Category: Christmas

Ten Christmastime Romances to Read This Year

Ten Christmastime Romances to Read This Year

You know the drill – Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by the lovely ThatArtsyReaderGirl.

This week is a freebie, so naturally I had to go with 10 Romances to read around Christmas. Not that you’ll have time to, what with the movie watching, cooking baking, gingerbread house decorating, present wrapping, and so on and so forth. But if you do manage to sneak a book in, and you enjoy a good seasonal romance, you might want to add these to your list. I naturally went for 5 Regency romances in a nod to my reading streak along with 5 contemporary ones. A warning: I haven’t read any of these (a common theme for my Top Ten Tuesday lists), so read at your own risk.

  • The Earl’s Christmas Bride by Ella Quinn
    • This is something like 7th or 7.5 in a series, but I don’t think it’s a series in which you need to read all the others in order to enjoy it. A lady wants to go travel around Europe and a “happy bachelor” is determined to marry her…and take her to Europe (?). It sounds cute and fun, like a Christmas romance should be.
  • The Holly and the Ivy by Elisabeth Fairchild
    • The blurb contains the words “thorny duke” and “scandalous misunderstanding”, and the book has the man-who-hates-Christmas and woman-who-loves-it storyline. Honestly, what else could you ask for?
  • The Great Christmas Candy Caper by Karen Hall
    • There’s Christmas, candy, and a caper. I don’t know what else to tell you in order to sell you on this book. It’s really a short story (less than 100 pages), but has it’s own Goodreads page, so if you’re looking to pad your numbers this December, it’s an option. It’s also only $1.99 on Amazon. I’m talking to myself here. 🙂
  • A Bride for Christmas by Aileen Fish
    • Another novella – this one only 63 pages – and selling for a grand total of $0.00, this still managed to catch my attention. Mainly because the guy enlists his niblings in winning over the lady, to be honest. I enjoy books with kids, and since he has to “slay her dragons”, the addition of wee ones helping him seems right. Also – another one to pad the ol’ Goodreads Reading Challenge numbers.
  • The Lady’s Guide to Mistletoe and Mayhem by Emmanuelle de Maupassant
    • A woman fleeing from a marriage by pretending to be an etiquette teacher, a Texan who is also a Scottish heir, a curse, mysterious deaths, a Scottish setting, and Christmas? Say no more. Add it to the list.
  • Snowed in at Harper’s Inn by Catelyn Meadows
    • Apparently one in a series of clean Christmas romances written by a bunch of different authors (the next one is part of this series as well), this involves a “what if things were different” magical plot device, a cute lil Inn, a sudden breakup, and a “we’ve been friends forever, but maybe we should be in love” storyline. Honestly, it sounds like a Hallmark movie.
  • Snowed in at the Archive by Ellie Thornton
    • I think I like books with snow on the cover because I haven’t seen snow in real life in 5(?) years and I’ve always dreamed of a snowy winter/Christmas. That’s what I get for living in the South, I guess. Anyway, there’s an archive involved so I don’t know what else to say – of course I’m going to want to pick up a book set in an archive while there’s snow everywhere.
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
    • The heroine here is stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque time loop for at least *some* of the book, and the reviews are quite split on if it works or not. Reading the blurb makes me think it may be cute, but apparently the romance is also hit or miss. I’m so divided on this one. I like the ideas here – time loops, love with the boy you’ve known forever, leaving traditions behind (unwillingly), but the reviews are meh at best. But who knows, it could be my favorite book.
  • Fool Me Twice at Christmas by Camilla Isley
    • Once upon a time, Shane and I broke up over the holidays – and yet I still made him have Thanksgiving (I think it was Thanksgiving) dinner with my parents as if we hadn’t. A decade later, we’re married, so I connect with the idea of “we broke up, but let’s not tell our parents” and then ending up back in a relationship. The book has the added perk of them becoming “accidentally engaged” which is a thing that didn’t happen to me. It’s the first in a series called Christmas Romantic Comedy so I also know it’s my kind of vibe.
  • Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
    • The first in a 17 book/novella series, it starts with a major life upheaval and claiming an inheritance – both things I really like. I’ve always heard Jill Shalvis is an excellent writer, and I’m tempted to pick up a copy for that reason alone. Also, who doesn’t love a “fall in love with the handyman” story?

Writing this post has made me want to go out and get several of these and spend some evenings reading. I do not need more ebooks. I do not need more ebooks. I do not need more ebooks.

It is Christmas, though.

-S

Christmas!

I had every intention of writing a Top Ten Tuesday post for today, but I decorated instead. Oops.

We have not truly decorated for Christmas since 2019. We’ve made feeble attempts, but neither of us has been in the Christmas spirit the last few years. As part of my “celebrate all the holidays” push, I decided that we would decorate even if the vibes are off. Luckily for me, the vibes are 100% perfect. Shane is just here for the ride.

I decided to not buy any decorations, and then promptly bought new stockings, so 99% of our ornaments are the ones my grandparents gave me every year growing up. I’m going to try to grow our collection slowly, maybe buy a few on clearance.

Anyway, no one cares about my rambling, here are some pictures. Heavy on the cats, as always.

Bear is absolutely head over heels in love with both the tree and the light up penguin. Klaus tries to eat both the tree and the ornaments.

The mini tree is in the bedroom and the box with candles is in my office.

See you Thursday!

-S

My December Bucket List

My December Bucket List

Welcome to the least ambitious December Bucket List of 2022. In my defense, I live in Savannah so that removes anything snow or cold weather related, and I don’t have kids so kid-related activities are also out. That leaves a tiny little pool of December/Christmas activities to choose from.

  1. Finish decorating for Christmas! We didn’t really decorate last Christmas…or the Christmas before that and it’s time for a Christmas tree in this apartment. Hopefully the cats won’t try to climb the thing. They are 100% going to try to climb it.
    1. Honestly, this one will definitely be done before December 1st, but I’m counting it anyway.
  2. Watch some amount of Christmas Movies. I said something like 20 (started at 45, which is insane) in my Hallmark Christmas Movies post, so that number works. But honestly, 5 will be fine too. Not fussed.
  3. Go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. They’re playing in a bunch of cities within a few hours around us, so that’s definitely on the list.
  4. Make Shane’s coworkers lil not-actually-Christmas-related treat bags. I love baking and December is the best baking month, but I definitely don’t want to eat all, or most, of the cookies, so treat bags it is!
  5. Wrap and send presents with enough time for said presents to get to their destinations before Christmas day. This will be a minor miracle if it happens.
  6. Cook Christmas Brunch/Dinner. It’ll almost certainly be an early dinner in order to work around Shane’s work schedule, but maybe I’ll do a little Egg Benedict for breakfast as well. That was the traditional Christmas breakfast when I was a kid.
  7. Do some Christmas Light viewing – I need to find out if there are any neighborhoods known for their lights or a organization that does a light show in December. I love looking at Christmas lights.
  8. Decorate a gingerbread house, as is traditional. I’m going to try not to cry this year.
  9. Listen to a Christmas audiobook or 2. I think I should probably take a break from podcasts for a month and listen to a few books.
  10. Deep clean the apartment for the new year. Besides not crying over the gingerbread house, this is going to be the toughest one by far.

That’s it, that’s my list of things to get done in December. Nothing too ambitious, except the deep cleaning, and mostly just things that will make me happy. Christmas has been hard for a few years, but 2022 is going to turn it all around. Hopefully. No pressure.

See you Tuesday.

Sarah

I Did Not Learn My Movie Challenge Lesson

I Did Not Learn My Movie Challenge Lesson

Having learned nothing from my Halloween Horror Challenge, I have decided to watch as many Hallmark movies as my brain can take over the next two months. Well, I guess I learned my lesson a little bit, since I have enough sense to modify the rules.

Another plus to this Hallmark Shenanigan is that I absolutely love Hallmark movies. They are comforting, predictable, and give me some level of contentment so I don’t think it’ll be a matter of talking myself into watching them. I definitely did have to talk myself into watching the horror movies.

Here’s the setup:

I have Hallmark for the holiday season and I want to see how many Christmas movies I can watch between November 1st and Christmas. I am thinking about going until New Year’s Eve, though. I don’t have a solid goal number, but I do have a sort of target number that would be nice to hit. 60. Which seems like an insane number, now that I’ve typed it out. Maybe I’ll shoot for 45. I guess it doesn’t matter, really.

Hallmark has something like 300 Christmas movies along with a handful of Hanukkah and New Year’s movies. I decided to limit it to movies made in 2020, 2021, and 2022 just to have an arbitrary way to cut down on the movies I have to choose from. There are still 76, by the way.

Here’s the plan:

There isn’t one, really. Just watch movies as often as I can, I guess. That’s not going to be particularly easy, though. My November and December are packed with travel, blogging, getting healthy, work, gatherings, shows, and obviously all the holidays. Plus, since Shane isn’t particularly interested in Hallmark Movies (surprising, eh?), we probably won’t be watching them when we’re hanging out together. Since we enjoy each other, we tend to hang out as much as possible. During October, it was really helpful that he enjoys horror movies and was excited to watch them with me.

Honestly, though, this is just formalizing my already very well documented hobby of Hallmark Christmas movie watching. It’s sort of my seasonal jam.

-S

#TBTBSanta – My Favorite Christmas Activity

I’d like to take a quick break from Halloween to discuss my favorite Christmas activity – #tbtbsanta. It’s by the same lovely lady that brings us Top Ten Tuesday – Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ve taken part a fair few times, and I’m excited for 2022!

Obviously, she explains it best, so I’ll link to her post from last year since this year’s sign-ups start on Halloween. The simplest description is that it’s a Secret Santa swap for people who love books. It used to be hosted by a blog called The Broke and The Bookish (hence the tbtb), but when it shut down in 2018, Jana took over. It’s so much work, I’m incredibly impressed that it keeps happening year after year.

There are tiers of the swap – you can just do Christmas cards, a book and a goodie, a book (or 2) and a couple goodies, or several books and multiple gifts. I think the greatest thing about the swap is that no one is disappointed with their packages. Some people go all out – I once got a package that had an “advent calendar” of little gifts to open throughout the month – and some people are more mellow about it, but everyone gets so much joy out of the swap. A lot of people stay in touch with each other after the swap, as well.

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten so much happiness from doing this swap. It’s hard to feel like too much like everything is terrible when I’m picking out gifts for someone. And getting a box of goodies and books is always a happy occasion, no matter what’s going on in my life. Filling out the survey when I’m signing up is so much fun as well. Since you have to provide wish lists to your Secret Santa, searching for the perfect assortment of products and books is late night activity between announcement and sign-up. I think there’s a cap, so get it early if you do want to particpate!

This year, being the year it feels like things are turning around, I’m even more excited than normal to make a swap. I’m excited to pick the perfect stuff for a box. I seriously can’t wait to get started!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled spooky season content.

-S