My final Guest Author for 2016 is short story writer and novelist, Kate Blackadder.
I’ve had around fifty short stories published and three magazine serials (two serials, The Family at Farrshore and The Ferryboat, are now on Kindle, along with a short story collection Three’s a Crowd.
Stella’s Christmas Wish is my first full-length novel. It is set in Edinburgh and the Borders, is published as an e-book by Black and White Publishing at 99p.
Kate has dropped by to talk to us about some of the facts behind our favourite Christmas decorations, very apt at this time of year.
Deck the halls with …
… paper chains
If you’re a parent, it’s a given that at some point in December the kitchen table is going to be covered with coloured strips of paper and glue, and very sticky children are going to leave very sticky fingerprints around the rest of the house. But paper chains are cheap and cheerful and part of the tradition of Christmas going back to Victorian times – although as Victorian children were woefully deprived of electronic games they had plenty of time to make very elaborate paper decorations.
Apparently the longest paper chain over 54 miles long and was made by a team in Virginia, USA in June, 2005. That could have decked a lot of halls.
… Christmas seals
No, not the sea mammal – the stamps sold for charity and stuck on envelopes and parcels. They were a massive part of good-cause fundraising at the beginning of the last century. The first issue of the US Christmas seal was designed by Emily Bissell with the aim of raising money for the tuberculosis sanatorium in which her cousin was a doctor. They were so popular that the reprints had to add Happy New Year to the Merry Christmas greeting, and she raised – in 1907 – $3000, ten times her original goal
When I was in the States last year I saw an exhibition of seals including Emily Bissell’s, all very pretty and an interesting part of social – and Christmas – history.
… glass baubles
The first ones came about when a poor German glass-blower called Hans Greiner couldn’t afford apples and nuts to decorate the family Christmas tree so he blew glass replicas. There were other glass-makers in the town and soon they were all kept busy making these ornaments for a worldwide market. The natural shapes of the early ones were overtaken in popularity by the glass ball and by the 1890s Woolsworths were selling $25,000 dollars-worth every year. I don’t know if Hans Greiner is remembered or celebrated in Germany today but he should be.
In Stella’s Christmas Wish ‘ … there were precious glass balls with nativity scenes inside that had been in their grandfather’s family, carefully taken out every year and a thing of wonder to the girls when they were little.’ (Thank you, Herr Greiner.)
… tra la la la la la la la:
You can connect with Kate on:
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Kate. Merry Christmas!
Bring a little sunshine into your life!
Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press