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 Cleo Coyle (pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi who writes the Coffeehouse Mysteries and the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini) to share the beauty of the season with us.
Favorite Holiday tradition?
Opening the gifts Christmas morning with a fresh pot of coffee and a plate of cookies. (Santa always left us some.)
Favorite childhood toy?
Tie: Matchbox Cars and Easy Bake Oven (Spirograph was pretty cool, too.)
Favorite childhood game?
By age 7: Candyland and Operation!
By age 10: Trouble and Battleship
By age 12: Othello, Backgammon, and Chess
Snow ball fight or making snow families?
Snow ball fight!
Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?
Under age 12: Sledding
Over age 12: Skiing
Favorite Holiday song?
Tie – “Carol of the Bells” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Part II of Handel’s oratorio Messiah, especially when performed by a flashmob like this one.
Favorite holiday movie?
Well, depending on how my day is going: Miracle on 34th Street or Die Hard!
Favorite holiday story to read?
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?
Most memorable holiday memory?
Singing carols with my sister
Please share a Holiday recipe.
I’ll share two!
The first one is my kinder, gentler version of Pfeffernüsse, a delicious little gingerbread ball that’s dusted with snow-white powdered sugar.
This second recipe is a much healthier cookie. My Oatmeal Cookie Brittle has no flour or butter, but it does have plenty of holiday flavor. New Jersey Family magazine even featured it in their 12 Days of Cookies this year.
Favorite holiday decoration?
O Christmas tree
Please share some magical holiday memories?
I was close to my aunt Mary, who was born in Italy. She never married. She lived with our nuclear family and was very loving and supportive of me, more of a grandmother than an aunt. Every year, in mid-December, we would go into the chilly basement of our small family home, where we had a makeshift second kitchen set up with a crappy little stove. She’d pull out her giant bread board, a ton of flour, dozens of eggs, and together we would make Italian cookies for the holidays while listening to Christmas music. Aunt Mary is gone now, and I miss her greatly, especially during the holidays, which is why it gives me much joy to cook and bake at this time of year. It brings back the warmest memories of working beside her in that cold, little basement–and helps me feel that her vibrant spirit is with me, still.
Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?
Wrap with ribbon and bows
Gifts or gift cards?
Depends on the giftee
Do you eat fruitcake?
Close – I eat Italian panettone fruit bread (with joy)!
Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
Many a year, I have indeed gone to the movies in the evening. For a few of my teen years, it became a tradition with my sister and I.
What’s in your stocking? *wink*
What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*
Real kisses from my sweetie of a husband (and writing partner), Marc.
Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?
I very rarely exchange anything but I do appreciate those 80% off sales!
Thank you so much.
You’re welcome – thank you for asking. Fun questions, as always!
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!
You, too!!! Happy Holidays, Diane!
Visit Cleo’s website for all the yummy goods!