A few of my Christmas Favorite Things by Monica Fairview

Posted December 7, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Guest Post / 28 Comments

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A few of my Christmas Favorite Things

First of all, Sophia, many thanks for this wonderful privilege. I’m delighted to be here on Delighted Reader.

With Christmas in mind, I thought I might indulge myself a bit by writing about some personal reflections about a few of my Christmas favorite and not-so-favorite things. As in the Sound of Music song, I’ll toss out a random list of items and talk about them a little bit.

Christmas Monica Baby saveMy first Christmas

I had my first Christmas in Switzerland, my mother being Swiss. I don’t remember it of course, but my grandmother was born in 1910 and so she had very specific traditions. One of them was that the Christmas tree had to be real and so did the candles. That being the case, the candles were only lit on each Sunday in December and on Christmas Eve. The first Sunday was so exciting! The candles were lit and the lights turned off. We sang Christmas carols and ate specially made Christmas cookies. I loved watching the candle flames on the tree as a child (the tradition continued until I was about twelve) but it was hard to sit still! Here I am as a baby with my Grandmother. You can see the lit candles behind me. I don’t know much Swiss German, but I do know the lyrics for “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night) and I love the Vienna Boys Choir.

As my husband will attest, I love Christmas carols. If I had the chance, I would buy every Christmas Carol album there is out there. I even had someone bring me Chinese Christmas carols from Hong Kong! I have so many that if I played each of them once I would get through December without repeating a single one! I love the funny ones and the sad ones, the choral ones and the solos, the Christmas Polka ones and the techno ones.

Because Christmas is at that time of the year when it’s dark and cold, I do have a particular inclination towards melancholy Christmas songs/carols that jerk at my heartstrings. One of my old-time favorites has to be “I’ll be so Blue Thinking About You” (The Johnny Cash version). I do think it’s important to remember that Christmas can be very lonely if you don’t have family or friends, or if you’re away from home.

I was in choir once that sang Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and so I have a special fascination with that collection of carols, though I’ll admit they’re unusual. I like them because they span the centuries and give me a sense of historical continuity. They’re modern but with their medieval lyrics and Gregorian chanting they transport me into another era. At the same time, they feature a harp so they have a touch of the Regency to them as well. What more could a history buff wish for? Here’s a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQyunriE1zg

Christmas Films

Easily my favorite Christmas-related film is Little Women. I remember being so impressed by the self-sacrificing personalities of the March sisters when I first read the book — I was about twelve — and have loved it ever since. I absolutely adore the interaction between the sisters and Marmee. I like the Winona Ryder version, but I have a special soft spot for the 1949 version. Here’s a link to the trailer. I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for eight years and used to go to Concord often, so I can relate to the setting as well. Here’s a link to the trailer.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/18855/Little-Women-Original-Trailer-.html

Snow, snowflakes and Christmas songs about snow

These are my least favorite things. “Dreaming of a White Christmas” is just not my cup of tea. Having injured my back digging through heavy, sludgy snow, I can’t help feeling the white Christmas part is more of a nightmare than a dream J. I’m not fond of cold weather. Brr!! I’d much rather be indoors with a log in the fire than dashing through the snow in any type of sleigh. I did learn to ski cross-country and I found it energizing but would rather have a hot day than a snowy one. Having said that, I do like the light powdery snow that you get in Colorado, so maybe if that’s what they mean I could see there could be some good to it.

Christmas-related reading this year

This year I’m starting a new tradition with my daughter (she’s thirteen). I just bought Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar and since it’s specially set up as an advent calendar, I thought we might snuggle up, drink hot mulled cider and read one chapter every day to each other, taking it in turns. That’s my favorite way to enjoy the Christmas season: combining family with reading. Let’s see if it works!

What are some of your favorite/least favorite Christmas things?

23608640DARCY’S CHALLENGE
White Soup Press
ISBN-13: 978-1503363526

In this humorous Pride and Prejudice Variation, Mr. Darcy is determined to win Elizabeth Bennet’s hand in spite of her rejection and he has a strategy worked out. He will rescue Lydia Bennet from Wickham and will return to Longbourn to convince Elizabeth to marry him. But when a chance encounter prompts Darcy to propose once again to Elizabeth before he has rescued Lydia, his plans go horribly wrong. 

Broken hearted, disillusioned and bitterly regretting his impulsive action, Darcy sees no point in assisting Miss Bennet. After all, rescuing Lydia might save Elizabeth’s reputation, but why should he care when they have no future together? His code of gentlemanly conduct, however, demands that he fulfill the terms of his promise to her. Once again, Darcy finds himself faced with impossible choices: helping Elizabeth when she is certain to marry someone else, or holding onto his dignity by turning his back on the Bennets once and for all. 

Pride and love are at loggerheads as he struggles to choose between his mind … and his heart. 

Volume Two of The Darcy Novels continues the story began in Mr. Darcy’s Pledge but can be read as an independent book as well.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

About Monica Fairview

Monica is a longtime admirer of Jane Austen and likes to write down her fantasies about living in the Regency period. Her first novel was AN IMPROPER SUITOR, a humorous Regency romance. Since then, she has written two traditional Jane Austen sequels: THE OTHER MR. DARCY and THE DARCY COUSINS (both published by Sourcebooks) and contributed a sequel to Emma in Laurel Ann Nattress's anthology JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT (Ballantine). STEAMPUNK DARCY is a post-apocalyptic tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen spin-off. Her new series, THE DARCY NOVELS, are traditional Pride and Prejudice ‘what-if’ variations. The first, MR. DARCY’S PLEDGE, reached number one in Kindle Classics Romance. MR. DARCY’S CHALLENGE is the second in the series.

Monica is part of the blog Austen Variations along with a baker’s dozen of authors who also write Jane Austen adaptations. She was a member of the team writing the popular Reader’s Choice serial THE DARCY BROTHERS, featuring the charismatic Theo Darcy.

Monica Fairview’s real claim to fame is that she lived in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester as a teenager, when it was crumbling and neglected, so you could say she has the smog of NORTH & SOUTH in her blood. After that, Monica lived in the USA for many years, where she taught literature to captive victims (not necessarily captivated). She now lives in Surrey within the Greater London area and loves visiting historical properties when it isn’t raining.

Delighted Reader Giveaway

Monica is graciously giving away 2 copies of her book, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge.  To enter, leave a comment below.

Giveaway ends December 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. Open Internationally. 

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anna@herding cats&burning soup

What a neat 1st Christmas 😀 Our family is German so they worked in a lot of that when I was young as well 🙂 I do love a White Christmas but seeing as I’m from Florida that probably explains it. I’m in NC now and snow is still quite the novelty even after a decade living here. Heh. But we don’t get it so deep (or long lasting) that you really have to shovel it so best of both worlds 😀

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

I grew up mostly in Northern California near Sacramento so we were 20 minutes from ‘snow’ and we would ‘drive to the snow’ each winter for tubing, sledding and stuff. LOL! Now I live where we get tons of snow. I’m still the kooky Californian that is all agog at the window or out walking in it. I don’t even mind shoveling it yet. 😉

Monica Fairview
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Anna — did they have the live candles, too?
Sounds like you get the perfect amount of snow in NC, Anna. It’s the heavy, soggy snow that piles up and then freezes that really bothers me.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monica Fairview
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Sophia — I would certainly love to go the mountains in California to see the snow!! It’s such a beautiful state.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

I think so, but I’m partial. 😉 I’d love to see the snow in England where you live too.

RO
RO
5 years ago

Ironically, I was born in Maryland where we had some snow, and lived in North Dakota where we experienced actual feet of snow and ice! Now as we live in NC, 1 inch of snow causes a shutdown of darn near everything, and as Anna mentioned, is a true novelty! (lol) Love this topic of Christmas. I think as kids, my brother and I loved jumping on the bed to wake up our parents and running down the stairs at 6 in the morning to open gifts. Now that I’m older, it’s more about seeing smiles from others who receive… Read more »

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  RO

Oh yes, the Christmas light hunt is still a favorite with me too. Goodness, you’ve lived all over, Ro!

RO
RO
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

When I was younger, being able to say that I lived all over the world sounded really neat, now that I’m older, I’d really like to stay put whenever possible. Lugging a zillion books and DVD’s around is no longer my idea of fun! (lol) Hugs….

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  RO

Not mine either!

Happy Holidays, Ro!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  RO

Not mine either!

Happy Holidays, Ro!

Dung
Dung
5 years ago

Thank you for sharing your first Christmas experience as well as your favorite Christmas traditions!

I love being around friends and family for the holidays. Listening to Christmas Carols especially before midnight mass.

What I don’t care for during the holiday season is that some many time the true meaning of Christmas is forgotten and its all about materialistic things. Black Friday shopping – Stores are opening earlier and earlier. Companies can’t even close for one day to enjoy with the friends and family for Thanksgiving.

Monica Fairview
5 years ago
Reply to  Dung

Hello Dung — thank you for finding me here. I know what you mean about Black Friday. They didn’t have it in England since there is no Thanksgiving but this year it was suddenly all over the place and people were literally pushing each other down to get to the bargains. Where’s the Christmas spirit?

Janet T
Janet T
5 years ago

I enjoyed reading your favorite and least favorite things, Monica. Thanks for sharing them with us. I love learning what others feel is special about this time of year. Singing Christmas carols is a favorite of mine too. I love to listen to Christmas music while I am decorating the house too. That makes things seem so much more festive! The tree and the candles at your grandmother’s house do sound so beautiful. I bet that is a great memory. Thanks, Sophia, but please don’t enter me in the giveaway. I already have the book but wanted to stop by… Read more »

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Janet T

Glad you could stop by, Janet! I thought the story of her grandmother and the candlelit tree was a good one too. And lord yes! Christmas music is a must around here too.

Allison Sullivan
Allison Sullivan
5 years ago

I love Christmas! I never sang carols, or even had carolers in my neighborhood. My favorite thing as a child was always heading over to my Nana and Pop-pop’s house to celebrate with the whole family on Christmas day!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Ah, I’ll bet those are good memories, Allison. I have a few memories of the visit ‘over the river and through the wood’.

Jane Odiwe
Jane Odiwe
5 years ago

What a lovely post-and thank you so much for including my book – I feel very honoured. I love Christmas carols too-there was a choir singing at East Finchley tonight, and the sound of so many voices all singing songs I’ve known forever was magical. Happy Christmas, Monica-so looking forward to reading your book!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Jane Odiwe

Glad you could pop by the blog, Jane! I thought it was neat that Monica and her daughter were reading your new book too. Sweet idea, by the way!

Jane Odiwe
Jane Odiwe
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Thank you, Sophia!

Faith Hope Cherrytea
5 years ago
Reply to  Jane Odiwe

Would love to be there for the choir magic ! thanks, Jane, for sharing the dream…

Lover Of Romance
5 years ago

I just love everything Christmas…its such a fun and happy holiday. Although I love the snow. I guess its the canadian blood in me. LOL.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Winter snow and cozy holidays are definitely a heady combo for me too, Renee! And you Canadians crack me up with what you consider actual cold. 😉

Faith Hope Cherrytea
5 years ago

Sophia Rose – I’d love for you to link up your songs for #SONGSonSUNDAY – and another Christmas music linkup found on yesterday’s post for other music lovers! we’d love to have you and your selections to enjoy together!

Monica’s novel sounds like another great read to add to the JA treats! TY for offering and hosting – [delited to find your link at Goodreads]

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Oh, that is too kind, Sharon, but the songs here are actually Monica’s. You could probably contact her through one of her links and ask. She has loads of good Christmas music that she collects. I’ll have to stop by and check out your posts. They sound good.

Thanks for visiting through the GR’s link!

Faith Hope Cherrytea
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

my pleasure, Sophia Rose!
and will definitely connect with Monica over her music collection – thx for suggesting! 😉

Dung
Dung
5 years ago

Thank you for sharing your first Christmas experience as well as your favorite Christmas traditions!

I love being around friends and family for the holidays. Listening to Christmas Carols especially before midnight mass.

What I don’t care for during the holiday season is that so many time the true meaning of Christmas is forgotten and its all about materialistic things. Black Friday shopping – Stores are opening earlier and earlier. Companies can’t even close for one day to enjoy with the friends and family for Thanksgiving.

Jane Odiwe
Jane Odiwe
5 years ago

What a lovely post-and thank you so much for including my book – I feel very honoured. I love Christmas carols too-there was a choir singing at East Finchley tonight, and the sound of so many voices all singing songs I’ve known forever was magical. Happy Christmas, Monica-so looking forward to reading your book!

Lover Of Romance
5 years ago

I just love everything Christmas…its such a fun and happy holiday. Although I love the snow. I guess its the canadian blood in me. LOL.