Hi Jamie! Hi Kati! Thanks for inviting me back to participate in another Joyathon. Visiting your blog at Christmastime has become a fixture in my calendar.
Actually it’s quite hard to pick a FAVORITE Christmas memory, but this one is definitely up in the top 10. My mum absolutely loved Christmas. She started planning for it months ahead and she got more of a kick out of presents she and Dad put together for everyone than I think the recipients did. And my parents were extremely good present pickers, so that meant she got a huge kick!
Mum often ‘disguised’ presents to trick curious little fingers that might prod at the pile under the tree (always an Australian silky oak cut from the bush behind our farm. It kinda looked like a pine tree!). Her cunning was infinite when it came to making sure that what people got on Christmas morning was a surprise. If you’d asked for a Barbie doll, odds are it would be disguised in a box big enough to hold a pony. Mind you, if you asked for a pony, the answer was usually no which was a disappointment to my horse-mad self.
If you’d asked for something light like an LP (this was well before the days of CDs), Mum would pack it in a big box and weight it down with something so it didn’t feel like a vinyl record. I can remember one year my brother got a big Tonka truck the same size he was at that stage. That appeared in the box that had contained our new washing machine. Mum must have saved almost a year’s worth of newspapers so that often things were wrapped in layer after layer to hide their true identity. A rule of thumb was that the bigger the parcel, the smaller in size was the gift inside.
Mum’s ingenuity was a major part of the morning’s entertainment and she’d be so disappointed if you fathomed her tricks before you reached the bottom of the parcel. Sometimes even if you fathomed the mystery, you kept your mouth shut to keep her happy!
Something that was always a thrill for my brother and I was copping all the saved 50 cent pieces from the year – always disguised as something else like a box of chocolates, although the weight tended to give this one’s identity away. The Aussie 50 cent coin is a dodecagon (I had to look that up – it means 12 sided) which seems an awful lot of trouble for not a lot of result, but nobody asked me. It’s also the largest of our coins. My friends at Wikipedia tell me it was introduced in 1969 which would make sense – I can remember the merest sight of one sent everybody in my primary school class into flights of ecstasy. It’s also the coin that cops all the commemorative stuff – I’m sure every jewelbox in Australia has at least one 50 cent coin saved to mark the Captain Cook bicentenary in 1970. When I recently cleaned out the house, I found a stack of them, including a couple pierced and strung onto chains. Yes, the 50 cent was that seriously cool back then. Her Her We didn’t get out much in Australia in the 1960s!
So the 50 cent pieces under the Christmas tree gave my brother and me some serious spending money for the rest of the holidays. Thanks, Mum!
What was the best Christmas gift you ever received?
Page Count: 163 pages
Publisher: Anna Campbell (October 21, 2014)
No good deed goes unpunished…
To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom – and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?
Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?
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ANNA CAMPBELL has written nine multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in sixteen languages. Anna is currently engaged in writing the "Sons of Sin" series, which started in 2012 with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. Look out for A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT in April 2015. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.
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