Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giveaway: 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

Winter draws nigh, and I'm pleased to say that my NaNoWriMo project is ready to bed. I've decided to hibernate this December - that is, instead of beginning a new writing project, I'm going to be restudying my books on writing and taking the time to pen some short stories to fill out my collection. This is a perfect opportunity for a blog hop & giveaway, hosted by Sarah Belliston.

There’s one thing I find especially wonderful about the holidays: It’s easy to make them your own. My mum-in-law, who hails from southern Georgia, likes a country style Christmas, with plenty of family running underfoot and big meals. I was delighted last year to find she had hung a stocking for me on the fireplace with the rest of her children. Inside, I found candy, a toothbrush, socks, and an orange. My parents, on the other hand, have much more low key traditions. We would go to a tree farm and pick out a live tree, hauling it into the house, huffing and puffing. We’re not much for large poultry, so my father often grills steaks for holiday dinners. And we all curl up together on the couch to watch movies.

This year will be the first winter with just myself and The Spouse. I’ve been thinking of what sorts of traditions we’d like to have each year. How would we “remake” the holidays so that they suited us? Both of us prefer small touches rather than grand affairs. And I realized my favorite depictions of Christmas are those in the Victorian style.

Victorian yule was marked with natural decor embellished with silver and gold. I find the mixture of live greens and real pinecones mixed with stunning silver and gold ornaments to be quite beautiful. Then there is caroling in the snow, sleigh rides, and Boxing Day to follow. I think it suits The Spouse and I very well, as our favorite holiday movies include “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker” ballet.

It seemed only fitting that my slot in the Giveaway is “9 Ladies Dancing.”

I’m using this theme to share a touch of my take on the holidays with a lucky winner. My giveaway prize will include two kinds of tea and a Collector’s Library edition of “Emma” by Jane Austen, with pretty gold leaf pages and attached ribbon bookmark.

With this package, you’ll be all set for an elegant winter's evening of your own! I'll also be adding a few MYSTERY GOODIES into the mix.

To enter, tell me in the comments below about how you make the holidays "your own." Be sure to leave an email address. For a second entry, share this contest with others by blogging or tweeting about it. Please include the link to the blog post or tweet. I'll be using a random generator to select a recipient. It would be lovely if you followed my blog and Twitter, but isn't required. This contest is open to residents U.S. and Canada only.

Be sure to check out the other giveaways featured in this holiday blog hop!

This giveaway has ended! 
Thanks to everyone who entered. 
Stay tuned for the winner!


  1. I tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/CariAlbarelli/status/141658337631678464

    My family holidays are pretty normal. But, a friend of mine has an annual tree dressing party. Each year she chooses a theme of ornament (ugly, quirky, etc.) and guests bring one for her tree. Winner gets a prize!

    Last year, I had the idea to bring outdoor tree sized ornaments. (You know the ones - GIANT.) So, my friends and I each brought a different giant ornament for her tree. When it was time for her to judge, she couldn't even see them on the tree! She saw beyond them and kept looking at the smaller ornaments she already owned. We had to point each one out to her. It was fantastic.

    So my tradition has become pranking my friend's tree. This year, I want to make a Grinch for her tree. Like this:

  2. My honey and I usually spend the holidays alone. I don't normally do a traditional Christmas dinner. Sometimes, we have soup and bread, other times, it could be pizza. We just enjoy being together, snuggled on the couch and watching movies.
    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

  3. Since I was fourteen, I've always been in either boarding school for most of the Christmas holidays, so festive cheer is a little bit different for me! In previous years, my friends and I skipped lessons to watch 'Elf' and 'Home Alone'. In the school kitchen, we'd make mince pies (and mine always turned out a little bit weird...) and it would usually turn into some kind of bizarre food fight.

    One year, it snowed an awful lot and my friend and I spent two hours outside in the dark (freezing cold) making a snowman... But of course, another half an hour later, the boys knocked Maggie the very definitely female snowman down...

    This year, I'm not sure what's going to happen because I'm in uni for most of it. I think that it's going to involve a lot of film watching, secret Santas and just general karaoke to Christmas music.


  4. Oops! Sorry, my email is: georgiasummers@me.com

  5. @Cari: An "ugly" themed tree has me SUPER CURIOUS. And that Grinch tree is so LOL! Love it!

    @Athena: That sounds so perfect!

    @Georgia: Oh man, karaoke, DON'T GET ME STARTED. I can do Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" like a beast.

  6. I came to check out your place when I heard about this blog hop. Such a cool idea!

    And your blog is awesome. Following! :)

  7. My family's Christmas is special 'cause of the goodies my mom always makes. Seven layer candy, date bars, gingerbread men, sugar cookies...all of them delicious. We also attend an annual party hosted by my aunt and uncle, where we stay out late and open presents early. I have splendid adventures with my cousins. :)


  8. @David It's my first hop and major giveaway, it's been really fun so far! Maybe you and I can participate in one together next time.

    @Stephanie Oh man, that all sounds delish! *Homer gurgle*

  9. It's not very "holidayesque" here in Florida with the palm trees, but the husband and I have started a new tradition of taking the dogs down to check out the Christmas lights.


  10. Christmas breakfast is huge in my family. It's a tradition for everyone to bring a dish, then we gather around and open presents before we dig in. It's really my favorite meal of the year.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Melanie.M.McCullough at gmail dot com

  11. @Erica: Fur-babies love holiday traditions, too!

    @Melanie: Ooh, I like that idea. Breakfast is the best!

  12. I go crazy decorating. The baby is one so I know he won't remember it, but I've decorated the whole house like crazy.


  13. We have so many little things that we do that are not really based on either of our family's traditions. We put our Christmas cards up around the kitchen after we read them and then afterward, they are cut into puzzles for the kids.

    Thanks for participating in the hop and for the giveaway opportunity.


  14. @MaMaMunky: Oh, he'll remember it after you whip out the embarrassing obligatory "Baby's First Christmas" photos and show them to his prom date.

    @Sophia: That's a really great idea for using up old Christmas cards!

  15. My family has their own traditions. Church on Christmas Eve, "White Christmas" viewing that evening, everyone in bed by 11, and then us kids (I use that term loosely) wake up and dig through our stockings while waiting for the older folks to get up. And no Christmas morning is complete without monkey bread for breakfast.

    smcdanielc [at] gmail [dot] com

  16. I'm loving this blog hop and your prize package looks delightful!

    Like SM above, growing up it was all about the early morning stockings and the monkeybread. The past two years my husband and I have been living in small apartments, so we have a tiny artificial tree that only Charlie Brown would love, and we like to decorate it with non-ornaments, like a garland made out of neon green (barrel of) monkeys.

    writingonalimb [at] gmail

  17. I guess we make it our own by letting our kids do a lot of things. Decorating, drawing pictures to hang on the walls (seriously, my walls are covered), making countdown chains, making treats, wrapping presents. The more they do, the funner everything is!

    peggyeddleman (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. My family really makes it. We call it the marathon because for 48 hours there is not a moment for me where I am not with a family member for my side or my boyfriends. It is busy but it is great
    mf060784 at gmail

  19. @SM & Jillian: MONKEY BREAD! I must have some now.

    @Peggy: Homemade decor makes everything personal. :)

    @Michelle: I use to love family hopping during the holidays. It's like celebrating twice!

  20. I married into a musical family, so Christmas evening is all about sitting around in a big (24 people) circle with everyone playing and/or singing. Makes it a very special time.

  21. Name: Dunya M
    E-mail: dunyamouallem@hotmail.com

    My family's pretty normal (well, no we're not. But our Christmas traditions are pretty standard), but sometimes we do this Chinese gift-giving or something like that. I don't really know how to explain it, but it's fun and can get a little competitive!

  22. @Rebecca: That sounds really beautiful. :)

    @Dunya M: A little family competition is not only expected, but healthy, methinks!

  23. To keep the kids Excited my husband started doing advent. Each day the kids find a surprise on the tree leading up to the holiday. We also get together with my in laws and bake cookies and bread and we sing carols and watch movies.


  24. I don't have kids or a family of my own yet, so I am still working on creating my own traditions. Besides obsessively decorating my apartment of decorations Ive been collecting over the years, I do like making chocolate covered pretzels. I have to admit, that the main reason I like to make them is because they are easy to make, not exactly handy in the kitchen. ;)


  25. @Robin: That sounds so ridiculously perfect!

    @Carmen: Chocolate covered pretzels are THE BEST. Any recipe that uses minimal technique and yet results in delectableness is a keeper!

  26. I make the holidays my own by decorating for my self ... i put out the things I've made and the things I love. And I love to meet with friends this time of year for a chat. To slow down and take time to be with them... thank you for the giveaway.. I love tea!


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