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Bookish Holiday Traditions

As an author and reader, books have always been a part of my Christmas celebration ~ giving books as gifts, writing books with a holiday theme, enjoying quiet time with a new book, splurging on books with gift cards, reading traditional holiday stories to my children.

Want to add books to your holiday traditions? Here are six ideas.

Build a child’s library by gifting them with classics as Christmas gifts. You can start with Dr. Seuss and, as they mature, add favorites like Harry Potter.

Celebrate Jolabokaflod. “Christmas Book Flood” is an Icelandic tradition of gifting books to each other and spending the evening reading.

Acknowledge booksellers and librarians during the holidays. Thank those who serve readers and authors with home-baked goodies or a financial donation.

Add books to your holiday decor.  Whether it’s a stack of Christmas-themed romance novels or beautifully illustrated children’s stories, books on display encourage people to slow down and enjoy the written word.

 

Trade favorites with your book bestie. Share a favorite book you’ve discovered by gifting a copy to your best friend and have her do the same for you.

Go Christmas shopping…at the bookstore. In addition to books, you can find bookish gadgets, merchandise, and other nifty items. If you have children or grandchildren, make this outing something special ~ lunch, shopping for gifts, and, of course, a book for them as well.

What is your favorite bookish holiday tradition?

 

No pumpkin pie? Discover what was on the first Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving is synonymous with a bounty of wonderful, delicious food items, many of which we only enjoy this time of year. While our tables are loaded with Butterball turkeys, green bean casseroles, stuffing and pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip, the “feast” prepared by early settlers and Native Americans was a much simpler meal.

 

Thanksgiving, as we know it, dates back to November 1621 when Pilgrims newly arrived on the shores of America gathered with Wampanoag Indians for a fall harvest celebration.

While they might have consumed turkey at their feast, they may have also consumed  ducks, geese or swans. Herbs, onions and/or nuts were “stuffed” into the birds for flavor. Many culinary historians speculate that deer might also have been offered and agree that seafood, such as mussels, clams, lobster and bass, were likely served.

The meal also includes other bounty, such as blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, cranberries, onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, peas, squash and cornmeal mush.

What did not appear on at that first Thanksgiving feast were potatoes, either white or sweet. These weren’t introduced outside of South America until the late 1500s.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day dish? Is there a single food item that defines this very American holiday for you?

(Source: History.com).

Veterans Day: Honoring those who served

Veterans Day, which falls on Saturday, November 11th, serves as an opportunity for Americans to recognize those who have served in the U.S. military. I am grateful to all those who serve in and support the armed services, including active duty and retired service members, canine troops, and military spouses and families.

Throughout American history, approximately 45 million Americans have served in our armed forces during times of war, along with additional millions who served in peacetime. Since 1775 close to 1.4 million members of the military have died in our wars and military actions. (Source: Fox News)

There are currently about 20 million U.S. military veterans living in the United States out of a population of 326 million, according to the Census Bureau.

How do you celebrate Veterans Day to acknowledge our military service members? Some communities sponsor parades. Some businesses and organizations offer freebies and discounts to veterans. Families visit memorials or final resting places.

My way of honoring service members is by featuring them in my contemporary romantic suspense stories. These “everyday heroes” make for wonderful characters. Do you have a favorite fictional military hero or heroine? How does that character inspire you?

Men Under Fire by Jacki Delecki

 

Add this to the top of your 'What to Pack' list

Today’s blog might seem a bit off topic, but I wanted to share a suggestion with my friends and readers. Consider this a Public Service Announcement for anyone who loves to travel.

GET A PASSPORT.

I’ve had a passport for years, and I often assume most people have this pocket-sized blue booklet. A casual conversation with a friend of mine revealed that isn’t necessarily the case.

My friend mentioned that she unexpectedly had an opportunity to travel to Europe but was now in a mad scramble to get a passport. The process seemed straightforward enough…until she ran into problems with her birth certificate. She had to order a new one online since she no longer lives in the state where she was born. No problem, right? Wrong. That process was supposed to take two weeks and now four weeks later, she’s getting nervous.

So why do you need a passport…especially if you aren’t planning to travel abroad?

The most obvious reason is never say never. Like my friend, an unexpected opportunity to travel may present itself and you’ll be glad you’re prepared.

International travel will increase by 35% over the next 10 years, according to a 2016 study conducted by VISA. While work, finances and family obligations may preclude international travel right now, your situation may change in the not-too-distant future.

Any international travel, even venturing into Canada and Mexico from the U.S., requires a valid passport (or passport card). Dreaming of a Caribbean cruise? You’ll need a passport. Invited to a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas? You’ll need a passport. And what happens if you win an all-expense paid Mexican vacation from LIVE! with Kelly & Ryan? You’ll need a passport!

Be prepared for any eventuality. In the event a close friend or family member experiences an emergency situation while traveling outside the U.S. and needs help, you’ll be ready to help out if you already have a passport.

Get it now to save money. The average cost of a passport is $140. There are additional costs for expedited services and the application fee could increase in the future.

A passport serves as a secondary form of photo ID. If you lose your driver’s license or other important documentation, having a passport on hand can minimize the inconvenience.

Don’t have the extra cash to get your passport? Put it on your wish list. The next time someone asks what you want for your birthday or special occasion, tell them you want a passport. Just be sure to send them a postcard from your first international destination to say thanks. (A check for $140 along with a passport application makes a terrific graduation gift also!)

If you’re ready to get started or want more information, visit the U.S. Passports & International Travel site.

Win an audiobook for your next road trip

A friend of mine was moving from Virginia to Florida – a 13-hour trip in the minivan with two toddlers, a cat and a dog. She had originally planned to make the trip in two days, but ended up driving straight through. Why? Because she couldn’t turn off the Harry Potter audiobook she was listening to.

Audiobooks are a great way to make the most of long hours in the car. You can listen on your own device or plug into the car’s sound system so everyone can enjoy the story.  Add audiobooks to your next road trip with these easy tips:

  • Download the Audible or iTunes app to your cell phone or tablet before your trip and make sure it’s active.
  • Test drive your audiobook app and device in the car. Make sure you have necessary cords and connectors.
  • Select a few titles before you head out. Download them so you don’t need Wi-Fi to stream them.
  • Listen to the audio sample before selecting a new audiobook. Make sure you’ll enjoy the narrator’s performance to avoid being disappointed.
  • Take a group vote to decide on audiobooks everyone in the family will enjoy.
  • Choose books that are funny, entertaining and engaging.
  • Ask friends to recommend that favorite audiobook narrators and audiobooks.

For a chance to win one of my audiobooks, comment with your favorite audiobook or narrator.