By Shannon Stacey and Jaci Burton
The backstory… When asked to do a joint blog post about our favorite holiday things, Jaci and I agreed. We diligently added it to our calendars and I set up a reminder on my phone, imagining a work session involving a Word document and possibly bullet points. But, as best friends, Jaci and I have chatted every morning with Messenger and coffee for years, so it simply became a conversation. —Shannon
The following conversation takes place between 10:00am and 11:00am… cue ominous clock sound.(Sorry. Jaci and I are both 24 fans, too, which has nothing to do with the holidays.)
Jaci: So hey, Shan, it’s the holiday season. Is your tree up yet?
Shannon: Not yet. We have a fake tree and it’s stored in the basement. I was thinking of just throwing some decorations on it and we can have Christmas morning in the cellar this year.
Jaci: Sounds good to me. Since our kids are grown and gone, we have a one foot Christmas tree with fiber optic lights. And three ornaments. It’s worse than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but hey, it works for us. But it plays music! Bonus points for that, right?
Shannon: Of course! I would have to hack into it so it plays Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” over and over and over and over.
Jaci: As long as we can also add Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to the loop. Sorry, I’m a traditionalist
Shannon: Okay, so our favorite things about the holiday season…mine’s the food. It’s always the food.
Jaci: I love holiday food. Turkey and dressing, of course. I can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year. And I love rum balls during the holidays. My favorite, though, has to be pie. Every year I make a chocolate cream pie and a coconut cream pie, recipes from my mother-in-law, who made the best pies ever. What’s your favorite holiday food?
Shannon: It’s no secret I can’t really cook. And by “can’t really”, I mean not at all. But I do have three fun, very-bad-for-you dishes I only make for the holidays. Cracker Candy, using the recipe from our editor, Angela James, is a huge hit with my family. And we all gather for a Christmas morning breakfast, to which I bring Sausage Balls (also one of Angie’s recipes) and Crack Potatoes. They started as a way to make sure I got a delicious (naughty) Christmas breakfast despite my egg allergy and have become my “signature dishes”. (People who know me well just snickered.)
Jaci: I also make cracker candy and sausage balls. Yummy stuff. Clearly, we both like food during the holidays.
Shannon: I also love presents, but I don’t love wrapping them. Gifts from me tend to look like they were wrapped by drunken elves and the recipients have to gnaw their way through the excess tape. What about you?
Jaci: I love buying gifts during the holiday season. It gives me such joy, though I think the UPS man hates me the entire month of December because boxes come to my house every day. Though really, shouldn’t he be enjoying those overtime paychecks? But wrapping. Oh, I hate the wrapping. Gift bags are your friend, Shan.
Shannon: My UPS guy actually asked me one year if I could make lists and shop once a week instead of making him stop by every day in December.
Jaci: Hahaha. Poor UPS men. I feel kind of bad for them in December.
Intermission: About five minutes of Shannon watching an old repeat of Keeping Up With the Kardashians while Jaci chats with her son on the phone. Then more minutes of talking about our kids while Shannon thinks about the slice of leftover pizza in the fridge.
Shannon: Okay. One of the best parts of the holidays is, of course, holiday romances! Have you read your first one yet?
Jaci: The first holiday romance I read was yours, actually. I loved Her Holiday Man. It was sweet and emotional and really tugged at my heartstrings. The story between Christina and Will—the hardships they both faced in life and how they fought through them together, was the perfect touch of tender, heartbreaking emotion and uplifting romance. I loved it.
Shannon: Aww, thank you. (I inserted the little emoticon guy who’s crying into the conversation here, and then we commented on the fact he looks like he has a runny nose, which is a little gross.) I have your Holiday On Ice ready to read, but my first holiday read of 2014 was The Twelve Nights of Christmas, a Harlequin Presents by Sarah Morgan I somehow missed in 2010. So recommended! And, speaking of holiday reads, we both have a box set of holiday novellas this year. Tell me about yours!
Jaci: I know, how exciting is that? My Kent Brothers Trilogy is now available as a boxed set. Three brothers, three holiday novellas, all together in one easy-to-buy boxed set. What about yours?
Shannon: I love connected novellas, and I loved your Kent Brothers, so everybody should grab that boxed set if they haven’t! Mine is The Season For Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set and has “Holiday Sparks”, “Mistletoe and Margaritas”, and “Snowbound With The CEO”. My novellas each stand alone, but they’re all fun Christmas romances.
Jaci: Okay, I have to go let the dogs out–Hey, now that we’re totally in the holiday spirit, we should put antlers on our dogs. Or no?
Shannon: Yes! I’m going to add Christmas dog antlers to my shopping list right now. (Poor UPS guy.) I’ll skip the cat antlers, though. They have no sense of humor.
About the authors:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Jaci Burton and Shannon Stacey would probably get more done if they spent less time talking to each other, but good friends are a precious gift, especially during the holiday season.