It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows. When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love. When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear. When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart. When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.
I’d like to welcome Heather Blake to share the beauty of the season with us.
Favorite Holiday tradition?
My favorite tradition is finding a new ornament for the tree every year. I search high and low, trying to find the right one to fit something that happened within the family this year. When the time comes to decorate the tree every year, it’s a special trip down memory lane as each ornament is pulled from its box.
Favorite childhood toy?
It has to be my Wendy doll — a baby doll named for my mom that I dragged everywhere (the poor thing). Unfortunately, she was lost when I was five, and I was devastated.
Favorite childhood game?
Monopoly. I think it was more about the cute little dog playing piece than the accumulation of property, but it was always fun to play. Even when I lost. Which happened often.
Snow ball fight or making snow families?
Both. And I also love making snow angels.
Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?
Sledding! I’ve actually never been on a sleigh ride or skis. Skiing is on my bucket list, though, so one of these years I’m going to have to hit the slopes. I do love snow-shoeing, though. Hard work, but lots of fun.
Favorite Holiday song?
Right now it’s Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s “The Christmas Canon.” Followed closely by “Mr. Grinch.” It doesn’t feel like Christmas unless I’ve sung, “stink, stank, stunk” at least once.
Favorite holiday movie?
My favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. Love it so much I watch it several times every year. I believe! And I also adore (surprise, surprise) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (original version).
Favorite holiday story to read?
I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I love reading the Grinch! And there’s a book called The Small One that brings tears every time I read it.
Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?
Snow! Lots of snow! It doesn’t happen very often here in Cincinnati, so it’s really special when it does.
Most memorable holiday memory?
My favorite memories involve my kids. Seeing their eyes as they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, turn the corner, and see the tree… Very special.
Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a popcorn ball.
Real tree or artificial? Green or white?
We had real trees for a long, long time, but switched to artificial (green) a few years ago. I miss only the smell of a real tree. There’s nothing quite like it.
What do you do holiday eve?
I love Christmas Eve. We have a small family get-together. Very low-key with plenty of food, a nice fire in the fireplace, and lots of love.
What are your holiday plans this year?
We’ll be spending Christmas day with family, and will be Skyping with our oldest son, who won’t be able to come home this year.
What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?
Speaking for myself, it’s peppermint bark! I love it, and start stocking up in November. I also have a good friend who makes it from scratch — usually I get a batch this time of year. Yum!
Please share a Holiday recipe.
Here is a hot chocolate recipe that can be found in my newest ebook, Trouble Under the Tree (A Nina Quinn Mystery). Stir with a candy cane for an extra sweet treat.
Celeste Madeline Chambeau Quinn’s Hot Chocolate
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Heat milk in a pot, stirring frequently with a whisk. When steam starts to rise from the pot, whisk in sugar and vanilla. Slowly whisk in chocolate until it’s fully melted then add the pinch of salt. Heat for five minutes on low, stirring frequently so milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Serves two. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, marshmallows, or chocolate shavings.
Holiday party tip?
I don’t usually throw parties! Just family ones, where decorating is optional.
Favorite holiday decoration?
The Christmas angel atop the tree. My husband and I bought it as newlyweds. She’s long since lost her lights, and she’s a bit rough around the edges after twenty-one years, but I would never ever replace her. She’s cherished.
Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?
A little of all three.
Gifts or gift cards?
Do you eat fruitcake?
Nope. Never. No thanks.
Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
No. We usually hunker down the whole week after Christmas.
What’s in your stocking? *wink*
I don’t know, but I want Santa to know I’ve been very good this year!
What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*
I like a surprise! Did I mention I’ve been very good?
Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?
I usually go out a week after Christmas in search of good wrapping paper. I stock up for the next year.
Thank you so much.
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!
Visit Heather’s website for all the goodies.
Read an Excerpt of It Takes A Witch.