Courtney J. Hall writes contemporary romance. Her novel A Holiday Wish is the first in the Silver Bells series of sweet Christmas romances. Today she joins us to talk about one of her favorite holiday traditions. Find out more about Courtney and her books at her website.
Christmas is the one time of year where no matter how old you are, no matter where or how you live, chances are good that you have traditions. Maybe it’s a Secret Santa at work or a White Elephant Gift exchange with your friends. Maybe it’s dinner at a nice restaurant with out-of-town relatives come to visit, or a small house party with your nearest and dearest. No matter what it is, nine times out of ten, it will involve food. Which brings me to one of my favorite holiday traditions…
Cookie Day usually falls on the Sunday before Christmas. In the weeks leading up to it, my sister and I pore over recipes from previous years and search Pinterest for new recipes. While we usually stick with the tried-and-true, those traditional cookies, which never fail to please—like chocolate chip and oatmeal—we also like to branch out and go a little more adventurous to keep it interesting. She adds bourbon and toffee to her chocolate chip cookies, while I like trying different variations on the cookie version of gooey butter cake. Almond is always a big hit, but gingerbread has gotten the most rave reviews.
And for a pop of color on our cookie trays, I love making batches of cherry gems with green and red candied cherries, while my sister’s claim to fame is raspberry almond shortbread thumbprint cookies. If we’re feeling really brave, we’ll even attempt candy—mint, raspberry, or orange truffles for me, and slow-cooked candied pecans for her.
The day begins with me packing a giant bag with my supplies and heading over to her house, where we inevitably forget to coordinate oven temperatures and wind up trying to bake one recipe that needs 325 and one that needs 375 at the same time.
With a Christmas playlist going in the background, we sample each other’s recipes, trying not to eat more than one—four at the most—and drink wine out of the Christmas wine glasses we only break out on Cookie Day.
My sister actually doesn’t like baking all that much, so typically after a few hours she’s bored so we break for a quick dinner. Then, after cleaning up, I pack my cookies into the tins I’ve brought and cart them home, where they’ll sit until I divide them into smaller tins for my neighbors and hide the rest from my husband so I have something to serve as dessert when I host Christmas dinner.
We can all agree that the holiday season has become commercialized to the point where its original meaning is almost unrecognizable, but it’s still a time of year to do fun things with the ones you love.
A Holiday Wish
Silver Bells, Volume 1
Noelle Silver has been a wedding planner for six years, and in all that time, the only bride she’s failed to get down the aisle is herself. Abandoned by her fiancé and disillusioned with love, Noelle is ready to pack it in and leave town when Brooke St. John, orphaned heiress, offers her a staggering amount of money to organize Brooke’s Christmas Eve wedding to a much older man.
Noelle is reluctant at first, but the payment Brooke offers is more than enough for Noelle to start a new life. It’s also an opportunity for Noelle to prove to herself—and her former fiancé—that despite her broken heart, she still has what it takes to pull off a wedding worthy of an heiress in the two months Brooke has given her.
But the best man, Brooke’s older brother Everett, is dead-set on stopping the nuptials. Will he succeed, driving the final nail into the coffin of Noelle’s career as a wedding planner—and shattering what’s left of her expectations of love?