I caroled the praises of fellow historical romance author, Hannah Meredith, on this blog before (Remember: you can send ebooks as gifts to the historical romance novel lovers on your list, and if you’re still looking for recommendations, I suggest Meredith’s Kestrel and A Dangerous Indiscretion…or anything else she’s written!), and it is my great pleasure to welcome her to Romancing a Blog to talk about her latest release, Christmas Revels, an anthology, for this special Christmas Eve edition!
Take it away, Hannah!
Working on the holiday anthology, Christmas Revels, was great fun. It gave me an opportunity to discover some of the Regency traditions, many of which are the same we enjoy today. Particularly the decorating.
I love to decorate for Christmas. I suspect I may get a bit carried away, but I see a gaily decorated house as a gift to everyone who enters. It’s also, of course, a gift to myself, since so many of the things I drag out of the closet and place around the house or hang on the tree have memories wrapped around them.
And Christmas memories are precious.
The majority of the ornaments on my tree are hand-made, either by me or by friends. It is probably a bit of a mish-mash, but I call it a folk art tree, which sounds much classier. I have a lot of cookie decorations I made when our son was little—and that was a looong time ago. I used either Christmas cookie cutters or cut the patterns freehand based on figures in a holiday coloring book. After baking, I painted and sealed them. With careful off-season storage, these have lasted for nearly forty years. I also have embroidered ornaments, and cross stitched ornaments, and crocheted ornaments, and wooden ornaments, and…well, you’re getting the idea. My tree decorations are decidedly do-it-yourself. Those made by now distant friends are particularly special, since having them on my tree is like having these old friends come for a visit.
I’m lucky to live in an old house with high ceilings, since this way I can have a really big tree. And it takes one to hold all my happy “stuff.”
Of course, every possible horizontal surface holds an angel or a Santa or a reindeer or a collection of candles, all of which are surrounded by wreathes of fresh greens. My husband jokes that if it doesn’t move, I’ll put greenery around it. He is not far from wrong.
One of my favorite pine-bedecked arrangements is the crèche. We got this the first year we were married, so it is getting pretty close to being an antique. I’m sure you all remember that first year of marriage—no money, no decorations, and the desire to forge lasting traditions. Well, I absolutely had to have a nativity scene. The house wouldn’t feel like Christmas without one. But all of the crèches I liked were very pricey. And then, in Rose’s Dime Store, I found the six figures I’ve used all these years: Mary, Joseph, the babe, and the three wise men. They were papier-mâché, hand painted in Italy with the loveliest faces. And yes, I got them at the Dime Store, three figures for a dollar. Remember, it was the “olden days.” I placed them in a fancy, silver, galleried tray that was a wedding gift from an aunt and uncle in England, and every year since then I’ve recreated the same arrangement.
Today I could afford a nicer nativity set, but I would never replace my papier-mâché one. Each of the figures is so encased in memories of years of wonderful Christmases that they have become irreplaceable—as are all of the memories my decorating evokes.
And so, every year I’ll decorate like a fiend and enjoy every moment of it. Merry Christmas!
Don’t Miss Christmas Revels: Four Regency Novellas
More About Hannah Meredith
Hannah Meredith is, above all, a storyteller. She’s long been fascinated by the dreams that haunt the human heart and has an abiding interest in English history. This combination led her to write historical romance. Under another name, she’s previously written sf&f short fiction. Her stories have appeared in most of the major genre magazines. Hannah is a member of RWA and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
You can find Hannah Meredith at http://hannahmeredith.com/.