Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Christmas in July with Cate Nolan


I finally figured this out so I can actually post as Cate. Perfect timing since I'm about to show you the cover for my LIS debut, coming in October.

Since I thought the release date I originally saw for Christmas in Hiding was October 8th, I was excited that we could celebrate Christmas early today - 3 months to the date of the release. Apparently I was wrong though and it's October 6th. But why quibble over dates? We can still celebrate Christmas in July.

My heroine, Callie Martin, doesn't get to celebrate Christmas as planned because she has to go on the run after witnessing a murder. Not to worry, Jackson does his best to make it up to her.

Thinking of ways for Jackson to help Callie celebrate got me to thinking of our family customs and made me wonder about the unique ways other people celebrate.

One of my favorite memories is my father insisting he go down the stairs first to "make sure Santa was gone." That was such an important tradition when we were young, but it was equally special that he continued to do it as we grew older because of the family memories it recalled.

When my own children were young, we always left a snack for Santa and his reindeer with a thank you note. Santa always answered. Then came the year my oldest daughter remarked that Santa's handwriting looked a lot like mom's. The next year Santa typed his letter. Years later, smart aleck daughter gave me grief about that.

Of course Christmas in my family always involved a lot of time spent in church. Nowadays, since my oldest daughter sings in the choir, we always attend Midnight Mass. The following morning is fairly calm, save for the dog opening his presents.

Christmas commercials also have a special place in my heart. Does anyone else remember the Folgers "Peter Comes Home for Christmas ad?" That was one I loved to see. Now I can watch it any time on YouTube. It never fails to make me smile.

And then last year there was that wonderful mini-movie ad about peace at Christmas from Sainsbury's.

I think many memories are precious to us because of the people involved. That certainly is going to be true for Jackson and Callie.

What are your best Christmas memories? Do you and your family have special traditions? 


  1. How lovely to think crisp and cold during a heat wave! Though you have me mildly panicking about my Christmas shopping!

    Love the idea of weaving Christmas touches into your suspense. I bet it really ups the romance. Can't wait to read it...mind you, no offence, but I'm not counting down the days. LOL I'd like the snow to hold off as long as possible.

    Hmmm...Christmas traditions. We were just a little family of two -- my daughter and me -- so I had to get creative. I ran a home daycare when she was little so that provided additional kids for the holidays. The tradition they all loved the most was making treats for the animals and birds. Then I'd bundle everyone up, including the dogs and we hiked to the park to decorate Christmas trees for the animals.

  2. Congratulations on your book, Cate! Your Christmas memories of your dad going downstairs first reminded me of growing up. My brother and sister and I would wake very early, creep out to the kitchen and pull the flashlight out of the drawer to check the clock. We thought we were being very quiet. No doubt we weren't. It was usually way too 4:00 in the morning, and we'd have to go back to bed. No one dared look in the living room to see if Santa had arrived. To go there, we had to wait for mom and dad, wish everyone a Merry Christmas and give mom a kiss. Then, when dad said it was time, we would race out to the living room to see what Santa had brought. Fun memories!

  3. Hi Kav,

    I love those ideas. My daughter is teaching preschool and is crazy about animals. I'll have to share them. I'm sure she'd have fun doing those with the children.

    Callie is a kindergarten teacher and one of the things she's missing is doing all those Christmas crafts with her students.

  4. Good morning, Christine.

    Thanks so much for getting my book into the banner. It gives me a thrill each time I log on here.

    What I love best about your memory is that even though you went downstairs, you didn't dare go into the living room. Just like we wouldn't have dreamed of going down until Dad gave us the all clear.

    Did you manage to get back to sleep at all in between? I'm guessing not.

  5. FYI -- I had the kids use cookie cutters to cut out Christmas shapes out of bread. Left some plain, some smeared with peanut butter. Threaded on ribbon for garlands or hung individually. You can't use thread because the birds or animals might eat it and it could wreck havoc on their little systems. Who wants a squirrel to have a tummy ache on Christmas Eve?

    We also made simple little seed villages -- using small milk cartons (washed out really well)...smeared honey or peanut butter all over them and garnished with bird seed. Preschoolers could easily do these -- just beware the mess. LOL

  6. Thanks, Kav. I may just try those birdhouses with my 4th graders. We'll have to stick with honey - too many nut allergies. But it could be an extension of lessons on adaptations and how they get food in the winter. (See, even on summer vacation you can't take the teacher out of the woman.)

  7. I love Christmas memories. We always left Santa cookies.

  8. Congratulations on your debut book. I have so many good memories of Christmas from when I was a kid, then when my kids were young and now with my granddaughters. Each time was special. I'm a Christmas junkie. I especially remember the Christmas when we moved into our new house in Dallas a week before Christmas. How could I possibly decorate like I wanted to in such a short time? We bought a 12 foot real tree from the lot for $35 which was about a quarter of the original price. Our stand could barely hold it. I lived in fear that I would find it toppled over, but it survived until we took it down. That prompted me to get an artificial tree for the first time that would go in our living room, and we would put a shorter real tree in our family room. The tradition held for many years until we moved to AZ a couple years ago. Now I have two artificial trees.

  9. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memory, Merrillee. I've always had a live tree. I'm taring in shock at the $35 price. You'd have to add $100 in front of that for a tree that size here in NYC.

    We had one of those desperate times a few years back. We ordered the tree through the school I was working at. It arrived and we left it in the cold til we were ready to bring it upstairs. When we did, and opened it in the living room, half the tree - the entire rotted interior - fell out onto the living room floor. We went looking for a new tree, but by then most stands had sold out. I remember my daughters being so sad thinking we might not find one. We saw someone driving with a tree on the car and called out asking where he'd gotten it. He sent us to a big tree market way out in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The tree was so beautiful, we ended up going there for years afterward.

  10. And who ate Santa's cookies, Pamela?


  11. Gwynly and I have reached the age where coming up with gift ideas is a challenge, so we decided not to exchange presents anymore. That's put the focus on doing things with others, which I prefer. I really enjoy attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service and sharing in the contagious joy with our church family.

  12. Hi Keli, My Callie shares your feeling about that. There's a very special candlelight service in the book. ;)

    I love your focus on doing with others. Sounds like you really have the spirit of the season. As I grow older I find I'm spending more time celebrating Advent and preparing my heart more.


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