- Putting up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It’s always a real tree, which brings its own challenges. One year a huge egg sack of praying mantises hatched before we could take it down. A thousand itty bitty praying mantises invaded my Santa Village under the tree. It was like some crazy B-grade monster movie!
- Unpacking and creating my Department 56 North Pole Village under the tree with a working train running through it. I’ve been collecting houses, elves, and accessories for twenty years. It’s become HUGE! And I love it!
- Putting together puzzles. After Thanksgiving dinner, the first holiday puzzle comes out, and my family slowly gathers around. The kids are getting older and don’t do the whole puzzle, but they sit off and on next to me doing various puzzles all through the holidays. It’s meditative, and they talk to me as they stare at the colors and shapes. It’s something we do together. It’s calming and has become an important tradition. We put them all away in January until the next Thanksgiving.
- Baking is one of my favorite past times, and cookies are the perfect bite-sized treat during the holidays. I bake hundreds of them, giving them to teachers and friends. We have a neighborhood cookie exchange, and my Oreo balls won five years in a row until I retired them last year so others could have a chance to win! I’m putting up the recipe on the Historical Holiday Cookie Exchange Hop 12/13 – 12/15.
- Christmas movies – I love them! I start watching the day after Thanksgiving. All the traditional movies with new ones thrown in. My favorites include Home Alone, Elf, Holiday in Handcuffs, and The Nativity. My kids roll their eyes so much when I put one on, that I usually watch them while wrapping gifts when they are at school. I know the movies by heart, so I can do all sorts of holiday tasks while they are playing in the background.
What are your favorite holiday activities? Wishing you a peaceful, fun, and heart-warming holiday season! Heather
With few other options, Scarlet Worthington flees from her home in England to the wild Highlands of Scotland to help her sister run a school for ladies. There, Scarlet begins to rebuild her own shattered confidence by recruiting a fierce Campbell warrior to teach her and the students how to protect themselves from villains and scoundrels. The intimidating Aiden Campbell both infuriates Scarlet and ignites a fire inside her as she works closely with him to hone her new skills.
Burned in a fierce fire, set by English soldiers, Highland warrior, Aiden Campbell, has finally healed enough to take temporary command of his clan. That’s where his focus should be instead of dealing with the feisty, beautiful Sassenach who asks him to teach her students.
When Scarlet’s past stalks her up into Scotland, her nightmares come alive, and Aiden’s lessons are put to the test. With his own ghosts from the past making him despise English women, Aiden fights the inferno of passion that’s grown between them, a different kind of wild fire that could prove just as deadly.
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.