Tiny Treats for the Holidays

A little more than a month ago, I got a wild hair to do a collection of micro stories as a free giveaway to readers for the holidays. So I quickly tossed the idea out to several friends to see if they’d be interested, and a good many of them, including several Banditas, were. Yay! The idea was that each person would contribute a really short holiday story of between 500 and 1,200 words. Sounds easy, right? Well, sometimes writing short is harder than writing a longer book. But it was a fun challenge, and the result is Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection, available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, GooglePlay and Smashwords.

Many of the authors involved, including myself, wrote stories set in universes they’d already created in their book series. It’s a fun way to showcase another story in those worlds that might not need a full-length book to be told. Other authors wrote totally new characters and worlds for their stories.

To celebrate, we thought we’d talk about treats today. I asked the authors involved two questions, ones that we’d love to have you answer in the comments today.

1. What is your favorite holiday treat to eat?
2. While you’re buying gifts for others, do you treat yourself? How?

MJ Fredrick

1. Sugar plums!
2. All the time. I buy most gifts online, so I always sneak something in there for me, usually some fun jewelry.

Tanya Michaels

1. Fresh-baked zucchini bread
2. I rarely splurge on myself during gift-giving season. But once the post-holiday sales start…

Anna Sugden

1. Mince pies
2. I don’t need to treat myself because lovely husband usually treats me!

D.B. Sieders

1. Pumpkin pie!
2. I’m usually laser-beam focused on wrangling all the holiday gifts efficiently, but when it comes to those after-Christmas sales? It’s all about ME!

Beth Pattillo

1. Homemade enchiladas. (Don’t judge!)
2. Every year I buy one piece of my Spode Christmas Tree dinnerware. The collection is growing!

Lindsey Brookes

1. Christmas cookies!
2. Mostly gifts for others when I am Christmas shopping. I treat myself enough the rest of the year. Mostly with purses, I’m sort of a purse-a-holic.

Tawny Weber

1. Homemade hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream is my favorite treat. Love love love the warm, chocolatey sweetness. Sometimes I’ll add a candy cane for fun.
2. My treat to myself while holiday shopping is usually finding a fun place to eat out as a break, often somewhere that I can watch the rest of the crazed shoppers. It’s good entertainment. But we have a family rule that nobody can buy themselves anything “gifty” from November onward. It’s hard enough to figure out gifts for everyone without someone inadvertently buying themselves exactly what we’ve hidden away under the bed. So, sadly, I can’t make the rule if I break the rule.

Monica McCabe

1. Red velvet cake balls!
2. I don’t normally treat myself during holiday shopping. I splurge enough year round, but usually save those pennies for travel.

Gretchen Stull

1. I love all things chocolate-filled and powdered sugar dusted. That said, I look forward to the holidays for my mom’s stuffing. It’s the best there is!
2. It depends. I’m not much of a shopper in general, but for the few times a year I’m forced to shop, I am a horrible impulse buyer. I don’t go out with the intention of getting anything for myself, but if I see something that I just HAVE to have, it will likely come home with me unless I’m in the store long enough to regain my sanity and overcome the impulse.

Nancy Northcott

1. The dh’s chocolate swirl brownies
2. I don’t generally treat myself to anything while shopping except breaks from shopping–which I desperately need!

Heather McGovern

1. Orange Snowballs
2. Starbucks venti coffee with caramel from the mini-Starbucks inside Target. I have to have one to complete my mission.

Michelle Monkou

1. Steamed pudding and custard
2. I normally don’t treat myself until after the season is done and I’m ready to wind down.

Maureen Hardegree

1.Lindor Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles.
2. I always manage to purchase a few books (usually romances) and a supply of Lindt Truffles. As Santa, it’s my job to see that all the stockings are filled, including my own!

Donna MacMeans

1. Thanksgiving and Christmas means pumpkin in this house. I love pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cakes rolls, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, which also means lots of whipped cream in the house.
2. As for gifts, I normally don’t treat myself when buying gifts for others…except when I’m buying something for my sister-in-law. I never know what to get her. I end up buying several things that I like, then take them home for my husband to decide. I keep the cast-offs. It’s a good system!

Bridget Hodder

1. Fave treat: Mozart Kugeln chocolates, o’ the sinfulness, o’ the layers of pistachio, almond and truffled deliciousness! I wait for those all year
2. Um. I buy a LOT of Mozart chocolates under the (possibly mistaken, but very happy) assumption of “Do unto Others…” And if I eat a few boxes myself, who’s to notice?

Natalie J. Damschroder

1. Cracker candy!
2. Not exactly. I usually end up getting myself a little something to stick in my stocking or under the tree, and it’s typically something that I got for all four of us. Like last year it was portable battery flashlights that we can charge our electronics with. (Yes, I’m very practical. *sigh*)

Nicki Salcedo

1. Jamaican Christmas cake.
2. A massage or spa day the day after Christmas with my sisters. We’ve been doing this for years.

Jody Wallace

1. Peanut butter fudge and chocolate truffles, alternating bites.
2. Totally, because it’s a “gift” for certain people I’m married to when I buy something for myself and tell him that’s what he’s giving me for Christmas.

Dorien Kelly

1. Hershey’s Secret Kiss cookies. And Champagne, though I will drink that anytime!
2. I don’t treat myself when shopping for others because I’m a bit of a gypsy and more than anything, need to get rid of stuff. It’s tough to travel with things holding you down.

Sally Kilpatrick

1. So many treats to choose from. Sausage balls are a huge part of our Christmas tradition. I don’t know why, but they are. Mom also makes the best nuts and bolts, and my MIL does this fudge that goes in a ceramic on the coffee table in the living room.
2. I don’t generally buy much for myself while shopping, but I do like to check out the after-Christmas sales. Day after Thanksgiving is the day we usually dedicate to shopping for Christmas angels and what-not.

Suzanne Ferrell

1. Cranberry relish. Homemade with my mom’s recipe. Crushed cranberries in cherry Jell-O with chopped pecans, celery and apples. It’s the one thing I make for Thanksgiving that I don’t care if another soul eats it.
2. I don’t usually treat myself with anything tangible while shopping, but I do treat myself to a night of White Christmas while wrapping the gifts…if hot chocolate is involved, it’s not my fault!

Janice Lynn

1. My favorite holiday treat would be all the goodies my mom makes each Christmas–Martha Washington candy, peanut butter balls, 5-layer desert, the list goes on & on.
2. I don’t consciously buy something for myself at Christmas but I love a decorated house and tend to add lots of new pieces each year. Plus, buying new outfits for Christmas parties and such is a necessity, not really a treat.

beach-chairs-494558_1280Anna Sugden

1. Mince pies – with lots of cream!
2. Not really, but if I see something I make sure that Santa knows about it.

Trish Milburn

1. Pumpkin pie and Christie Cookies made here in Nashville. OMG, you can taste the butter as soon as you take the first bite. They’re sinfully delicious and made with zero preservatives.
2. I’m to the point where I’m like Monica. I much prefer to use that money toward travel. I usually like to get away to someplace warm during those dreary, cold winter months.



  • Shannon says:

    Congrats. Lots of nibbles.

    1. Butterhorns (home made).
    2. Well, I have to buy books for my nephew and my neices,, so of course a book fro me and time to read it.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Trish,
    My favorite holiday dish is green bean casserole, but favorite holiday treat/sweets is shortbread cookies. I do occasionally treat myself when shopping for gifts. It’s usually something cheap in terms of price like pjs, slippers or makeup.

  • flchen1 says:

    My favorite treat around the holidays is homemade cookies–I’m not picky, just about any kind will do 😉 As for shopping, sometimes I’ll treat myself too–it depends 😉 It’s lovely to splurge on others, but occasionally it’s nice to take care of yourself too!

  • Trish, congratulations on the release of TINY TREATS. What a great idea. I downloaded it the minute I knew it was available and thanks to the fact that I now have a working Kindle (as of today), I’m looking forward to dipping into it through all the crazy weeks ahead. We’re in deep summer here and I’m loving the local cherries. The season never lasts long so I eat lots and lots of them!

    • Thanks, Anna. Since your Christmas comes in the middle of summer, I’m guessing your Christmas feasts may have some different dishes than we have. Are there things more suited to cooling you off than cold-weather, comfort foods? And does Santa wear swimming trunks? 🙂

      • Santa definitely comes ready for a pool party. A lot of people do the traditional English Christmas still – Turkey and trimmings and plum pudding. But a lot of people have barbecues or go to the beach or have seafood which is just right for summer over here. I must say, though, that to me, Christmas is eating far too much of completely inappropriate for the climate food!

    • Anna, I so wanna be where you are at Christmastime. We are getting our first blast of arctic winter here in Ohio and I’m ready to head somewhere warm!

  • Amy Conley says:

    Favorite holiday treat? I guess it would be popcorn balls, since I’ve been eating so many lately. My aunt used to make these and send them to us for Christmas.

    Do I treat myself? Yes but only because I’m getting something, usually a book, to wrap from one of my grandkids and sometimes hubby.

    • Amy, I had to laugh at this a little because when my sister and I used to go trick or treating in this little town where my grandma lived, there was a woman who gave out popcorn balls. My sister and I weren’t fans, probably because we wanted more chocolate. 🙂

    • Amy, I haven’t had popcorn balls in a while, but I remember loving them.

    • Bridget Hodder says:

      Are popcorn balls sweet? I guess I could Google that, but I never had them…we used to make popcorn garlands for the Christmas tree.

  • Helen says:


    I have this one waiting for me to dive into 🙂

    I love risch Christmas Cake made with lots of fruit and as for treating myself not normally I really don’t like shopping but of course I treat myself all year with great books 🙂

    Have Fun

  • MJ Fredrick says:

    Loll, boy do I sound selfish! But I just bought my husband’s present online, and bought a shirt I’ve been wanting that was on sale! So yeah, I buy myself gifts!

  • Tawny, You have the same family rule that we do. No shopping for yourself from Thanksgiving on. We had to institute ours because the Jazzman, who NEVER shops, would go out shopping for others and think…gee I need (Insert any number of things) and would buy it, usually after one of us had gotten it as his gift!! 🙂

    • We used to have this rule too until the adults stopped buying gifts for each other. Well, hubby and I and my BIL and SIL have. I still buy for my FIL, nieces and nephews and my sister, but that’s it. Hubby and I decided to save and then travel sometimes instead. I’m much less into stuff than I used to be, probably because I’m trying to get rid of so much of it now, but I did get myself another movie soundtrack yesterday, the one for Interstellar. I love it, and it’s great to write to.

    • Suz, I have to laugh at the Jazzman’s habits. At least y’all seem to be zeroed in on what he likes.

  • Trish,

    I have to agree with everyone else what a great idea this was! It was fun being part of the project from start to completion and like everyone else I’ve downloaded my copy and have already read more than half the stories!! Love them!

  • Trish, thanks again for pulling all this together! I’ve already said what my favorite treats are, but I’d like to add that I’ve been buying holiday romances left and right, as I always do at this season. I have some Signet Regency holiday anthologies from several years ago that I’m not parting with. If I wait a few years to re-read, I no longer remember the ending. So it’s like new again.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    I’ve so enjoyed being part of this holiday gift to our readers, Trish! I know they’ll enjoy all the fabulous holiday stories – it’s the romance version of a box of chocolates for the holidays!

    One thing I also like to treat myself to, over the holidays, is marzipan – there are always marzipan Christmas figures and penguins. Yum!

    • Was glad to have you on board too, Anna.

      You know, I’ve never had marzipan. I honestly had to look up what it was. I mean I’ve heard of it, but wasn’t clear on the details.

    • Anna, the dh loves marzipan. Santa brings him some every Christmas.

      I should’ve guessed yours would be penguins. 🙂

    • Bridget Hodder says:

      Okay you guys, those Mozart chocolates I was saying I loved so much? Inside, not only pistachio paste and some kind of awesome liqueur, but also–marzipan. p.s. I am not a paid shill for the Mozart chocolate lobby

  • catslady says:

    1.A thumbprint cookie that we only make at Christmas time – jelly filling, sprinkled nuts and almond extract. Cookies are my downfall – they’re so easy to grab lol.
    2. No – I’m not much of a shopper and just getting everyone else presents is an accomplishment.

    • I don’t mind buying gifts for others, but it’s the wrapping that isn’t my friend. I’m terrible at it, so I’m a great fan of the gift bag. 🙂

    • Catslady,
      I haven’t had a thumbprint in ages, but you reminded me of how much I liked them! I may have to encourage someone to make them, or make them myself this year.

    • Catslady, those cookie sound great!

      I’m not much of a shopper either. I despise going to the mall and especially despise having every single clerk in every single department in every single store offer me their store credit card and refuse to stop talking when I say I’m not interested. I know this is not their fault, that management foists it on them, but that shows a fundamental disrespect for customers to not take NO for an answer.

      This makes online shopping ever more attractive.

  • I’ve been reading the stories in this collection and they’re so much fun. Not all are Christmas stories 🙂 Other holidays are represented as well. The length of the stories are perfect. If you only have fiveteen minutes, you can read one or two in one sitting. Love it. Well worth the price 🙂

    You already have my edible treats. I was at F. A. Schwartz’s store this weekend and they had the cutest little outfits for babies. Made me think that sometimes buying a gift for someone else is as much a gift to yourself as it is to them. 🙂

    • I totally agree. I have derived so much pleasure from buying gifts for other people. For a long time, I’d not been able to have Christmas with my whole family. My sister lived so far away and traveling is expensive. Plus there was bad weather to deal with. But a couple of Decembers ago, my sister and nieces came in a couple of weeks before Christmas because it was going to be my mom’s first Christmas without my dad. I decorated like crazy and bought more gifts than normal. I realized I’d not gotten to see my nieces unwrap their gifts I bought them in a very long time. I had such fun watching them, my sister and my mom open presents and go through their overflowing stockings.

    • Donna, I haven’t dived in yet. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Thank you so much, Trish, for inviting me to participate in Tiny Treats. And for all the work you’ve put into this book! I’ve downloaded my copy and am totally enjoying the many different stories. I’m very fortunate to be in the company of so many fantastic authors!

    Oh, and another Christmas staple for me is Peppermint Bark. I make tons of it every year and send to family far and wide.

  • So excited to be a part of your Holiday Treats collection! And I really love the cover!

  • Many thanks to Trish for the challenge and opportunity. Thanks to the RB’s for showcasing us today! Happy holidays everyone. I love every holiday from every tradition. I’m going to try to make the year a merry one.

  • Nicki, happy holidays to you, too!

  • Everyone has such great treats! I’m one who hates getting Christmasy before Thanksgiving, but this year I’m embracing it WAY early. I might indulge in some of y’all’s favorites asap. 🙂

    • It feels like this year has flown by. I know I say that every year, but this year seems to have gone especially quickly. I think it must be because I was on the road so much this year.

      Because of all of our culling, I sold off both of my Christmas trees and a lot of the decorations I had. I saved my favorites, but now I don’t have a tree to put up. I might just put up the non-tree decorations this year.

  • Oh! Must have this one for those short breaks at work!

    1. Reese’s Christmas Trees. Marzipan. And anything Cadbury!

    2. Yes, I do! Especially when I am ordering online. I used the excuse that the purchase for me makes the total enough for free shipping. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

  • Mozette says:

    1. I usually get things for my family they need around the house, but they don’t realise they need them… not until they get it from me. I’m known to be an awesome gift-giver… my brother has told his friends and gf that he’s known me longer than time and I always get him something either weird and useful or off the planet and useful. 😀

    2. I always treat myself to a Gloria Jeans Christmas Mug and a Left-Handed desk calendar for the following year and a calendar for the kitchen that’s strange and arty… something I can use to paint from. 🙂

  • D.B. Sieders says:

    Huge thanks and cyberhugs to Trish Milburn for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful anthology. I hope readers enjoy our morsels of holiday cheer as much as we enjoyed writing them 🙂