Festive Feature: Liz Harris

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Welcome to a very special Festive Feature on my blog, where every day up until Christmas some of my favourite authors will be sharing what they love most about the festive season, including their favourite films, food, music, presents, memories, books…Plus much more!

Today the I have the pleasure to welcome the brilliant Liz Harris to Bookaholic Confessions…

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Oh, dear! I’ve just read what I’ve written – that the things I like best about Christmas are my family’s traditions – and it reads like a giant cliché. But cliché or not, it’s the truth.

The outgoing year will have brought new experiences – some foreseen; some unforeseen: some happy; some sad. The forthcoming year is still a blank sheet above which hover our hopes and expectations. A Christmas built around traditions, some old and some new, is an annual anchor in lives that seem to be increasingly turbulent and complex – an annual recharging of the batteries, if you like.

I’d like to share with you three of my favourite traditions.

Tradition 1. Because the best thing about Christmas is being together, we keep the focus on the people and don’t open our presents until late in the afternoon, after we’ve had the dinner, cleared away and had tea and Christmas Cake. Only then, do we hand out gifts.

Tradition 2. This is a relatively new tradition. Four years ago, my son cut out a stocking under the guidance of his wife, DSC00157sewed the pieces together and decorated it with beads. Then my sons and their wives together filled the stocking with presents for me and gave it to me on Christmas morning. Since then, they’ve done this every year.

Tradition 3. For the past fifteen years, a small robin has always been the first thing placed on the tree. I’ll explain.

DSC01436Robin had belonged to my mother as a child, and she liked to see it on the tree every year. My sister and I didn’t. Even with tinsel we didn’t find Robin glittery enough, and we didn’t like the wires on his feet that helped him to grip the branches, making him look like Robin Scissorhands, so we used to squeeze him into the fork between two branches. Even after my mother had passed Robin on to me the Christmas after our first son was born, we continued to hide him away in the tree.

My mother died on Christmas Day sixteen years ago, and for the past fifteen years, Robin has been the first ornament to be placed on the tree, tinsel-free and in pride of place. This is a happy way of remembering my mother at Christmas, and it makes us all feel that she is still very much a part of our Christmas.

Those are three of my favourite traditions. Thank you very much, Holly, for letting me share them with your readers. May I wish you and all of your readers, a very Happy Christmas, be it traditional or otherwise.

 

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Lots of Christmassy love and thanks to Liz for her beautiful post.


A Western HeartAfter graduating in Law in the UK, I moved to California where I led a very varied life – from cocktail waitressing on Sunset Strip to CEO of a large Japanese trading company. Upon returning to England, I completed a degree in English and then taught for a number of years before developing my writing career.

My debut novel, THE ROAD BACK (Choc Lit), was published in September 2012. Also in 2012, EVIE UNDERCOVER was published as a Choc Lit Lite e-book. A BARGAIN STRUCK (Choc Lit) was published in September 2013. Later in the year, THE ART OF DECEPTION was published as a Choc Lit Lite e-book. A WESTERN HEART (Choc Lit Lite), a novella set in Wyoming 1880, was published in spring 2014.

I have a story in each of the two Choc Lit anthologies: ANGEL CAKE in Choc Lit Love Match, and CUPCAKE in Kisses & Cupcakes. Each anthology is a collection of short stories by Choc Lit authors, with a recipe for each story

Liz Harris | Website  | Facebook  | Twitter |

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19 thoughts on “Festive Feature: Liz Harris

  1. Many thanks, Holly, for inviting me to take part in your run-up to Christmas posts. It’s helped to get me into a really Christmassy mood. I enjoyed reading Margaret’s post yesterday, and now I’m looking forward to the reflection you post tomorrow. xx

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  2. Some fine traditions – and not dissimilar to this house. The kids have always had their stockings – even though they are in their 30s. We do presents after breakfast – it helps to get the wrapping papers, etc removed and things cleared for dinner.

    Oh, and we too have a robin – you can see it on our advent wreath. Late Mum-in-law gave it to us the first year we were married, and it too comes out every year.

    Plus ca change…….

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    • We’ve stopped the stockings for the kids this year, John. With both boys married, Santa was no longer able to creep into their bedrooms (ugh!) to leave the stockings at the foot of the bed, and with them arriving at our house at different times, the logistics became impossible. They now exchange stockings with their wives. The exception is me, of course – I always have my stocking these days *smug face*

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  3. We open our presents late afternoon, too, Liz. The youngest is nominated to do the honours and hand them out. Unfortunately, that fell to our Jack Russell last year, who was a little bit puddled. 🙂 I love your robin tradition. Christmas is a time when you should, and do, remember those special people who can’t be with you. xx

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  4. What a lovely thing with the robin. I thought waiting till after lunch as a chikd was hard for the gifts! After tea wow you are good.

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    • I quite like the waiting, although it was difficult when I was really young, Tanya. The advantage of opening the gifts after tea, which I can see now that I don’t fall into the ‘really young’ category, is that the hostess (moi) has done the hardest part of the day’s entertaining and can relax and enjoy the present-opening. x

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    • Many thanks, Clare. Of all the occasions throughout the year, I think Christmas best lends it self to tradition. Having said that, I can see things changing in the future – and that’s as it should be. I hope that my sons and their wives will do as I have done – take what they see as the best of their families’ traditions, and enhance them by the addition of what will become traditions that are appropriate to their lives. x

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  5. Christmas as Christmas should be, Liz, and I so enjoyed reading this. What a wonderful way, too, to honour your mother’s memory.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your traditions, Liz. My own traditions changed when I married a man who already had children – as a child myself, I always opened gifts first thing in the morning, but as I got older, we took to doing it at leisure, after Christmas lunch, but my stepchildren were young, and used to opening first thing, and it’s only recently that we’ve gone back to later opening (that makes us sound like a pub!). However, with the family scattered a bit, we now seem to be opening gifts all day!

    It’s quite hard to bring your own traditions into a family that already has theirs, unless they’re compatible and then you end up with twice as many.

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    • Many thanks for your comment, Liv. That’s an interesting point you’ve made, and one that I’d never thought about. It must be quite difficult when you have your own traditions, but must slot them into someone else’s. I guess the ideal is that the two sets of traditions marry each other (or become co-habiting partners!)

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  7. Really enjoyed reading all the comments. I didn’t know robins were part of the decorations. I’ve seen them lots on Xmas cards of course. Assuming these are toys and not stuffed?

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