Today, the amazing Jill Steeples is joining me to talk about her perfect Christmas, in honour of her fab new book Christmas at the Dog & Duck! You’ll see my short review below, but first up, here’s Jill’s perfect Christmas!
‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’
I would definitely have to agree with the sentiment of the song – I just adore Christmas, everything about it and my excitement for the festive season starts early. Half of the fun is in the preparation, I think, even if the run-up to Christmas with all the rushing around and the last minute present buying can make it a bit manic at times.
I love it when all the Christmas goodies arrive in the shops, even if it is as early as September, and I welcome Michael Buble accompanying me around the supermarket on my shopping trips, crooning in my ear. It definitely helps to build that lovely festive spirit.
Once the tree is up at home, festooned with all our lovely colourful decorations collected over the years, and the Christmas cards arrive to be placed on the mantelpiece then it really begins to feel a lot like Christmas!
Like Ellie Browne in my latest novel, Christmas at the Dog & Duck, we always make a visit or two to our local pub over the festive period. With the tree twinkling in the window, the fire blazing in the hearth and everyone intent on enjoying themselves, there’s such a lovely welcoming atmosphere. After some festive fizz on Christmas Eve we make our way from the pub to the local church to join in the carol service.
This year Christmas will have an added poignancy as it will be the first one without my lovely mum around and with both kids being away at university, the real celebrations will only begin once they’re back at home.
For Christmas is all about family. Sharing happy times with your loved ones and friends, catching up with those people who you haven’t had the chance to see during the year, swapping presents and sitting around a table groaning with food to enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch.
We always go totally overboard on the food front, with enough to feed the whole neighbourhood; turkey and stuffing, crunchy roast potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon, parsnips, red cabbage, carrots, brussel sprouts with chestnuts, cranberry sauce and more, making sure there’ll be plenty left over for turkey sandwiches in the evening and bubble and squeak on Boxing Day.
After a late lunch, there’ll be talk about going for a long bracing walk, although we don’t always manage that, and in the evening, if we can summon up the energy, and quieten the protests from the reluctant participants, we’ll have a game of cards or play a board game.
At the end of the day, feeling totally spent and exhausted from too much food and drink and enforced bonhomie, we’ll remark on what a lovely day it’s been and already, I’ll be looking forward to doing it all again next year…
Christmas at the Dog & Duck is such a cute read, you guys. Honestly, Jill is one of the best writers around – her warmth, her wit, her ability to make you care about her characters, it’s all here in Christmas at the Dog & Duck, along with amazing festive spirit.
Ellie was an amazing character, so sweet, and I want to become a dog walker for a job! That is like the PERFECT job, I’m not even joking. I loved the scenes in the Dog & Duck, although the worry over the bar being sold made me sad.
I was so sad when Christmas at the Dog & Duck was all over, I read Jill’s books far too quickly for my own liking, and I can’t wait for her next read! *waits patiently* *twitches* *continues to wait, impatiently*