Christmas Traditions Make the Holidays!

One of the fun things about Christmas is traditions. Take for instance, the Land Down Under, because, well, someday I want to visit there, just probably not at Christmas. The English and Irish predominately settled Australia so it stands to reason their traditions reflect those countries. Here’s a few of of their Christmas Traditions.
Christmas Bell FlowerAussie’s decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves and evergreens along with Cockatoo Christmas bushblooming flowers of Christmas Bush and Christmas Bell Flower. It’s summer time in December down under, when most of the United States is looking forward to big flakes and blankets of snow for a white Christmas.
Carols by Candlelight is one of the popular events in Australia. People come together under the stars at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols. Seems to me, it’s not far from our own tradition of Christmas carolers. I just can’t imagine Christmas without snow, that’s why I live in Colorado.
christmas-dinner-1 AussieChristmas rooChristmas Day is when families and close friends gather from all over Australia for a holiday midday dinner. Some enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set on fire before it is brought to the table. Other families head for the backyard barbie to grill their Christmas dinner, maybe shrimp, in the sunshine or go to the beach and enjoy a picnic of cold turkey or ham and a salad. To the delight of children,  Father Christmas  in shorts may appear to greet children at the beach on Christmas! If you can’t have snow, that’s the way to celebrate Christmas.
Because I am of Swedish descent, let’s take a peek at Christmas Traditions in Sweden where in December the days are quite short, the nights long and the ground is usually snow covered. The Christmas season begins at church on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Children use an Advent calendar to keep track of the first day of December until Christmas, just like some of ours do. Each morning, they open a flap in the calendar’s Christmas scene to see the charming picture behind it. This year, I have a Victorian Advent calendar on my computer and enjoy a surprise behind each door daily.
Christmas princessThe festivities in Sweden really begin with St. Lucia’s Day, December 13th, a swed treecelebration of the patron saint of light. A Christmas market held in the old medieval section of Stockholm is where you can find handmade toys, ornaments, and candy. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Some people write a special verse to accompany the gift and even seal the package with colorful sealing wax. I have enough trouble with scotch tape and wrapping paper, I can’t imagine what would happen with hot sealing wax. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure. A Christmas tree is selected by the whole family just a day or two before Christmas and decorated, while the delightful aroma of gingerbread cookies in the shape of hearts, stars, or other festive shapes waft through to house. Christmas Christmas-TableEve is when the main feast is eaten. Presents might be brought by Santa knom(Jultomten) or  by gnomes/elves  named Tomte or Nissar. Many families set out a sheaf of grain on a pole for hungry birds. My hubby and I always put out special treats for the wild birds on Christmas.

christmas treeAs for my family, we put up the tree, Christmas decorations inside and out, the weekend after Thanksgiving. Or try to. No it’s not a real tree, only because I’m allergic. <sigh> We watch Christmas movies throughout December and make candy such as Divinity, Fantasy Fudge and Beaver Dams. What are beaver damsBeaver Dams, you ask. Well, take a package of butterscotch chips, melt them in a double boiler, stir in half-package of crispy Chow Mein Noodles and one half can of cocktail peanuts. Spoon the concoction onto foil and let set. They look like beaver dams hence the name. YUMMY.

This year I’m going, to once again, try my hand at gingerbread cookies. Its become a Christmas Tradition of sorts, an make my family cringe. Why you ask?  I haven’t had a lot of luck in previous years getting a good tasting cookie. Do any of you have a favorite recipe that I could try? Feel free to leave the recipe in the comments section.

Click on cover to read more.

In my book A Witch’s Holiday Wedding, Pepper had Christmas Traditions too, came with her Irish heritage!  Magic of family & friends a Christmas tale of true love. A Sequel to A Witch’s Journey.

Next week My Favorite Things About Christmas. What Christmas Traditions do and your family observe on Christmas Eve and Day? Or during the month of December? I look forward to hearing from you.

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A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance – Release Day

Happy holidays to all!  Today is the book birthday of A VAMPIRE’S UNLIKELY ALLIANCE, my third book in Demon’s Witch Series. I’m so excited! Have a seat and grab an insulated mug. I’ve got hot chocolate, hot cider and coffee. Choose your pot, they’re labeled. Pick your choice of a Snicker-doodle, Chocolate Chip or Peanut butter cookie from the plate. Yep, I baked them myself. Let me tell you about A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance. Not what you’ve come to expect from a vampire tale!  Thanks for joining us!

Stefan is a Native American vampire, former assassin for the Vampire Council. In a twist of fate, he now DJ’s the midnight shift for a small radio station in Whitefish, Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park where his secret is safe until…

Born in Ireland, Brandy now works as a park ranger and trail guide in the park. During a full moon, Stefan and Brandy’s paths cross in a near physical collision on a trail. Their attraction is immediate and undeniable, almost as if fate demanded it.

Their union was foretold long ago in Irish folk tales where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries must work together for the good of man and magic kind. Is a trip to Ireland the key to unravelling secrets and returning the magic? And even more importantly, will their love survive the trip?

A Sneak Peek Between the Pages of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance:

Brandy slept in Stefan’s arms while he watched the lace curtains flutter as the ocean breeze, heavy with brine, wafted through the window, open just a crack. A white mist swirled into the quiet room through the opening. It grew thicker and began to take shape settling into the antique rocking chair in the far corner of their cozy room. A man with long flowing hair the color of straw, dressed in jeans and a shimmering multicolored sweater, now sat in the rocking chair, left boot propped over on his right knee, watching Stefan with genuine interest.

Stefan’s body stiffened, his fangs pierced his gums as he shifted Brandy to a more secure position, though he sensed no threat. Too many stories around the fire?

Undisturbed, the apparition’s lips twitched. “So you’re the súmair fala that stole our Brandy’s heart. An interesting turn of events this is.” He mused nodding his head toward the window and pointing his finger toward Stefan, then to the outside. As quickly as he’d appeared, he was gone, leaving only a light mist floating across the floor.

Blinking his eyes, Stefan slowly looked around the room. What the hell was that? I wasn’t asleep so it couldn’t be a dream. Stealthily, he slid out of bed without disturbing Brandy. He yanked on jeans, pulled an ivory cable knit sweater over his head, and grabbed his boots as he padded silently down the stairs out of the house. The storm had passed, leaving a light dusting of snow covering the ground. Behind the light mist, a nearly full moon hung among the twinkling stars across the frosty dark sky. For a moment, he stilled listening as the waves crashed against the shore off in the distance.

Glancing uneasily around the area in front of the house and toward steep cliffs shrouded in a settling mist, he saw nothing. Following the trail leading to the cliffs and ultimately down to the beach, he sprinted across the rocky terrain. He stopped once and glanced over his shoulder to make sure he’d closed the front door. Turning back around, Stefan skidded to a halt, damn near crashing into what he considered a figment of his imagination. “Who are you?” Stefan demanded.

A little while later Stefan returned to the house, silent climbed the stairs and slid into bed. Jostling Brandy he said.” I believe I’ve just had a conversation with an apparition claiming to be King of the Warrior Faeries.”

“You’ve seen and talked with Tiarnan, King of Warrior Faeries? When? How?” Brandy demanded.

Available at Amazon   Amazon UK , Amazon AU, itunes, The Wild Rose Press and Barnes & Noble.

About the author:

Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance author with an over-active imagination.  She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband, a brilliant Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel and adventure flourish in her books. Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of popcorn.

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There you have it, a taste of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance, a vampire tale like none other. Join Stefan and Brandy on an exciting Romantic Fantasy that begins in Glacier National Park, winds through Australia, and may end with Christmas in Ireland. Will an Irish folk tale control their destiny?

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance to enjoy this holiday season! You won’t regret it.

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