Choc Lit Christmas Special – Day 1

choclit-logoxmassmallerChristmas is almost here, so for the next twelve days we thought we’d have our own special Christmas celebrations here in the Choc Lit Authors’ Corner. We’ll be discussing everything to do with the festive season (our Top Ten heroes for this year being our favourite topic of course) so please come back every day until New Year’s Eve to see what we’re up to. And don’t miss the special giveaways – every second day you’ll have the chance to win something to add to your own stocking, starting today with Chris Stovell’s lovely novel Turning the Tide!

To get you all into the Christmas spirit, here’s what our authors had to say when asked “When does Christmas really start for you?”

JaneI’d like to say that it starts in June, when I buy my first Christmas presents, but the reality doesn’t really kick in until the shops close on Christmas Eve and I’m forcibly shunted out onto the pavement surrounded by plastic carriers, but minus the three bags of sprouts I went in for!

Kate – December. Well, I try to make it December. And then I panic I’ve run out of time. I didn’t buy my first presents until the last week of November, and I’ll probably be halfway through December when I put the tree up. Actually… That’s when it starts for me. When I put the tree up!

Margaret – When Mum and I make the puddings – in November, on Stir Up Sunday, which was 20 November this year (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stir-up_Sunday )

clxmasadvent1Christina – For me, it always starts on the first day of Advent (fourth Sunday before Christmas) because that’s when I get my Advent candles out and light the first one. This is a Swedish tradition and a lovely way to begin the countdown to Christmas I think!

EvonneIdeally when I’m boarding the train, boat or plane that will take me somewhere sunny until it is all over. But as that is not going to happen, the concert of nine lessons and carols on the radio on Xmas Eve.

Chris – When I start playing Christmas music. ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’, from Handel’s Messiah and ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ from Vivaldi’s Gloria are synonymous with Christmas morning. Then I like to wheel out the cheesy old crooners like Dean Martin singing, ‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow’!

Linda complete with Christmas tree earrings and this year's cache of prezzies

Linda complete with Christmas tree earrings and this year's cache of prezzies

LindaThe gun to the side of my head to seriously get into Christmas starts when my dear friend, Cee, rings up suggesting possible dates for us to meet for a pre-Christmas lunch and exchange of prezzies. This call usually comes in early December and means I have to think about presents, go out and buy them, wrap them. And that’s when the magic of Christmas starts for me – the thinking of that one person for whom I’m buying or wrapping the present at the time I’m doing it. Without Cee and that early call I’d be rushing around like a headless chicken on Christmas Eve. Cee lives in North Devon and I live in the south of the county so we meet half way for lunch. I always wear my Christmas tree earrings and Cee wears enough flashing brooches to illuminate Wookey Hole – huge fun and it gets us in the spirit, especially if the weather is grotty on our journeys to the meet-up.

Liz – It starts the moment that I finish writing my Christmas cards – that’s a real bore, and the second it’s done – which this year was on 15th December – I treat myself to some chocolate and let Christmas begin.

JulietGetting the Christmas tree. We go to a local farm which is run by friends, so it’s one of the least stressful Christmas shopping trips! Normally it’s the weekend before Christmas, but this year we were early – so Christmas will probably seem longer than usual!

Henriette – In my home we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and for me it truly starts in the afternoon on that day when we bring in the tree and decorate it, accompanied by my favourite piece of Christmas music, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. That sets the festive mood before dinner.

Well, it seems Christmas has well and truly started now for all of us – how about you? When do you think it all begins? Do you agree with any of us? The best comment will win you a copy of Turning the Tide by Chris Stovell (competition ends midnight on Christmas Day).

Please come back tomorrow and we’ll tell you about our favourite Christmas traditions (some more “traditional” than others)!


16 thoughts on “Choc Lit Christmas Special – Day 1

  1. I must say the Christmas puddings seem to have turned out well this year – all black and glossy, yum!

  2. I used to do something similar, Margaret – making the Christmas cake at the end of October! But maybe that IS a little early for Christmas to start …

  3. Lovely to read about all the different thoughts of when Christmas starts.
    For me personally it is quite simmilar to Christina. I live in Austria, having a huge tradition on advent wreaths, so on the 1st adventsunday there will always be a real big one in church, first candle lit through the service, and then in the afternoon at home our own small one. A cup of tee and some christmas stories go with it.
    I also find it always real christmassy, when lighting lots of candles now in this dark time of the year. Near the windows, e.g.. With that also comes the gathering of all my christmas cd´s from the various shelves around home. I love listening to christmas music!

  4. Oh dear, I have to confess I hate Christmas pudding! In fact, I don’t like any desserts with alcohol in them at all. Chocolate on the other hand … 😀

  5. I’d love to be able to sing, Flowerpot. It must be such an exhilarating experience to sing in a choir, but even the Choirmaster himself, Gareth Malone, would have trouble getting a note out of me!

  6. I like to torture people with my rendition of ‘Hark the Herald Angels’ at Christmas – you have been warned! 🙂 (I don’t sing the rest of the year unless I’m alone though, I promise).

  7. There’s not a particular time or particular event that flips the Christmas switch for me – I never see it coming. It might be one day in a bookstore when I see the cover of an old-fashioned Night Before Christmas. It might be in a coffee shop when I have the first sip of a Peppermint Latte or on the street when I see the first red scarf and mittens. This year it was on Saturday night, as I stoked the fire and realised that a feeling of peace and quiet had descended, quite like a Christmas Eve. That was it!

  8. I think Christmas starts in our house when the tree goes up, I drink my first mulled wine and G no longer asks me if I’m going to the gym, when I’m eating chocolate… because you’re allowed to eat it over Christmas-time! (I’ve already read and loved Chris’ book so no need to enter me in the draw.)

  9. Christmas starts, I suppose, in late December when you meander in to Sainsbury’s for want of something more fulfilling and buy your Christmas puddings at half-price. They then glower at you every time you open the cupboard and you wonder why you bought something that took up so much space. But that’s the stressy bit of Christmas which builds through the year. Christmas, proper Christmas, really starts about December 27th when everyone has gone home and suddenly peace – it’s so peaceful it must be heaven sent – reigns. You have a fridge filled with leftovers – which often improve with a day or two’s ‘rest’ – and boxes of nuts, figs, chocolates, bottles of port, liqueurs, special wines, wonderful patés, and buckets of reading matter of every sort and description. So you can cosy up and eat and drink and read like a dormouse, watch the occasional film, saunter out for a walk or two, but otherwise do absolutely nothing at all. That’s when Christmas bliss, starts.

    (By the way – I have read and loved Chris’ book, too, and can’t wait for the next one – so I’ll pass with Kath on this one)

  10. I do like the idea of your Christmas arriving in unexpected ways, Pondside. Enjoy the peace and quiet of hearth and home.
    Maria, Kath and Fennie – thanks all for your very kind words.
    Thank you LindyLouMac, I hope you’ll return for more Choc Lit author celebrations over the festive season.

  11. Katrin – I didn’t know you had the same tradition in Austria, that’s great!

    I like everyone else’s start to Christmas too 🙂

  12. Christmas starts for me on Christmas eve. By then I’ve done all the shopping I’m going to do. Although buying stuff is a requirement, I don’t think that’s what Christmas is really about. I was tempted to say Boxing Day as that’s my day when I’ve done all the looking after everyone else bit, but that isn’t really what it’s all about either. Christmas eve is when I start cooking in ernest – Christmas is definitely about food! On Christmas day I feed as many members of our families as we can fit in and do my best to ensure everyone is happy. There might still be guests on Boxing day – they’re welcome to forage for what they can while I spend the day eating Christmas pudding and reading.

  13. Pondside, along with red scarves and mittens, you’ll have a copy of Turning the Tide to look at soon. I hope you get some peaceful time in front of your fire to sit and read it.

    Many thanks to everyone who left comments over the first two days of Christmas blogging; it was lovely to read your thoughts both on when Christmas starts for you and about your Christmas traditions.

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