In October and November, I took part in St. Martin’s Press holiday blog tour. I’ve read and reviewed all the books from that blog tour, but we also got the chance to ask the authors some questions, all Holiday-related of course. Next up is Lecia Cornwall!
When do the holidays officially start for you?
We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season’s first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13 – that’s my husband’s birthday – we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up.
What’s your favourite thing about the holidays?
Family and food.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).
What’s your favourite holiday movie?
Hard Question! The Bishop’s Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).
Do you have a favourite holiday book?
I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old-fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children’s book called Once In Royal David’s City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I’m not sure if it’s the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book and treasure it.
What’s your all-time favourite holiday song?
Another tough question! “Merry Christmas, Darling” by The Carpenters, “J-I-N-G-L-E Bells” by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt’s album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.
What’s your favourite activity during fall or winter?
I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don’t turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father’s rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year’s Eve whenever it’s cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they’re gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside.).
What’s your favourite gift you’ve ever received or given?
When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I’ve been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me, that’s the best Christmas gift of all.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever-growing) to-be-read pile! There’s also the traditional Miss America answer to this question – a wish for world peace – but doesn’t it just seem more important than ever this year?
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I’m usually good at achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.