Christmas Interview – Mary Newcombe

My guest today is Mary Newcombe, a lady of many talents. One of Mary’s skills is being able to walk into an empty room and visualize it fully decorated; something I don’t have a hope of ever managing.

But besides being a skillful home decorator, it will surprise you to know that she’s an expert with a fire hose. This picture is from her days as a volunteer firefighter in Port Clements on the Queen Charlotte Islands, where she has been known to drive the fire truck to a fire.

She was on the cutting edge of the age of feminism, defending herself against comments from burly, old handloggers who shouted, “What the hell is a woman doing with that hose?”

Later, when she was told about it, she responded, “If I’d heard him say that, I would have turned the hose on him.” And she would have!!

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Welcome, Mary.

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes, love to have the break from the dark drab days of winter.

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?  

We were in San Diego for the holidays.  We discovered that all restaurants were booked and full when it came to Christmas dinner.  We had take-away-tacos.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving? 

Love it.  I generally purchase items that I like at craft venues through out the valley and local stores.  No chain stores on my list.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Having a cold white Christmas at Tlell, in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?  Christmas day.  Lorne and I enjoy sharing our stockings together.  Rule #1:  only items that will fit in a stocking.  Which is an interesting feat.

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas? 

Coming home from the hospital with my new born daughter.

8. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

I have a pair of perfect quilted hot pads that my sister Shirley made many years ago.

9. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

Last year I made a calendar for my granddaughter. I loved putting the pictures and mementos together while remembering the great times we had.  It had family events and national/world celebrations marked on the appropriate days.  Did you know there was a ‘penguin’ day in the spring?

10. What would you change about Christmas? 

No Christmas decorating or merchandise in stores until Dec. 1st,  then bring it on.  Less advertising, how many chocolate and perfume ads do we need to be harassed with?

11. What would you keep the same if you could? 

To pass on to my family the simple joys I was taught as a child.

12. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

‘Oh Holy Night’

13. What do you like best about Christmas?

The bright lights and colours in the dark winter.  The feasting.

14. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

I think it’s a great winter celebration that breaks up the mundane winter.

 

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Would you like to share your thoughts about women firefighters  or homemade gifts? Do you have a job that is “different”?

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Christmas Interview – Barb Harris

My friend Barb Harris tells  about her Christmases in Washington and Montana. Welcome, Barb!

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If you’re ever in Wolf Point, Montana, and need a place to park your rig at, come to R & B RV Park and you’ll be well taken care of. Safe, secure, and very tidy.

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1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No. I have always spent Christmas with my immediate family and either my family or my husband’s family.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

No. We always have ham and sometimes turkey too and of course mashed potatoes and gravy.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving? 

I usually love to give gifts but as I get older I’m finding that I am becoming somewhat of a scrooge. Lately all I’ve been doing is getting a list from family members of what they want and try to get those gifts.  I haven’t been very creative in the gift giving department.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

When we lived in Washington, as a family we had the tradition of going to the mountains and picking and cutting down our Christmas tree. We would make a whole day of it. We started out just us and another family and by the time we left Washington, we had about 4-6 families that had joined us. We would sled, bbq lunch, and drink hot chocolate. It was a blast and a great tradition!

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Yes, we even have stockings for the dogs.

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

Probably the best gift has been a pair of hair clips that my Dad gave me when I was 17 or 18. They were for a much younger little girl but I know my Dad picked them out by himself.  I think that has been the only gift he ever bought without the help from my Mom.

8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

I got this really ugly brown vest from my grandmother when I was about 8 years old. The only saving grace about it was that we also had this puppy at that time and he got a hold of that present and chewed a hole in the vest.

9. What do you do with gifts you don’t like?

I will re-gift them if they aren’t that bad. If they aren’t something I can give away, then I will sell them in a garage sale.

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

My son made me a candle holder in school and gifts like that mean more to me than any store bought gift.

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I made jelly candles one year and gave those as gifts. It was fun creating different candles.  I put them in wine glasses and they were a big hit.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

I would like it not to be so commercial. I would love to just be with family and spend time together without worrying about how much money I spent.

13. What would you keep the same if you could?

I wish I could always be able to spend the time with our son at Christmas but I know times are changing and with him graduating college and starting his own life, we won’t always be together.

14. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley!!!

15. What do you like best about Christmas?

Spending time with family. You can’t beat that.

16. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

As I get older, it’s definitely more about being together with family than any gift I could receive. I’m not a very religious person but family means a lot to me.

New Picture (1)Have a look at this gorgeous sunset Barb ordered in for us while we stayed there.

006And to entice those who love nostalgia and history, here’s photo that could inspire a writer. What a story starter this could be:

She stepped off the train and was immediately disappointed to see that the only vehicle waiting for passengers was a dilapidated farm truck. A shiver of foreboding rippled over her. She could just imagine what her new house must look like.

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Montana is full of stories. Come out and have look sometime.

Thank you, Barb, for sharing your Christmas and a peek into Montana with us.

Christmas Interview – Janice Horton

I’d like to introduce Janice Horton, a writer who lives in Scotland. Janice writes contemporary fiction with humour and heart. Please have a look at her book cover images and links at the bottom of the page.

Welcome, Janice!

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1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

We always celebrate at home in Scotland. This year will be special as our three sons will be home. Now they are grown men and two of them plan to work abroad next year, it’s possible we may not be together for future Christmases, and so I plan to make the most of this one!

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

I’m lucky to come from a large family. I’m the eldest of five children, so being alone at Christmas has never been an option. But I’m sure if I had to be on my own I’d make the most of it by watching my favourite movies and enjoying a few festive treats.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

Nope, it’s tradition all the way in our house. My boys would riot if we deviated even slightly from the way it’s always been done!

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4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I love to give gifts but I’m not lavish about it. I like to give well thought out personal presents.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Sledging on the snowy hill at the back of the cottage.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Absolutely. Everyone gets a stocking with fruit, nuts and Christmas themed chocolate treats in it.

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

Our three boys being home for Christmas is the best gift ever.

8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

I once received aftershave. To say I was surprised was an understatement. All came clear later however when my dear husband unwrapped perfume!

9. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

A handmade pottery dish from my aunt and uncle in Canada.

10. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I’ve given Christmas cakes. My mum says they are the best she has ever tasted.

11. What would you change about Christmas?

I think if there was ever a year that none of our boys could come home for Christmas, I might suggest to my husband that we go and spend Christmas somewhere tropical!

12. What would you keep the same if you could?

Listening to the old Christmas classics on Christmas Eve.

13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

I particularly love ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby.

14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Family first. Everything else is a bonus.

15. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

When I was younger, Christmas was really all about the gifts – what I was getting and what I was giving. Now I really wouldn’t mind if everyone stopped the present giving ritual and concentrated on the day itself – sharing a meal and celebrating.

My Author Blog

Follow me on Twitter: @JaniceHorton

Friend me on Facebook Page

Link to my Amazon Author Page

Check out my page on Goodreads

My LLm Bookshelf

Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending Lifestyle Mag

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Christmas Interview – Sonja Forrester

My guest today is Sonja Forrester.

Some of you may remember Sonja from days gone by, but one thing hasn’t changed.Just as always, she can usually be seen with a cat around her feet.

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Sonja will share her thoughts about Christmas and let us peek into her home as it was decorated for Christmas last year.

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Welcome, Sonja.

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes. Generally, on Dec 24th, Christmas Eve, but also occasionally Dec 25th.

 2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No, I have not. I am fortunate that I have never experienced being completely alone.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

Yes, we had steak and prawns.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I can take it or leave it. I admit it is fun to open a little surprise of some kind, but more fun to watch the people you are with open their gifts/stockings.

 5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Watching the cat react to her new toys. Oh wait…that would be the most fun activity the cat had.  Mine would have been when I was a young child and my parents left little clues around the house until I found my parcel.

 6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Yes, we generally only have stockings. Not too often do we buy “gifts.”

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

When I was about 4 or 5, I received an “ANNIE OAKLEY” doll. She was my idol in those days.

8. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Handmade tablecloth, napkins and placemats. Homemade candles, bath bombs, baked goods. These things mean more to me than any purchased gift.

 11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I used to spend hours making gifts for giving at Christmas. There were many lavender sachets for closets and drawers, beeswax candles, bath bombs, clothing that I had made, picture frames that were made from fabric, doll clothes. I once made my niece an entire wedding party’s ensemble for all her Cabbage Patch dolls. Also made her a dress, with another matching one for her Cabbage Patch doll.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

Less commercialism, perhaps more homemade or handmade gifts, more music, family and being thankful for what we have.

13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Leise Rieselt der Schnee.

 14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Music and choirs singing.

15. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

It seems to me that there are so many people out there that get themselves very stressed out trying to find “the perfect gift” for someone. Everyone should be happy just to have their loved ones near, food on the table, and a warm bed to crawl into.

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My Favourite Christmas Album

Do you have pets that make your Christmas special? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Christmas Interview – Dawn Hill

My guest today is the lovely Dawn Hill of Bellingham, Washington.IMG_3037a
1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Have never missed a celebration of Christmas with friends and family

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No..but this will be a totally different year as my sweet husband has gone to Heaven..family will be there for me.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner?What did you have?

Corned beef and cabbage..for fun, years ago.
4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I like to buy a special gift for each person I hold dear..I usually put much thought into this and also buy something I personally find attractive.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

One year we really took a left turn. My husband and I booked a week at a Dude Ranch in Arizona. We rode on horseback, ate around a campfire out on the range and had a delightful Christmas feast in the lodge which was festive with 20-ft. trees.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

But..of course!

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

Granddaughter ..Madeleine..was born on Christmas Day!

8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

Never did get that “lump of coal”!

9. What do you do with gifts you don’t like?

Goodwill is always happy with this sort of thing:)

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

I love to receive jams and breads..every year some friend does the honors!

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

Years ago, when I really did bake a lot, I would make about 10 English lemon breads..from scratch..for friends and family.
It would be an all day event but one I loved.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

Maybe a bit less commercial and also more beautiful Christmas programs on telly..remembering the Andy Williams show and that sort.

13. What would you keep the same if you could?

The magic of Christmas that a sweet child has.

14. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Oh Holy Night

15. What do you like best about Christmas?

Family and gathering..great food and conversation..remembering what Christmas means to us..birthday of Baby Jesus

16. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

Looking forward to spending this Christmas with my dear family and toasting the one I miss.

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Can you guess where corned beef and cabbage is a traditional dish (not necessarily for Christmas dinner, but regional cuisine)?

Have you ever been to a Dude Ranch? Would you like to share your thoughts about it? Please leave a comment.

Christmas Interview – Melanie

We’re off to Ontario today to interview Melanie Robertson – King. She is the author of a novel and an anthology. Melanie has been to Scotland, enjoyed it, and talked about it so much I thought she was Scottish. Maybe she has some Scottish relatives?

Here is one of the many nutcrackers in Melanie’s collection.

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Christmas Interview

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes.

 2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No.

 3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

I’ve always done things traditionally since I started cooking Christmas dinners. When I was young, we always went to my grandmother’s and after that my mother’s or husband’s family’s so I never had to cook. But I do turkey (usually just a breast), mashed potatoes, gravy, turnips and stay traditional right down to the plum pudding for dessert.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving? 

I don’t mind the gift giving, but don’t like the shopping so much. Lately, there haven’t been as many places to shop locally (I refuse to shop at Walmart) so it means having to shop elsewhere, although the choices are getting better here at home.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

I’m not sure I would describe it as fun, but I loved going to church Christmas Eve for the 11:00 p.m. service.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Yes. We always hang our stockings on Christmas Eve on the banister of the stairs leading to the upper level of our house. Usually, there is garland and white mini LED lights on it, too. It looks really festive.

 7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

Books. When I’m not writing, I’m reading so a book is the best gift ever – any time of year.

 8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

It was a knit pants/top outfit that I got when I was at teenager. Bleurgh… hated it. Wore it once then stashed it at the back of my closet.

9. What do you do with gifts you hate?

I think the outfit mentioned above went to a church rummage sale. I don’t think I’ve re-gifted anything but I have sold things in garage sales.

10. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Probably one of the sweaters my sister-in-law knit.

11. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I used to sew and make a lot of our clothes. One year, I made dresses with pinafores for my daughter and all the nieces and trousers and vests for my son and the nephews. I’ve also made pies to give as gifts.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

Slow down on the time the decorations come out in the stores. I’ve seen Christmas stuff out on the shelves cheek by jowl with the Halloween merchandise. That’s way too early.

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13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Even though I’m not a huge fan of Christmas Carols, I love Carol of the Bells.

14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Where do I start? The movies. I have a huge assortment on DVDs. Christmas Eve is always A Christmas Carol (B&W Alastair Sim version), then Christmas morning after we’ve had our big fry-up with mimosas, Holiday Affair first followed by Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck version). In the lead up to the big day(s), I watch The Bishop’s Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas. And since my husband  doesn’t like the movie Christmas Story, I watch it when I’m decorating the tree.

The food. So many good things that are only available that time of year (or we only ever ate it at that time of year) – plum pudding, mincemeat tarts, cranberry tarts, fruitcake, shortbread.

 Melanie’s Books:

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About Melanie:

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Always a fan of the written word, Brockville born and raised, Melanie spent many of her formative years reading.

The writing bug first bit when she was about thirteen, but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.

Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK.

In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel – especially to Scotland, although Paris rates high on her “must return to” bucket list as well. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

Melanie’s links:

Website:  www.melanierobertson-king.com

Blog:  Celtic Connexions

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads author page

Amazon author page

Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine author page

Twitter:  @RobertsoKing

Christmas Interview – Patricia Sands

I managed to find Patricia not traveling in France, long enough to answer a few questions about her Christmas traditions. Welcome, Patricia.

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1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Always and with great gusto!

2. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I love giving gifts more than receiving. The joy has always been watching our children and now grandchlldren revel in the excitement and wonder of this time of year.

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3What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Skiing at Whistler with our family.

4. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

Once children came along, the stockings were just for them.

5. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

Drawings from our grandchildren.

 6. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

Every year I give all of our children tins of shortbread made from their great-grandmother’s recipe.

7. What would you change about Christmas?

I would want to make “peace on earth” a truism.

 8. What would you keep the same if you could?

Have a white Christmas every year.

9. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

English cathedral choirs singing carols.

10.  What do you like best about Christmas?

Everything.

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 Patricia is the author of two novels:

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The Promise of Provence amazon link

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