Erin Green Author - blog
For me, Christmas officially begins at home on Christmas Eve. All preparations such as gift wrapping, delivery drop-offs to friends, food shopping or last-minute bulk buying of big bottles of Bailey’s liqueur has to be completed by the 23rd. If it hasn’t crossed the doorstep by that date - I can live without it!
Such measures came into play after ‘lockdown’, when I admitted that my love of Christmas was being ruined by the corporate marketing teams and their seasonal guilt-tripping. I refused to buy into their reinvention of my Christmas. I was happy with the tried and trusted family traditions, so I made a stance! I stole back my Christmas from the corporate Grinches – along with one additional tradition especially for Christmas Eve!
Two years ago, I’d learnt about the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod (meaning the Christmas Book Flood) where families present each other with a festive book and spend the evening embracing the ‘togetherness’ of reading whilst cosy and warm, accompanied by lashings of hot chocolate! I have whole heartedly nabbed and extended this tradition to fill the entire day!
Christmas Eve in my house is now a snuggly reading day, of self-care and seasonal pampering, in preparation for the big day. It’s no coincidence that I feast entirely on mince pies, stollen, Turkish delight and the big Bailey’s gets cracked open!
This year, I’ve purchased two Christmas books ready for my ‘Jolabokaflod’ reading fest. Both books are by authors who I trust to deliver the ingredients I need in a true Christmas story. Let’s be honest, some Christmas books are simply ‘December books’ where the setting coincides with Christmas time, and nothing more. I like genuine Christmas books where the story starts a day or two before December 25th and ends at New Year. I need to ‘meet and greet’ a cast of characters who remind me of my own relatives, with their quirky mannerisms, their bizarre yet unfunny jokes and their numerous allergies to turkey, plum pudding or Brussel sprouts.
When I dive into the pages of festive mayhem, I wish for a cosy, idyllic setting, waist-high snow drifts and unfinished arguments from yesteryear simmering beneath the festive smiles and threatening to erupt during the King’s speech. I need secret desires, mountains of chocolate treats and characters who plan to return and exchange their unwanted gifts for store vouchers. I want to read about complicated heart break, New year fears and witness gut-wrenching tears beneath or beside a real Norwegian spruce.
This festive reading confession probably explains the reasoning behind the plot twists and seasonal ingredients crafted within my own Christmas books. My aim is to provide my readers with a traditional family Christmas, as outlined above. Sadly, I always ruin my characters’ festive break by crafting numerous trials and tribulations that ignite conflict and calamities that aren’t welcome anywhere near my own doorstep during my twelve days. Call me ‘festive-selfish’ but I want the best of both worlds! To indulge in a great Christmas book filled with chaos, mayhem and possible romance whilst experiencing a memorable yet peaceful Christmas of the Dickens variety, whilst counting my blessings, albeit with a festive coffee or three!
Wishing each and every reader the Christmas of your dreams overflowing with festive ingredients and traditions of your choosing!