My turn on the Advent blog today at Legend Press-here it is:
Each day on the blog we will be posting a special festive offering, as we interrogate our authors about Christmas. Today’s answers are from the lovely Linda Huber, whose debut novel The Paradise Trees has just been released. (Her second novel The Cold Cold Sea is out on 1st August 2014).
What do you love most about Christmas?
The Christmas sherry… no, seriously, the part I’ve always liked best is the first ‘big’ Christmas celebration here in Switzerland – St Nicholas Day on the 6th December. The action takes place after dark… families gather in their homes, where one or two candles on the Advent Crown are burning away, everything’s peaceful… and then, outside in the distance, a bell rings. The ‘Samichlaus’ is coming! Shrieks of excitement from the children. The doorbell rings, and in he comes, accompanied by assistant ‘Schmützli’ and carrying a golden book. He stands in the living room, calls each child up, then reads out what they’ve done well and less well in the past year – like helping Mum and always forgetting to replace the top of the toothpaste tube, for instance. (Collaboration with Mum and Dad has already taken place!) Then good children are given a bag of nuts, mandarin oranges and chocolate, and bad ones are whisked off to the Black Forest to work for Samichlaus until next Christmas. And off he goes again, the Samichlaus, to the next house with children…
It’s a lovely custom, and parents can arrange their Samichlaus from various places. We used to have a party in the garden, along with the neighbours, with a fire, and mulled wine and hot chocolate according to your age, and the Samichlaus came there. That was always charming. Freezing, but charming…
What makes you a Christmas Scrooge?
The price you have to pay now to send even the lightest of parcels. I won’t say what I’m sending my family and friends this year, but they are very small and weigh about three grams each. I really object to paying more for postage than I did for the present. The alternative here is hopping over into Germany where the postal prices are slightly more humane. I’ve never done that, but a lot of people do and one day I’ll probably join them.
How do you fit your writing around Christmas, or do you make sure you have a break?
The Christmas holidays are the best of all for getting lots of writing done!! As a teacher I get at least ten days off, and there’s never so much going on that I can’t spend a lot of time writing. I always look forward to that. This year we’re in our new flat so I don’t even have to shovel snow, the caretaker does that! Luxury.
What is your favourite Christmas film or book?
I don’t really have a favourite Christmas book but there are lots of films. The Snowman, for instance, with its wonderful ‘Walking in the Air’ song. Then there are all the lovely old corny films and remakes like Miracle on 34th Street. Christmas is the time when you can really allow yourself to wallow in nostalia.
What are you hoping for under your Christmas tree this year?
The Christmas sherry! 🙂