On the 9th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …

9 delicious hockey hunks!

I could just stop there, couldn’t I? 9 delicious hockey hunks … yum! We could all enjoy them. Who needs anything more?

See you all after Christmas 😉


Okay, as I’m getting dirty looks from Sven, who wants a proper Christmas post in the Lair, I suppose I’d better do this properly. Jeez – just because Zach and the other hockey hunks pilfered one or two (or several) of Sven’s stash of festive bubbly after their latest win …

It’s great to be released from my writing cave, so I can spend time with you all. Missed you! In honour of the occasion I thought I’d give you some festive cheer in the form of some hockey teams showing us how to celebrate Christmas, followed by a special Christmas Quick Five.

First up, the Belfast Giants and All I Want for Christmas is You …

Thanks, lads!

Next up, the Sheffield Steelers took a different approach to a favourite English Christmas tune, Merry Christmas, Everyone …

Moving over to the NHL, the defending Stanley Cup champs have released a holiday album you won’t want to miss!

Heading north of the border, we have the Ottawa Senators’ rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas …

Ottawa Senators 12 Days of Christmas

Unfortunately, the Calgary Flames didn’t fare so well …

Calgary Flames Ugly Christmas Sweaters

And finally, that Christmas classic, The Night Before Christmas, from the Dallas Stars …

Dallas Stars The Night Before Christmas

As you might imagine, not all goes smoothly filming these videos …

St Louis Blues Outtakes

(I’m sorry the last four were only available on the NHL console.)

Cover2a-APerfectStorm All of which goes to show that just because these guys are hot on ice, they can’t be good at everything! 😉


And now, over to you for a Festive Quick Five. In honour of the season, I’m giving away a New Jersey Ice Cats Christmas Ornament and a complete set of my limited edition, Ice Cats’ short stories to one lucky commenter. Don’t forget, you still have a few days to download A Perfect Storm, my FREE December Ice Cats’ short story, on my website in the For Readers section here.

  1.  Christmas sweaters – yes or no?
  2. Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?
  3. Worst Christmas present?
  4. Favourite Christmas ornament?
  5. What would you like Santa to bring you?


Oh, I nearly forgot … a Christmas cookie recipe. This is for Lizzie’s Sweet Treats Shortbread Cookies. Lizzie appears in the NJ Ice Cats short story, A Perfect Party (which is still available for download on my website, in the For Readers section here).

Ingredients: (approx 12 cookies)Cover-APerfectParty

150g self-raising flour
150g salted butter
50g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons or any chocolate pieces (optional)
Cling-film or plastic wrap.


Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

  1. Add flour, sugar and butter (plus vanilla) to food processor or mixer and pulse until mixture is like wet sand.
  2. Lay out a large piece of cling-film on the counter and pour the mixture onto it.
  3. Using the cling-film to help keep the mixture together, press and roll, until you have a long, solid roll of dough, wrapped in plastic.
  4. Store in refrigerator for an hour.
  5. Slice dough into ¼” or ½” rounds and put onto a well-greased or sheet-lined baking tray.
  6. Cook for approx 15 mins. Note: timing depends on how thickly you cut the rounds.
  7. When cooked, use a spatula to slide onto a wire rack. Note: the cookies will be very soft when warm, so if they’re too fragile, it’s okay to let them cool on the tray for a few minutes to let them harden a little.
  8. (Optional) While cookies are cooling, add chocolate button to the centre of each cookie.

Note: If you don’t use metric measures, keep the flour, butter and sugar in the ratio of 3:3:1 (eg 6oz, 6oz, 2oz)

However you celebrate the festive season, I hope it is a happy, healthy and fun one for you and yours and that 2016 is a great year.

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  • Jane says:

    Merry Christmas, Anna.
    1. Yes. We’re supposed to wear our dueling ugly hockey sweaters this year. Rangers for me and Devils for you.
    2. I usually wrap the presents and stick on a bow, but if the gift is big or odd shaped I just go for the gift bag.
    3. Never really received a bad gift. I have gotten regifts that clearly not my style.
    4. Little wooden nutcracker that my dad picked up when we got our first tree.
    5. Wouldn’t mind seeing a purse of a tablet under the tree.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Jane!

      Oh I love the idea of duelling ugly Christmas sweaters! What fun!

      It’s been a pretty good season so far for both our teams. Here’s hoping 2016 is kind to them … and to us!

  • Amy Conley says:

    1. A very empahatic NO!
    2. Not at all, that would constitute being creative and I’m not.
    3.Pots and Pans from my in-laws. It was our second Christmas after we were married, and I lost it! Spent the entire day in my bedroom crying for my mother and the Christmas with her.
    4.Ornaments, I have ornaments with the first letter of my children’s names, A, B, and C. After that is an old baby shoe ornament which belonged to my mother and has been my favorite since I was a little girl.
    5.I want Santa to bring me a nice smart, flat screen tv so I can watch all my shoes on a big screen instead of my computer. (He is bringing me a nice new diamond, even though he doesn’t know it yet. 😉 ).

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Amy!

      Aww, hugs to you on that Christmas present – I know things changed in the years to come, but it must have been hard for you!

      LOL I assume that you meant you wanted to watch your shows on the TV screen and not your shoes – although Tawny, Jeanne and I can appreciate either version!

  • Ki says:

    Happy Holidays Anna! ction here.

    1. Christmas sweaters? – No way. They are just not great.
    2. Fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger? – I’m definitely a fancy wrapper with bows and ribbons! I’m ribbon crazy.
    3. Worst Christmas present? – Not sure. Don’t think I’ve gotten one yet.
    4. Favourite Christmas ornament? – A crystal /glass teardrop….
    5. What Santa should bring? – Cute workout clothes. I need motivation to exercise.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy holidays, Ki!

      I love your need for cute workout clothes – maybe that would motivate me to exercise too!

      BTW can you stop by here and finish off my wrapping for me! I need someone who is an uber-wrapper to help me out. 🙂

  • Minna says:

    1. Christmas sweaters – yes or no? No.
    2.Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger? Well, I don’t toss the present in a gift-bagger, but I’m not a fancy wrapper, either.
    3.Worst Christmas present? Books I would never read.
    4.Favourite Christmas ornament? There is this really old elf ornament we put on a Christmas tree every year.
    5.What would you like Santa to bring you? Gift card to a bookstore.

    • Minna says:

      Oh, and snow! All the snow we did have melted away. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a white Christmas.

      • Anna Sugden says:

        We were predicted to have a white Christmas this year, but it’s been so warm, all the spring flowers are out and the cherry trees have started to blossom. *sigh*

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hyvää Joulua, Minna!

      Totally understand the present of books you’d never read. I can read most things, but there is nothing worse than that sinking feeling of seeing a book that simply would be awful!

  • Helen says:

    Woohoo Hello Anna

    Christmas sweaters – yes or no?

    No way too hot over here in OZ 🙂

    2.Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?

    Toss it in a gift bag or wrap in Christmas paper no bows and ribbons

    3.Worst Christmas present?

    I can’t think of one

    4.Favourite Christmas ornament?

    A ball with a photo of my grandkids in it I got it today 🙂

    5.What would you like Santa to bring you?

    A new kindle voyage 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hello and hugs, Helen! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

      Oh, your ornament sounds lovely! So precious. We have an ornament from our grandson’s first Christmas, which is has his baby footprint on it, made into a reindeer. It makes us smile every time we put in on the tree.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Merry Christmas, Anna! Mmmmm….9 hockey hunks under my tree? I would definitely be on board for that! 🙂

    Christmas sweaters – yes or no?
    I’ve proudly worn them in the past but don’t have any in my closet at the moment.

    Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?
    I’m somewhere in between. I wrap some presents and go the gift bag route for others but I’m not good at fancy bows with all the bells and whistles. I defer to my sister-in-law (who used to manage a department store gift wrap department) for fabulously wrapped gifts.

    Worst Christmas present?
    I don’t remember a bad gift.

    Favourite Christmas ornament?
    A blown egg ornament made for me by my youngest brother when he was eight years old. That ornament has proudly hung on my tree for 36 years. Youngest brother will celebrate his 44th birthday Christmas morning. He’s still my favorite Christmas gift.

    What would you like Santa to bring you?
    A happy day with family and friends.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, PJ! I knew you’d appreciate today’s gift ;).

      You favourite ornament sounds wonderful. Home-made decorations have so much meaning, don’t they? Especially as the years pass.

      I have some really cute Christmas jumpers this year – my favourite is a penguin jumper (naturally!) with hearts and Christmas trees on it.

  • Rae Latte says:

    Good Morning Anna,

    What a fun way to start the morning with those sexy hockey hunks!

    I hope that you have a Happy Holiday with your family.

    Ok – tackling those questions…

    Christmas sweaters – nope not a fan. I get it that some people live to wear those holiday sweaters. If you’re one of them then I support you. I however, won’t be wearing them 🙂 I have enough problems storing the clothes I wear and extra sweaters would mean more storage space 😉

    Am I a fancy wrapper…I’m a great wrapper. I like to be creative. Sometimes I use the rolls from my kids drawing paper and stamp or color on it. When I discover I have no paper in the house I use the color comics but only after everyone has read them 😉

    I’m not a fan of extra bling tied to the boxes but sometimes I do add a part of the gift if it will work.

    Can’t recall a really awful present. I’m sure there were a few.

    Don’t have a favorite ornament rather when I was little I used to hang out with a family and help them get their tree ready. It was an eating tree and we’d back and string food to place on the tree. After an entire day of work we’d pluck a few goodies to nibble on.

    Oh if I tell you what I really want it wont come true… I’m so superstitious. I need to keep that under wraps 🙂

    Great post- looking forward to reading the holiday short on your webpage. thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy Holidays, Rae! Hope you and yours have a wonderful festive season!

      I’m so envious of creative people like you! Doc Cambridge’s daughters are so talented like that and everything always looks beautiful, with lovely handmade touches.

      Fingers crossed you get your wished for present for Christmas!

  • flchen1 says:

    Too fun, Anna! Love all the songs, videos, and recipe!

    Let’s see–I don’t have any Christmas sweaters, although I do own a lot of red :). I’m not opposed to them, just haven’t found one I need to own…

    As for gifts, I’m all for the clean, neat look–if that is via gift bags, bring them on! Otherwise I don’t mind wrapping. But I don’t feel the need either for loads of ribbon or fancy gewgaws to decorate the gift…

    Thankfully I can’t recall a worst gift! (Aside from the gently used waffle iron we received for our wedding? 😉 )
    Favorite ornaments have to be the cute ones the kids have made over the years! We’ve amassed quite the collection now 😀

    Fingers crossed, Anna! Would love to keep my signed Anna shelf complete! 😉

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy Holidays, Fedora!

      Red always works! Kind of like cute shoes at Christmas – can’t go wrong! 🙂

      OMG on the gently used waffle iron – people are strange, aren’t they?!

  • Merry Christmas, Anna!

    Looks like it’ll be too warm this year for Christmas sweaters, ugly or not. I think that might be someing of an early Christmas blessing 🙂

    I prefer to wrap gifts. There’s something so satisfying to watching people rip the paper off to find what’s inside. No bows and ribbons though. I love gifts with them, I’m just too lazy to put them on.

    There was a time in the 80s when velour jogging suits were fashionable. My husband gave me a bright green one. I wore it and probably looked like a giant elf walking down the street 🙂 I didn’t consider it a bad gift at the time, but looking back…OMG!!

    Two favorite ornaments – one is the simple Christmas block my son made in kindergarten on a piece of twine. Love it. The other an old ornament from the 70s. IT’s Peter Pan on a big Mother Goose flying off to somewhere. There’s something about the ornament that just appeals to me.

    Gifts for me – I have no special wishes this year. Just hopes for another fantastic year 🙂

    Nerry Christmas, Anna

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Donna!

      I’m LOL at the bright, green velour jogging suit! I remember that fashion all too well. Very thoughtful of your hubby and I’m sure you made a cute elf!

      I’m with you on loving the bows and ribbons, but being too lazy!

  • Annie says:

    1.No Sweaters ever.
    2. Gift bags, neater and easier.
    3. Worst present was hideous scarf
    4. Favorite ornament is a snowflake
    5. Love to receive a scrapbook from the 1950’s.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Annie!

      You must live in a warm part of the country to never have sweaters! 🙂 Trish will be most envious!

      What a lovely idea for a Christmas present. Is that a specific present from your family or one you’ve seen generally?

  • Colleen C. says:

    Christmas sweaters – No
    I enjoy wrapping presents…
    The worst Xmas gift I received… a ceiling fan… I did not need one or asked for one.
    Fav Christmas ornament… this cute mailbox one with little mice mailing a letter to Santa.
    I am hoping for some books, my fav Anime DVDs, and some little things I could use…
    Happy Holidays! 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy Holidays, Colleen!

      Oh wow! A ceiling fan?! Who would think to get one of those for someone as a present?! It’s not something that would ever cross my mind – though, as it happens, I’d love one in our bedroom 😉

  • Elaina says:

    1. I cannot wear nor enjoy sweaters.
    2. I would love to wrap but make a mess.
    3. I once received a pair of leggings which were 2 sizes too small and flimsy material.
    4. An ornament which is my favorite is a snowman.
    5. A gift which would be wonderful – great health.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy Holidays, Elaina!

      Gift wrapping is a funny thing, isn’t it – you’re either really good at it or really bad. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between.

  • Ellie says:

    Christmas Sweaters – no
    I use a gift bag
    Worst Xmas gift was a heavy bar of soap
    Fave Christmas Ornament is a bird
    I hope to receive a food item – teas

  • Anna, fun post! Who knew hockey guys were so into making Christmas videos?

    1. Christmas sweaters, yes. I’m partial to red ones.
    2. I prefer to wrap, but only when I have a box. With no box, gift bags work better.
    3. Worst Christmas gift – a CB radio, which I did not want and never used, for my car.
    4. Favorite Christmas ornaments are an angel I’ve had since grade school and a Christmas tree the boy made in kindergarten.
    5. I want Santa to surprise me this year.

    The cookies look yummy, by the way.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Nancy! Isn’t is funny? Bless them, some of them look so uncomfortable 🙂

      I think your CB radio takes the prize for worst Christmas present ever! Someone clearly did not know you at all to think that would be appropriate! I know you’ll have great gifts under the tree this year!

  • Pissenlit says:

    Ahahaha! I loved the Belfast Giants’ dancing lip synch video!

    Before this, I’d only watched my Toronto Maple Leafs amusingly bungle Jingle Bell Rock and my secondary team(unless they’re playing the Leafs, in which case, boo! hiss! :D), the Montreal Canadiens, sing(sort of) Frozen’s Let It Go.

    1. Yes! I’m all about looking festive even if it is ridiculously so! I don’t actually own one but I’d wear it if I did! I’ve got Christmas socks and several years back, I knit myself a Christmas scarf and attached a good sized bell to one end!

    2. Totally a fancy wrapper! I use 2-3 small pieces of tape per wrapped box, fold sharp creases and I make sure all the patterns match up on the paper. If there are stripes, I make sure the folded ends turn into rectangles! And then there’s ribbons and bows and possibly other things. If I use gift bags, there are ribbons that tie both sides of the handles together to keep the bag shut…or liberal usage of tissue paper.

    3. Worst Christmas present ever was the shirt with ring around the collar.

    4. We’ve had this little plastic and felt Santa ornament since forever and he’s just the right combination of adorable and jolly. It makes me happy just looking at him.

    5. You know, I don’t actually know. I’d like a nice surprise. 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Pissenlit!

      Oh I loved the ones you added, especially your Leafs one. Nice to see my boy, Clarkie looking good on there. 😉 Thanks for including them.

      Oh wow – you need to come over here and teach me how to wrap like that. My sis is that good, but I’m only a second string wrapper!

  • May says:

    No… They are ugly….

    I can be both… depends on how rushed I am!

    Candles… I don’t like them and they are way too pricy… I would have prefer anything else…

    I am a sucker for Disney ornaments…

    I like shopping for my own gifts actually… I don’t think anyone really knows my taste perfectly so I will take gift cards…

  • What a lovely gathering of hot guys singing badly !! When you look that good you can sing as badly as you like! These were lovely and great fun, Anna! Thank you for sharing them. (Even if you won’t share your hockey hunks!)

    1. Christmas sweaters. Sometimes, but never truly ugly ones. I have an adorable Christmas sweater vest with a picture of a cute little pug in a Santa hat that says Bah Humpug !

    2. I do the wrapping paper thing more often than not. Sometimes bows, not always.

    3. Worst ever Christmas present? Hmm. I honestly cannot think of anything. I have been most fortunate in my gifts!

    4. My Literary Ace Snoopy Ornament. A writing buddy sent him to me. It is Snoopy in a Santa hat, his yellow birdie buddy perched on his knee, also in a Santa hat. Snoopy is seated at a typewriter. I love that ornament!

    5. For the post office to find the box of research books that went missing between Greensboro, NC and here. They found the label and bar code, sliced off the package, but no sign of the package. I truly hope the person who thought they were stealing something expensive gets coal in their stocking and I hope they left the box of books at the post office station from which they pilfered it.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Louisa and to all your fur babies!

      For you, I will always share my hockey hunks – I know you’ll appreciate them 😉

      Oh no! I can’t believe someone would steal all your lovely research books! I hope that they are returned to you by Santa and his elves. Fingers tightly crossed!

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Hi Anna!

    Love the covers on those short stories! *slurp*

    Lessee, the questions…

    Christmas sweaters – yes or no?
    No. Just..no.
    Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?
    Fancy wrapper if I have even a small bit of time. I have sort of a signature style to my wrapping…brown paper usually, with rustic ribbons and bows tied up with silk flowers and berries and such. If I have no time, it gets tossed in a gift bag. Alas, the gift bags happen more and more frequently. *hangs head*
    Worst Christmas present?
    Hmmm…Probably this one… when I was about seventeen, I got little girl panties from my grandmother. I mean seriously. Panties that would fit somebody maybe six years old. I think that’s how she still thought of me.
    Favourite Christmas ornament? An old fashioned glass ball ornament (blue glass) with santa flying his sleigh, complete with all eight reindeer in full flight. The sleight and reindeer were in white glitter. Very detailed and just a gorgeous piece of work. I don’t see anything like that available now. It was very old, even when I was a child. I don’t have it. I think it’s still at my mom’s.
    What would you like Santa to bring you?
    Time. Just a lot of free time so I can be creative without interruption. I miss that more than I could ever express.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Cassondra!

      They are rather tasty, aren’t they? I’m loving all the research that goes into them. It’s a tough job, but for my readers … ;)!

      Your vintage ornament sounds beautiful. I love vintage baubles. One of my favourites is Santa kissing Mrs. Claus inside a red bauble. So cute and you can’t find anything like it now.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Delightful post, Anna! I love your hockey hunks even though I’m not much of a fan.

    Ugh, Christmas sweaters?
    Love me the fancy wrapping more than the inside stuff.
    No bad presents; my family knows me well.
    I just want a happy and content 2016!

    Favorite all time ornament was the marshmallow elves I made one year from felt and marshmallows. I discovered my then 3-year old had taken a giant bite out of the back of every one! Hilarious Christmas!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas to you and your enormous brood, Jo!

      Isn’t it funny how everyone assumes Christmas jumpers are ugly?! I have some lovely festive knitwear! My favourite is a really cute sweater with sheep in festive jumpers. 🙂

      LOL on the marshmallow ornaments.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    I’m so sorry to everyone who stopped by that I was unable to comment yesterday. We went to see gorgeous grandson, who is now 2, and I assumed I’d be back home in time to play. But really bad weather meant we were home late and I developed a migraine. *sigh*.

    To make up for missing out on the fun, I will offer everyone who commented yesterday a signed, limited edition of my winter short story, A Perfect Storm. Simply email me via my website or the mailroom here in the Lair. I will announce the winner … shortly!

  • Laurie G says:

    I’m late.

    Christmas sweaters no. I do have 2 black long sleeve shirts which are subtle 1 has a snowflake pattern in the upper corner made out of sparkles, the other has a small snowman made with silver specs.

    wrapping – I only cover with paper.

    worst present a gargoyle heavy and ugly I have no idea why they ( my aunt and uncle) gifted this to me I was around 12

    Favorite Christmas ornament Is a Santa painted on a starfish

    Gift I want- My family together for Christmas and a KINDLE.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Laurie!

      No, since I was late, you get to be ‘just in time’! 🙂

      I like the sound of your subtle festive shirts, but not the gargoyle! Oh dear!

      I have a Santa painted on a starfist too – and one made out of a lobster claw!