmas by Christy Caldwell . Wonderful Christmas read!

    I am off to download Tiny Treats! More Christmas reads to keep me sane and protect the public at large!

  • Laurie G says:

    1) I’ve resorted to a wish list which I receive from my children by Thanksgiving. The last two years I was able to purchase most of their gifts online. As I don’t like shopping especially in crowds I avoid Black Friday. I’ve found that if I do have last minute shopping the prices are usually reduced. However, things are also picked over.

    2) Decorations used to go up around the 65th of December. Now we put them up after Thanksgiving while the children are home.

    3 )I start in October when they make their first appearance and the weather gets chillier.

    4) THE GIFT OF THE MAGI- O Henry

    5) CHRISTMAS BRIDES Valerie Bowman, Alexandra Hawkins,Suzanne Enoch and Elizabeth Essex

    HER CHRISTMAS EARL Anna Cambell.

    Merry Christmas Baby -Jill Shalvis

    I also usually buy Debbie Macomber’s Christmas release book and Linda Lael Miller’s book.

    Thank you for TINY TREATS!