Friday, December 05, 2014

Guest Post: Beth Albright (and a giveaway!!! -CLOSED)

Please join me in welcoming Beth Albright to Always With a Book. Beth's newest book, Christmas in Dixie, part of her In Dixie series, is now out and she's been busy promoting it. You can read my review of the book here. I just adored her Sassy Belles trilogy - The Sassy Belles, Wedding Belles, & Sleigh Belles - and was quite bummed when I got to the end, but I'm happy to say that the Belles are back! 

Today, Beth is talking about Christmas Traditions and she's also provided a special giveaway for one lucky winner!

Christmas Traditions

Okay, I admit, I am a huge sucker for Christmastime and holiday traditions. I like all the classic things, hot chocolate, apple cider, lights everywhere, fake snow (I like in California). Yep, inside and out, we decorate nearly every room in the house. We always cook lots of food, and try to see a show, like Scrooge on-stage, watch tons of sappy Christmas movies - and a few comedies. I LOVE The Holiday with Kate Winslet, and I LOVE Fred Clause -- 'cause I am a crazy Vince Vaughn fanatic. 

We have a huge Christma Eve at our house, like the one my Nanny used to have but with less people, sadly - and usually go to church around 9PM - the service so still and soft. I love it. It's usually a candlelight service.

But I think I love the most of all our Christmas traditions is decorating with my husband and son. We always try to get to a tree farm and pick several, yes SEVERAL trees, to home and make hot cider or hot chocolate, Toll House cookies, put on Christmas music or my husband's favorite all-time Christmas movie, Rudolf, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and go nuts - indoors and out! I try my best to keep it classy but inside it definitely looks like a little old lady's house! I have decorations out everywhere - even in my laundry room!

This has to come from somewhere in childhood and even in my early adult years - yes I come from a long line of old lady-type decorators. I love to transform my kitchen, my family room, my bedrooms, and dining room into a magical Christmas wonderland - okay, well at least in my eyes that's how it looks.

And then - there's all that food! The taste of Christmas comes down to one food for me - I could never ever take a bit of this and not become immediately transported back to my favorite Christmases of my childhood: My Aunt Patsy's Magic Cookie Bars! Her appetizers and snacks are in the recipe section of CHRISTMAS IN DIXIE! After many years of me eating about a dozen all by myself, she started sending me a box all to myself! Besides these little treats, I know this is crazy, but I love that green bean casserole. :/ And even worse - Fruitcake! I am starting to see a pattern with that previous old lady comment!

Traditions are so personal yet so classic. From family to family, all across the globe, traditions involve all the senses - from food to decorations to music, and I love it all. Call me old-fashioned, classic, or just pure ole dee OLD, I love what I love - that perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas: Fire in the fireplace, Christmas music playing  or my husband playing the piano, the melodies of all the old familiar tunes bouncing through the house, the aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and a roasting turkey floating through the air. Family and friends over for  huge meals - and all the lights. I love to turn out all the house lights and leave only the Christmas lights and the glow of the fireplace to light the rooms. Okay - so I'm a tad romantic. Some might even call me sappy.

One of our traditions involves just my husband and me. We would get home from the Christmas Eve service around 11pm and our son would go off to bed. Then my husband and I would stay up, clean the kitchen and wrap all the "Santa" gifts. (I know - if you are from the North like my hubs, you wrap Santa - if you are a southerner, like me, you don't. But I gave in on this one years ago...more on that later.)

 As we cleaned up the Christmas Eve feast, we watched, It's a Wonderful Life, then as we wrap the gifts, we always, for years and years, watch the Christmas Mass live from the Vatican. So serene in the wee hours of Christmas Morning. We could make it easier and get more sleep, but then we would miss out on our traditions.

Traditions are important things that are passed down through the tapestry and fabric of a family. And we have so many - combining the histories or me and my husband and making new, extend traditions. That has certainly made things quite interesting! Especially since he is from the North and I am from the South.

Okay - so? Presents from Santa: Wrapped? Or unwrapped? This has been a 30 year debate...this one simple tradition. In the Deep South, unwrapped is the way we do it - but not so up North. I gave in on this one...reluctantly, after our son was born. Like I said, family traditions will grow and change as families extend and time passes - but I think the main thing is to have your traditions and have them every year - they create lasting memories for every member of the family - and eventually, they become the stories we tell. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Y'all!!!

Beth is generously giving one lucky reader a signed book,  a Starbucks gift card, and some holiday surprises. 

To enter…
  • Leave a comment below & be sure to include your email address.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • You MUST include email address or entry will be invalid.
  • I will contact winner at the conclusion of the giveaway & they will have 2 days to respond or I will pick a new winner.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 12th. 

Good luck!





  1. Kristin, I enjoyed this wonderful guest post, which inspires me to get out my own Christmas decorations, and get more Christmas-y! I will add this giveaway to my list of giveaways on my blog. Thanks for hosting it! :)

  2. sounds like a lovely book for the end of the year. And thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    shared on twitter: and on FB
    Emma ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  3. Well I'm originally from the north(VT), although I live in NC now. We never had our presents from Santa wrapped, and my ancestors were all from the north! They must have been Southern at heart :) Would love to read this book!

  4. Sounds good. I like Christmas stories.

  5. A delightful post and great giveaway. Sounds perfect. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. we wrap gifts from family, but gifts from Santa are unwrapped


    dholcomb1 (at) aol (dot) com

  7. I also LOVE the Holiday and Vince Vaughn! I too decorate my home inside AND out. We used to cut down our own tree until we moved from MI to CA and then we bought a fake one. I always wrap Santa's presents.

  8. I would love to win a copy of this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  9. I enjoyed reading about your traditions and your books sound like great fun. As for the Santa gifts - wrapped unless the item is just too big.

  10. Sorry. Forget my email
    k3kdpv at gmail dot com

  11. I love Beth's books and would absolutely love to read this one ! Thank you for the opportunity to be a winner!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  12. I love Beth's books!

  13. I adore Beth's books and can't wait to read Christmas in Dixie! Fingers crossed for this wonderful giveaway! Thanks so much for the chance.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  14. I tweeted:

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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