Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shannon Stacey's X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway: Crafty Nightmares

Shannon Stacey has written romances in a variety of subgenres, but they all have one thing in common---a happily ever after is guaranteed. She can be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, shannonstacey.com, and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, along with the eHarlequin.com community. Her latest release is Holiday Sparks, a fun and sexy holiday novella from Carina Press.

One of Shannon's Ornaments (I think it's a reindeer)
The recipes I've seen posted here during this holiday celebration have left me practically drooling with ravenous cravings. And with envy. I'm many things, but a decent cook isn't one of them. (Though I’m almost brave enough to try Emeril's Chocolate-y Christmas Cafe au Lait!) I'm not particularly crafty, either, and I'm never more keenly aware of those shortcomings than during the holidays.

My mom's not much better in the kitchen than I am, but she's a little more handy in the arts & crafts department. Sometimes. Other times, her attempts to pretty up Christmas were a little less Martha Stewart and a little more "did your preschooler make that all by herself?".

I remember one year, when we were stationed in England, my baby brother's bottles came with disposable, bell-shaped plastic caps. We made quite a mess when Mom decided we should use glue and glitter to turn those bottle caps into Christmas tree bells. We had days of fun decorating, but I'm not exaggerating when I say we had quite possibly the most unattractive tree in the country that year.
The following Christmas, it was decided we would forego a Christmas tree altogether. Instead, an oversized poster of a wintery mountain forest scene was taped to the wall. We even glued tiny paper ornaments to some of the trees in the picture, but no amount of cheerleading and faux-excited tones of voice could sell us kids on the joy of seeing our gifts plopped in front of a paper mountain range, however, and that was the last year we tried a crafty substitute for a real tree.

There was one homemade ornament idea my mom tried that stuck, however, and it makes me think of all the Christmas trees of my childhood with a warm and fuzzy sense of nostalgia. (Except for the paper mountain range trees, of course.) Every year, Mom took our school pictures and rounded off the corners with a pair of scissors. Then, after punching a small hole through the top, she'd thread a short piece of red yarn or ribbon through the hole and knot it into a loop, ready to hang on the tree.

Each year, those pictures were the last ornaments hung on the tree before the star was placed, and each of us hung our own. We always started with the oldest pictures, sighing over how the young ones had grown and laughing at missing front teeth and funny hairstyles. And then we’d add the photos from the current year. It made our tree uniquely ours, and I can still remember the way my mother would sometimes pause as she walked by the tree and touch a fingertip to one of the pictures. You could tell by the shiny eyes and the little smile she was remembering some moment in that year of her child’s life.

It’s the one tradition I’ve brought with me into adulthood, though to be honest, I think I’m a couple of years
behind on pictures. I keep putting the wallet-sized one I hold back for the tree in a “Very Safe Place”. You know how that goes. But there are enough so I catch myself pausing as I walk by the tree to touch a picture of one of my sons and remember a moment in that year of his life.

I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous holiday season full of love and laughter, and I can’t wait to see what recipes are still in store for us. (Hopefully at least a few I actually have the skill to make!)

Share your favorite homemade holiday ornament idea in the comments! Do you like glitter and glue? Or reindeer made from popsicle sticks (where Lego Spider-Man likes to hide)? If you’re not crafty, like me, tell us your favorite holiday decoration. One random commenter will win a digital copy of Holiday Sparks!
And make sure you're on the look out for Shannon's Holiday Release:

'Holiday Sparks' (can be found in the anthology Naughty and Nice)

"House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.
Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays.

Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s.

But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing?"
[Read an excerpt: here]

-Giveaway Details-
Shannon Stacey has generously offered to give away a digital copy of her holiday release 'Holiday Sparks' to one (1) lucky commenter. Just comment and answer Shannon's question to be entered. [Ends 12/23]
Please include your email address!

Extra Entries:


  1. a stocking that i made when i was 6 we still hang it on the tree even though i'm 20 now

  2. Well, I am not very crafty, so my favorite holiday decoration we have is a Santa Clause riding a dairy cow figurine. It is too cute and makes me smile every time I see it.

    heather.scarboro [at] gmail[dot]com

  3. I am not thet crafty. My favorite decorations I put on my tree are ornaments that my grandmother made years and years ago. I love them and they remind me of when I was little.


  4. I am not very crafty either but I do adore ornaments that remind me of daily life...my favorite is a miniature Starbucks coffee cup, so cute!

    +2 Likes NARB on FB

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

  5. I did something similar a few years ago, but on the computer. I took a picture of a tree and pasted baby photos of family members as round ornaments. It was a hit as some were not sure who the child grew up to be.

    +2 Like The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook



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