Feb 28 2018, 9:01 am in , ,


Other special days in March are:

March 4th—the day all the animals marched forth from the ark.

March 17th—St Patrick’s Day

March 19th—St Joseph’s Day

And… there is March Madness. The month long NCAA basketball tournaments to determine the college national champions.

I write about Extraordinary Women so I asked my heroines what women they find inspiring and what their plans for the month of March are.


Olivia, from Under Fire, said she is in awe of the women who, hundreds of years ago, had the courage to leave their homes in Europe, get on tiny boats, cross the Atlantic and settle an unknown land.

She and Declan will be in Kansas City, MO for a business meeting on March 15th. They decided to stay a few extra days to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Then they’ll visit the notable, or notorious, depending on your point of view, Irish establishments in town. When I spoke with them, Declan was laughing about drinking green beer and then pe…. eh. Well, you know, green liquid in, green liquid out.

They’re staying at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Plaza. If you’re in Kansas City stop and visit. Just ask Ed, the doorman, where they are.


Gemma, from Under Fire: The Admiral, said she admires Nancy Augusta Wake, a British agent during WWII. Nancy was a courier for the French Resistance and in1943 was the Gestapo’s most wanted person.

Gemma and Ben will be in Boston for St Patrick’s Day enjoying the festivities with friends. They did share an experience they had a few months ago while visiting Ireland.  

They were in the Irish countryside on a very dark, stormy night–really it was–in the middle of nowhere. They’d stopped at a local pub for dinner and were enjoying the food, pints, and conversation when the pub door slammed open. A soaking wet, obviously upset young man stood in the doorway. He rushed in babbling about a horrible experience.

He was settled into a chair and given a pint. The beer was half-gone before he could string words into sentences and answer the many questions. The young man explained he was backpacking through Ireland and on a deserted road when it began raining so hard he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Finally, a car came slowly towards him and stopped. Desperate for shelter and thinking he was being offered a ride, he got in and closed the door only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel. Even though the engine wasn’t on, the car once again started moving. Ireland’s many ghost stories rumbled through his brain and fear paralyzed him. That is until he looked at the road ahead and saw a curve looming. Gathering courage, he prepared to jump. Then, through the driver’s window, a ghostly hand appeared out of gloom. In terror, he watched as the hand turned the wheel, guiding the car around the curve.

The lights of the pub appeared and gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran for it.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying.  

Once again the door slammed open, startling everyone, and two men walked in from the dark and stormy night. They too were soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing the young man sobbing at the bar, one said to the other…

“Look ….there’s that fookin idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!”


Honey, From Point of No Return, answered after a long pause. “More than anyone I respect and admire the women who are married to military men, agents, police officers and firemen. They have an uncommon strength and bravery.”

She and Jack, are both rabid basketball fans and they’re hosting March Madness parties to watch the games and a huge St Pat’s Day party. Gloria, Kara, and Gunny will be there. Buck and Coop haven’t decided if they’ll come. Seems they’ve been invited to Florida by a couple of young ladies for spring break fun. What do you think they’ll do?


Celia, from Hunter’s Heart, shared she’d been reading about Eleanor Roosevelt and very much admired her.  

She and Hunter will be in Greystones, Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. She’d told Hunter she would love to visit the place where the landscape he gave her was painted. On Valentine’s Day, in a very romantic way she didn’t want to share, he surprised her with plane tickets to Ireland. Gotta love Hunter.


All my book characters say hello to you and hope to wave at you from the pages of future books.

I think that’s a hint for me to get busy writing.


Oh! In honor of the day all the animals marched forth from the ark– March 4th–everyone is invited to stop by for cake, animal cookies, and tea.

Christmas from Germany to Arizona

Dec 18 2017, 5:10 pm in , , , ,

Happy Holidays!

     The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a tide of memories and traditions. I spent many of my early childhood years on an Air Force base in Stuttgart, Germany, and my parents adopted some of the customs of the region. We’d put our shoes outside the door on December 5th for St. Nicholas (his feast day is Dec. 6th) and if we were good, they were filled with goodies the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                                        We also had an Advent Calendar filled with chocolate, and nutcracker soldiers on our mantel. And something I didn’t recall until I was shopping at Cost Plus years ago…soft gingerbread cookies, frosted.







     When the military moved us to Texas (this time living off-base), we were introduced to new cultural traditions. Lining the sidewalks with luminarias, visiting the River Walk for beautiful lights and mariachi music, and eating tamales on Christmas day are all part of the local traditions in San Antonio. And, Las Posadas was a recreation of the Mary and Joseph’s journey from door to door, seeking refuge. The church would often recreate this in a nearby neighborhood.


     For the past several years, we’ve celebrated Christmas in northern Arizona, where snow is not unheard of. With three kids, I’ve maintained the tradition of the tree, stockings, and advent calendars. We deck the house out with lights. When my daughter was in ballet, part of our annual celebration was watching her dance in The Nutcracker while the local symphony played. 


     This year, we’ll have our Annual Gingerbread Houses (preassembled because, for me, nothing drives away Christmas cheer like having to assemble one of those things). We’ll bake snowball cookies because they’re my husband’s favorite, and decorate sugar cookies because my youngest loves those. And since my daughter loves the soft German-style gingerbread cookies, we’ll be making a visit to Cost Plus, too. At our house, Santa will more often find beer than milk, but no worries—he always makes it to the next house.



     A bittersweet note this year is the Polar Express. If you haven’t heard of it, it was an animated movie (starring Tom Hanks in multiple roles) based on a popular book. As we are a railroad town, a local train company (which usually travels to the Grand Canyon) puts together a Polar Express experience annually, and the movie is recreated for thousands of lucky children on an hour-long train ride in an old-fashioned train car. Santa even hands out a souvenir bell at the end, as he does in the movie. We’ve done this a couple times in the past, but this may be our last time. My youngest is still a believer, but, sadly, this will probably be the final year. He’s already questioning things, but seems eager to keep believing, so I’ve been vague in my answers unless he presses me. He hasn’t yet.

     Wherever and however you celebrate the season, Happy Holidays and good tidings to you and yours!


                                                Anne Marie



Anne Marie has always been fascinated by people—inside and out—which led to degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling.  Her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and award-winning author of romantic suspense.  

She writes to reclaim her sanity.

Find ways to connect with Anne Marie at There, sign up for her newsletter to receive the latest information regarding books, appearances, and giveaways

The Christmas Tree

Dec 17 2017, 10:57 pm in ,

The Christmas Tree


     Queue the reel-to-reel… tat, tat, tat, goes the old reel-to-reel movie projector, blinking into focus…


     A red flatbed truck pulled into the drive and backed up to the porch of the old farm house. Five small children watched with wide-eyed wonder as two large Scott Irishmen hopped out of the cab. Squeals of excited laughter echoed off the porch ceiling. Dad and our uncle had brought home the biggest and best tree. Ever! In all the history of Christmas trees.

     Our mom was not happy with the huge tree. “Jack what have you done?” He grinned like a kid and winked at me. His response was a little slurred, “The kids ask for a big Christmas tree this year. So we found one. Come on, Cat. It’s not much bigger than any of the others we have had in the past.”

     After trimming the bottom and making a special tree stand, they stood the tree upright. The bottom branches took up over half the small living room. The top was bent at a forty-five degree angle with two feet of tree bent at the ceiling. My dad and uncle were laughing like school boys and my mom was fuming, especially when they laid it down and the top went out the front door.  

     They trimmed off the back of the tree and cut two feet off the bottom, stood it back up, and it fit flush against the wall. After the mess was cleaned up we decorated this most beautiful tree with what few glass ornaments and large Christmas lights we had and added a lot of tinsel to fill in the gaps.

     Dad put the gold glass star on the top and we all stood back to admire the tree.

     It seems that the star was the last thing the tree could handle as it came crashing down sending glass ornaments shattering in fifty directions.

     My uncle burst out laughing. My mom was furious because she had just cleaned up that mess and we were all devastated.

     My dad said, “Cat, I have this. You and the kids go out on the back porch and we will fix it.” Famous last words. Two slightly intoxicated Irishmen fixing something should be your first warning.

     Hammering and swearing should be your next one.

     When we came back inside, they had wired the top of the tree to the ceiling and…yes, being ingenious souls they hammered four three inch nails into mom’s hard wood floors.

     We almost lost my dad that day, because my little four-foot-nine, Cherokee French mom almost killed him. 

    I think of this story every Christmas.   

                 I did not bring any traditions from my past. I made my own.  

 Myself, I love Christmas and sometimes put up as many as seven trees. Hope you enjoyed this slice of my life and my Christmas decorations. 






Merry Christmas                                          Christine Galloway Evans      





Christine Galloway Evans was born in a small Texas town and in her youth worked with her uncle rebuilding cars. She earned a small business and Cosmetology degree from San Jacinto College.

Ms. Evans has worked in and owned a Hair Salon and Bridal Salon. She’s had several small businesses including one creating gift baskets for hospitals, and another making and selling stuffed animals.

Somewhere along the way, she realized that her true love was weaving stories and creating new worlds. To date, Ms. Evans has completed several short stories but is unpublished. 


Every day Christine posts Christmas photos guaranteed to make you smile on her facebook page . You can follow her here 

Holiday Adult Beverages

Dec 17 2017, 12:01 am

Here are a few recipes for fun holiday drinks. Enjoy.

Guava pineapple juice and vodka. Yes, I did say guava pineapple. It’s delish. You’ll need Dole’s guava pineapple juice, the vodka of your choice, a pitcher, cute glasses to serve in and a garnish. I like citrus curls, pomegranate seeds and raspberries.  

Measure vodka into pitcher then pour in juice. Be careful here. The juice completely covers the taste of vodka. I recommend starting with a vodka 1 to juice 5 formula to begin with. Go to a 1 to 4 if you think you and your guests can handle it.  

Love eggnog especially with dark spiced rum.

You’ll need rum, eggnog, whip cream and cinnamon, and of course glasses to serve in. Again, know your guests as to how much rum to use. Here I use the finger formula. 1 finger of rum to 3 or 4 fingers of eggnog, according to your taste. Top off with whip cream and a dusting of cinnamon.                                                                                                               Purrrfect.

My other favorites are mimosas and poinsettias.


Mimosas are half orange juice and half sparkling wine. Easy. I like to garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Poinsettias are half cranberry juice and half sparkling wine and a dash of Cointreau. Use any champagne glass or flute. More pomegranate or an orange slice will garnish very nicely.    


So, this is a new to me treat.  It involves cookie crumbs,  salted caramel Baileys and a splash of  heavy cream. Moisten the edge of the glass and roll in the cookie crumbs flavor of your choice. pour a couple fingers of Baileys and splash in the cream.   O_My_Goodness. So good!         




Enjoy the Holidays and drink responsibly.  

Nochebuena, Christmas Eve in Hispanic Cultures

Dec 15 2017, 11:01 pm in

Nochebuena, Christmas Eve, in most Hispanic cultures is a loud joyful celebration filled with festive music and lots of traditional food.  In pre-Castro Cuba Nochebuena had been a religious celebration, and after the evening’s festivities most people attended mid-night mass. Many in South Florida and other Hispanic communities around the world still continue this tradition.

     Family and friends gather, dancing to the music that blares all night long.  The ‘lechon’, or roast pig, is the mainstay of the meal, or for smaller celebrations, a ‘pernil’, roast pork leg.   






Some men who prefer to play dominos, sit someplace away from the crowd, trying to avoid being toppled by hordes of children running in every direction.

The aromas of black beans and rice, yucacon mojo, tostones, and sometimes stewed guinea hens, along with the roasted pork, intoxicate the celebrants.



A tray of turrones, a sweet nougat confection somehow gets devoured for dessert.




Olga’s Black Beans

This is how she gave it to me, I’ve shown my adjustments.

1 pound of black beans

10 cups of water (With good Goya beans, I use about 6 cups and add water as needed. 10 cups can be too much)

1 large green bell pepper (cut in half)


2/3 cup of olive oil (I use about ¼ cup, but you can adjust to your liking)

1 large green bell pepper (chopped but I leave this one out)

1 large onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons salt (adjust at the end) 1 bay leaf

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sugar (I use one)

½ cup dry sherry (I use ¼ or you can leave this out)

(I add ½ teaspoon of cumin))

Wash the beans and place in the water in a pot with one bell pepper cut in half. Soak over night.

Cook beans 1 – 2 hours until they are soft.

Sauté onions (and second bell pepper if you use it), garlic until soft. Mash this all together, add 1 cup of the black beans and mash together until soft (I use a food processor or blender, adding some of the broth to this – it is to naturally thicken the beans). Add this mixture to the rest of the beans. (At this point, I remove the first green pepper that soaked with the beans and has cooked with them.) Add salt, pepper, bay leaf, and sugar. Cook for about 1 hour. Add the dry sherry, cook for about 1 more hour or until the beans are thick.



Linda Ramirez has always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until the age of 58 she self-published her first book, “Big Sky Siren”. Her second book, “Big Sky Allure” is with an editor waiting on it’s fate.  You can find her book, Big Sky Siren, here


A Braemal Christmas

Dec 14 2017, 10:55 pm in , ,


     I love the Christmas season. I love Christmas carols (even when I was in a choir and we’d start practicing them in July). I love the glow of coloured lights glowing from windows or hanging from the eaves in the dark of night (no white or blue lights for me please, they’re too cold in an area that is monochromatic for six months of the year.) The very first year i met my husband, we started a tradition of going out and cutting down our own Christmas tree. Finding a tree farm wasn’t as much work as you’d think since I lived in an area where every other farm in the area was a Christmas tree farm that charged locals $2 if you cut your own. (A lot of us also made money in the summer working on those farms, trimming the trees to the perfect shape.)  So naturally, going out to those farms and choosing the perfect tree became a tradition when our boys were little too. (No, it wasn’t quite the journey that the Griswolds had.)


     We no longer buy a real tree, thanks to Storm, our beloved black lab. Storm loved to sleep under the tree, then she’d wake up, forget where she was and stand up, tipping over the tree, sending ornaments skittering across the floor, along with a massive flood of water pouring out of the tree’s water bowl. So yes, it only took a couple of days of that to decide to switch to an artificial tree the following year.  Which is good too because it means we can put the tree up earlier.


     One of the tougher challenges however was how to keep the Christmas morning laughter going once our boys reached the age where *lowers her voice to a whisper* they didn’t believe in Santa anymore. (Yes, I gasp when I say that even now they’re in their late twenties and early thirties.)


So we started several traditions and we vary them each year. Hubby and I (or occasionally my sons and I) select one person in the family and pull one of two pranks. If you get a slightly larger present than you expected, it’s probable that the gifted has wrapped one of their smaller presents in increasingly larger boxes.(Yes each box was given its own coat of wrapping paper so they knew exactly which one would reveal the actual present. Some of them were as small as a Tinkertoy sized present that ended up in a huge three foot high box. Naturally we didn’t use the expensive wrapping paper for them.)


Or, especially if someone is expecting a specific special present, we hide the present and leave a trail of rhyming clues that the recipient has to decipher to discover the location of the next clue. Every one of us have been subjected to that fun. (Yes, it’s lots of fun. And a challenge too that the recipient doesn’t accidentally stumble on a clue before they go to bed on Christmas Eve.) My eldest still reminds me how one year he knew he was getting an amplifier for his electric guitar. He had seen the large box it came in, and knew from the size what it was wrapped and beneath the tree. Then on Christmas morning he dragged it over, opened it and discovered we’d filled it with forty pounds of weights  from his weightlifting set and the first of six clues to find the amp. (The weights were so if he did happen to move it before Christmas morning, he’d continue to be fooled. Yes, we get tricksy in this household when it comes to present wrapping.)


     Now my eldest has moved to his own home, he and his wife have continued that tradition, so often two of our family can be pranked the same morning. Which adds to the laughter.


    There is nothing I love more on Christmas morning than listening to the sound of my family laughing.


Leah is the only woman in a houseful of males that includes her college-sweetheart husband, two sons, a Shih Tzu named Seamus and Turtle the cat. She loves escaping the ever-multiplying dust bunnies by opening up her laptop to write about sexy heroes and the women who challenge them. You can reach her at


A Florida Christmas

Dec 14 2017, 12:01 am in ,


     I grew up in Florida a long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away.  My mother’s Spanish immigrant family celebrated Christmas with a party on Christmas Eve at my aunt’s home, because she had the biggest house.  

                                         The menu was Paella, a wonderful combination of seafood, pork, chicken, and peas, with yellow rice. 





    Pan con Aioli. Wonderful bread with garlic spread.







     There were always plenty of desserts to keep the kids wound up. Flan, Torrone, cakes, and cookies. 



After dinner, and a lot of nagging from the children, we would open gifts. We drew names and had to wait patiently like good children—which I wasn’t— while each person opened their gift. Oh_my_God it was a painfully slow process.

Every year, an older cousin had a gag gift for my Abuelita, my grandmother. He always had imaginative ways to present it. One year it was a ridiculously large box with what I thought had to be a hundred more boxes inside—it was probably ten—we could barely contain ourselves while Abuelita slooowly opened each box looking for her gift.  

Then came the next tradition. A dear auntie would smoke a stogie and knock back three fingers of bourbon. 

 Christmas Eve wasn’t complete until she did and she did it until she was 85. I cannot smell cigar smoke without thinking of her. I cannot have a drink of bourbon without thinking of her. When I do think of her I see her quite clearly. She is smiling and the laughter and sounds of the party fill my head and the warm feeling of Christmas’ past blankets me.


We would walk the block to our house, generally through a thick fog, put out milk and cookies for Santa and leave the door unlocked because we didn’t have a fireplace. Us kids weren’t too sure how Santa arrived to the island where we lived. Was his sled pulled by dolphins or magical gators?






          After seeing gators in the swamp my money was on them.      




I’m Rita and this is my web home. Feel free to look around. Thank you for visiting 

Merry Christmas

There Is No Place Like Home

Dec 12 2017, 11:07 pm in , ,

   I’m Rebekah Simmers and I collect angels. A very specific type. They are about three inches tall and carved by hand from natural wood. Each has a simple painted face, thin wooden wings and wear a small golden crown upon their heads. The main difference is what they hold in their non-descript hands. A harp. Bells. Cello. Drum. A heart.

One has her hands held straight over a xylephone.




Another’s are held together as she kneels over the baby Jesus’s cradle.


If you look closer, you will see more subtle differences. Some are made with darker woods. A few have a broken wing.






Three are adorned with blue Swavorski crystals. A few are as old as I am, most much younger. All were made in one of the mountain regions here in Germany, where they have been made for decades in the wood working traditions that originate there.




I was born in Germany as an Army brat, where my mother bought the first of these Angels. Every year she sat on our piano, the sheet music for “Stille Nacht” sitting in front of her on her own grand piano. She was my favorite Christmas decoration, connecting me to this far off place where I was born. I visited Germany in high school and went to a Christmas store in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I saw some sitting in a basket. My own collection was born.

Now as a military spouse, I find myself living in Germany. My typical American Christmas with a side of Germany has been transformed into it’s own full blown German experience. Like in America, where each region has it’s own slight differences, each area here has a unique flavor based on regional folklore and traditions.

I live in Stuttgart in Baden-Wurttemburg. We do not live on a military base, but rather down “on the economy” in a smaller German town that has a lovely village feel. “History! Tradition! Hofen!” I have been told by more than one person who hails from our town and it is rich in both of those. The town has a distinctive Schwabian flare to it. A slightly different accent is spoken and traditional authentic Schwabish food such as maultaschen, schupfnudeln and Spaetzle are served year round, but they are very recognizable in one of Germany’s special traditions – the Weihnachtsmarkt. Christmas markets.

The Weihnachtsmarkt happens through Germany. Markets can have a specific theme. There are Medieval, Baroque, Victorian, and Children’s markets. At each you can count on the food. Bratwursts, pommes (French fries), Brezeln (pretzels), Lebkuchen (spiced cookies)). There is also music with live bands, beautiful lights and decorations. Elaborately decorated booths selling everything from delicate glass ornaments and puppets to pots and pans. Gluehwein, a hot, spiced red or white wine, is offered in a mug uniquely decorated for that specific market – a collector’s item

In Stuttgart it lasts the entire Advent season. The Weihnachtsmarkt in our little village is for one day and is held in and around the old burg / castle ruins. 

My favorite things is being able to visit different markets stands overflowing with hand carved/painted wooden decorations.











There is food, handmade crafts, jellies, jewelry and a wood carving stand among others.


There are semi-circle structures called Schwiboggen, often lit up, depicting some variation of winter theme across the bottom.

There are Nutcrackers, smokers and ornaments of all shapes, sizes and themes. And my angels. Not the intricately painted and detailed ones, but the natural wood color, short skirt angel orchestra, with the little one sat at the grand piano, that brings me full circle and makes this foreign country feel like home to me.

Rebekah Simmers is addicted to words.  She’s working to complete the first novel in a trilogy.  She’s a military spouse, mother of five and one fur baby and a dedicated volunteer. 

If you want to read her Flash Fiction story, Ring Pop, search her name in recent posts.


Christmas in Finland by Jo Jackson

Dec 11 2017, 10:47 pm in ,

    Here in the north of Finland, December is a pretty dark time of year. Where I live our ‘day’ lasts a whopping 4 hours right now but further north, high above the arctic circle, they are already experiencing the long polar night or kaamos when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all. But Christmas in this part of the world is anything but gloomy!



Houses are decorated with twinkling fairy lights and flickering candles throughout the winter but even more so around Christmas. Finland is also celebrating 100 years of independence in December this year so many public buildings are also being illuminated with blue and white light to mark the occasion. On the day itself every house puts two blue and white candles in the window at 6pm. Popular belief is that Finns used to put candles in their windows as a sign that theirs was a ‘safe house’ during the war for independence.





If you’re especially lucky, you might even get to see some natural illuminations in the form of the Northern Lights. There are few things more magical than watching the night sky come alive with colours and shapes moving gracefully across the heavens above.


     Christmas in Finland is all about family. Everyone comes together on Christmas Eve and, unlike most countries, Santa visits their houses during the evening and they all open their presents on the eve itself. My children and I watch from our window to see Santa visiting the neighbours’ homes with a bulging sack and I can’t tell you how exciting it is!

     Having grown up going to bed on Christmas Eve and waiting eagerly for the morning to see what I’d been lucky enough to be brought, I can’t quite get my head around opening everything up on Christmas Eve. So, my girls don’t get their presents until Christmas morning but Santa does bring them one present on Christmas Eve to open. He drops the rest off on his way home to Rovaniemi.

     Rovaniemi is a city on the arctic circle where Santa lives. It’s in Lapland and we drive up to hand deliver the girls’ letters to him every year. There are enormous Christmas trees and lights everywhere you look and even though the place is teeming with tourists during the winter months, it’s hard not to get drawn into the atmosphere of it all. Christmas music floating on the air, reindeer waiting to be petted and usually a lot of snow!

     Children in Finland keep an eye out for tonttu or elves, Santa’s helpers who come to see who is being well behaved. A flash of red outside a window can unleash some serious excitement I can tell you!

     Christmas is also full of music and gathering around a piano with friends and loved ones, with a glass of glögi (a hot Finnish drink that can be alcoholic or child friendly) and some freshly baked gingerbread to enjoy the season together is very Finnish indeed.

                                                                   Hyvää joulua!


I’m Jo Jackson and I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel at the age of 14 and wrote regularly after that until real life and ‘adulting’ got in the way.

A few years ago I allowed myself to have enough belief and confidence in my writing to try and do something about the stories that have been trapped in my imagination for too long. I’m a British born preschool teacher and photographer who’s been living for the last 12 years in Northern Finland with my husband, two children and our crazy black labrador. Here I write under the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer, taking large amounts of inspiration from family holidays spent in the Scottish Highlands as well as the adventure games of my childhood. I tend to write about love, in various guises. 

You can read Jo’s Flash Fiction, Todayright here. Just search recent posts for her name.

 Aussie Christmas

Dec 10 2017, 9:57 pm in ,

 Aussie Christmas!

     Christmas day in Australia is the middle of summer.  The only “white snow” we see is icing sugar dusted on top of fruit mince pies.

     As a child, Christmas was filled with excitement. 

       The lead up to Christmas was crammed with fun preparation, being the end of the school year, we would spend the last few days of school making Christmas crafts, classroom parties and singing Aussie Christmas carols.   Hallways would echo with “six white boomers”, “Aussie jingle bells and my favourite “carol of the birds “Orana”.  Orana is aboriginal for dawn, or welcome.

     Managing Christmas Eve must have been an additional challenge for my parents, not only were we too excited for sleep, but day light savings meant it did not get dark until 9pm.   I can remember lying in bed, wide awake, listening out for the sound of sleigh bells and not able to sleep in a bedroom where the sun was peeking at me through the curtain cracks teasing “I can see father Christmas!”

  Christmas day, when it arrived meant an early rise, matching outfits for my sisters and I from our grandmother and off to church.  After church, it was breakfast, often with cold meats on bread, and then finally we were able to file into the living room to see what was under the Christmas tree.   

     Christmas lunch was still a sit down roast meal, a tradition hard to avoid with an English father and German mother, but we dined in the garden.  After plum pudding we spent a leisurely afternoon playing with our new outdoor toys or splashing in the wading pool in new togs.  


     Sometimes we would be interrupted with the siren blaring, and my father, volunteer fire fighter racing off to the fire station to fight fires that were out of control in the hot dry bush heat.  We waited nervously, watching the orange light from the encroaching flames on the mountainside for warning of whether we needed to evacuate.

 I grew up and had my own family

                      and now live in the tropics. 

Christmas day lunch had to transform to cold meat, salad, seafood and Pavlova (meringue with whipped cream and fruit).  We spend the day swimming in the pool and lazing under the air conditioner. 


I am blessed to have “Peter Pan” children who even as young adults are still captivated by the magic of Christmas and rush to the Christmas tree to see if father Christmas has left them a stocking with their name on it.

     The day after Christmas, Boxing Day is for relaxing.  We sit watching television for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, eating left overs. 



  My own tradition is to complete a scrapbook page for each family member of their achievements over past twelve months.  It allows me to recognise and celebrate all that has happened for each family member, and creates a sense of closure to the year in the days leading up to the New Year.


“Aussie jingle bells

Oh jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Christmas in Australia

On a scorching summers day!

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Christmas time is beaut!

Oh what fun it is to ride in a

Rusty Holden Ute!”

                                                                                           Liza Roberts


     Liza is an Australian social worker and successful social entrepreneur with three teenage children and four cats who is harnessing increased time and the space to extend on her writing. 
     Previously published co-author of social work practice programs, Liza is putting pen to paper in a new genre.  Filled with sentimentality and adoration of human resilience, Liza incorporates paranormal, fantasy and spiritualist concepts and philosophies into her fiction writing.  Writing sets her soul free and allows her imagination to wander, creating new landscapes and worlds for her readers to explore. 

You can read Liza’s flash fiction, Rise of Hylzarie, right here. Just search recent posts for her name.


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