07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Favorite Christmas Story

So … I write science fiction romance. And you might be expecting me to tell you my favorite Christmas story is set on a spaceship far away, where the crew celebrates their own version of Christmas while wistfully eyeing their tiny holo-vision tree, drinking some synthetic version of wassail and dreaming of the good old days on planet.

Um, no.

I have a set of paperbacks I drag out every December and leaf through to find my old favorites. These are some of the Regency Christmas anthologies that were so popular in the 1970s and 1980s, with authors such as Mary Balogh, Gail Buck, Jo Beverly, et al.

 The characters do not travel by spaceship, but by carriage--many of which break down so the travelers must seek shelter together, thus bringing about holidays to remember.  The stories abound with reconciliations, reconnections and new love. Dress includes velvet, fur and lace. Wassail logs burn in huge fireplaces, and real boughs adorn mantels. The characters, many of them jaded lords and ladies, widows of reduced circumstances, damsels with faint hope of a good marriage, and even servants may spend Christmas in an inn, or a drafty castle, but they find new hope and reason for joy.

And isn’t that what Christmas is? Each winter, when the nights are at their longest and coldest (at least here in the Northwest US) we remember that we have new hope in a tiny baby, born in a manger. That’s what it’s all about, not the shopping, baking and round of parties, although those are a fine way to cheer ourselves in the depths of winter.

But for many of us women, this season is also a time of stress as we struggle to balance difficult in-laws, a tight budget and the wants and needs of our families. We look from those glossy, perfect commercials on TV and in the magazines to our own less-than-perfect homes and selves and feel we don’t measure up. Hey, imagine how Mary felt! That manger probably smelled like donkey manure, until the myrrh and frankincense showed up. 

This year, join me in a little tradition that relaxes and refreshes. Create your own collection of stories, on your e-reader or even from your favorite used bookstore. Make yourself a hot drink (or a cool one, depending where you live) and settle down with a celebration of Christmas in a time long ago. Along with the characters, rediscover the simple joys of the season. Shed a tear with them, knowing you’ll be smiling at the end.

Happy Holidays to you!

Cathryn Cade
Best-selling author of sci fi romance
RT 4.5 Stars and Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK
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Paty Jager said...

Hey Cathryn!

I have a "go to" book that I read at Christmas, but it isn't a regency. It's Nora Roberts' MacGregor Christmas. I don't know why but it struck a chord with me the first time I read it. (It was one of the first contemporary romances I'd ever read) I pull it out every year and read about the family and the daughters who find love over the holidays.

Great post!

Sarah Raplee said...

thank you for making me laugh and reminding me how much I enjoy Christmas Regency Romance stories, Cathryn. Awesome post!

Judith Ashley said...

Great tradition, Cathryn. I wrote about one of Jo Beverley's books, "Christmas Angel" in my post earlier this month. I almost got it out to reread - now I know I will. Hot cup of tea, fire in the fireplace - yep, I like that vision (and it's healthier than sugarplums).