Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cheer - Christina Hollis

Winter in the UK is usually mild. That means there's little point in councils investing in expensive machinery to keep roads and paths clear. That's reasonable - until it snows. Then it only needs a light dusting, and the whole country grinds to a halt!

We've been snowed in for the past ten days, as our drive and the half mile of lanes between us and the nearest gritted road is a switchback of sharp turns and one-in-three gradients. It's been wonderful. With traffic unable to reach us, it's been even quieter than normal - and that's saying something. The surrounding woods look like a Christmas card. It's lovely, but it also drives the deer and wild boar toward the garden. We have to make very sure all the fences and gates into the garden are checked regularly.

The bad weather has meant shopping for Christmas Presents on line. This is great - as long as the postman can get through to deliver it! Luckily, this year our bees have produced plenty of honey and comb, which will make ideal presents. Computers can be a curse, but they are brilliant for making personalised labels. Sparkly gift bags holding a jar or two of home made preserves makes a unique present which needn't cost the earth. When you take time to find out what someone would really like, it doesn't matter how much or little a present costs. I'm hoping against hope that Number One Son has taken my not-so-subtle hints on board. Telling him I need a new pastry brush for Christmas each time we're cooking together has laid the groundwork. I just hope I don't need to resort to leaving stray bristles on the mince pies, or worse, leaving off the egg-wash that gives them that lovely golden brown glow.

What do you hope to find in your Christmas stocking this year?

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, and her latest title "The Master Of Bella Terra" is released in the US in January 2011. Catch up with her at


Nas Dean said...

I've been hinting around with my broken mobile phone! I've seen a new deal about a smartphone with free facebook for a year!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Nas, that's a great deal - I hope you get your new phone. It's the perfect way to keep in touch!

ev said...

I have been watching the news reports here about the weather there and hope it clears up for you soon. It's all pretty and nice until you realize the hardships it causes farmers, ranchers etc. Even with all the equipment a snow storm of magnitude can cripple us here in upstate NY, and we are used to it.

We are fortunate enough to be able to buy something when we need/want it, which makes shopping difficult. Hubby has been laid up the last few weeks so I took care of doing the shopping for him. At least I know they fit.

We have more fun watching the massive hoards open their gifts. I tend to be one who starts in June or whenever i see something I think someone will like. (Otherwise I forget what it was) and only resort to gift certificates when I have to.

Christina Hollis said...

Hi, Ev
Buying presents early is a great idea - normally I start trawling for ideas in the autumn half term holiday, but I didn't get a chance this year. I hope your husband is up and about again soon - the holiday season isn't the same when someone is ill.
I love your dog, btw!

Elanor said...

Well I do hope your son takes the hint, Christina - but which would be better, a 'real' pastry brush with hair bristles, or a plastic one? I'm making my first forays into mince pies this year, so I'd be grateful for any suggestions for getting the perfect glaze!

As for my Christmas stocking, well, it's been pretty snowy in my part of the country as well, so the best present would be just to get home safely... but other than that, it looks as though Terry has released some new flavours of his iconic Oranges this year, so I wouldn't mind finding one of those in the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning!


Christina Hollis said...

Hi Elanor - good to 'hear' from you! I'm undecided about the pastry brush: traditional is good, but the plastic ones are bound to be longer lasting. As long as it works, I don't mind!
Hope you get home safely, and as for Terry's chocolate oranges - definitely a hit for Christmas, whatever flavour they are!

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desere_steenberg said...

Hello Christina

I hope you are well. I love the work you do !! In my christmas stocking I wish for a e-reader - I am a total book fanatic and if I had one of those I could take my books with me everywhere , as tying to pack them into a suitcase is not working !

Have a great day and thanks for sharing this great post with us !