Wednesday, December 05, 2012

We Need a Little Christmas !

Working in retail is HELL! It is a special kind of hell during the Holidays or as we who work retail call them


For those of you who don't know, like Hell, retail has levels. Places like Target and Banana Republic are considered the first level of hell. Walmart, on the other hand, is the seventh level. Dante didn't know it, but his version of hell has nothing on screaming children, juke joint muzak, piped in Christmas carols and Grandmas fighting over the last Paula Dean Sour Creme Pound Cake. 

Surviving without the help of Jim Beam and an Uzi is considered a major accomplishment. In ten years of Christmases at Walmart I have managed to make it from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day without killing anyone, saying Merry *&^% Christmas or beaning anyone with a fruitcake. And according to most sources I have even kept a hangnail caught on a Christmas elf's pointy-toed shoe grip on my sanity. How do I do this when many of my coworkers are cowering in a corner jibbering like cymbal playing monkeys?


Not just any books, Regency Christmas anthologies and novels! I have one with me at ALL times! A few minutes before I clock in, fifteen minutes at my break, an hour at lunch and another fifteen minutes at my afternoon break and I am good for the day. For those few minutes I am in Regency England playing snapdragon, frolicking in the snow, gathering greenery to decorate my stately home and all in the company of handsome lords, witty ladies and funny characters of every shape, size and demeanor.

I have a large collection of these Christmas set gems and I add to them every year. They keep me in the Christmas spirit when every Scrooge in the tri-county area is trying to bust my Jingle Bells and Deck My Halls.

Some of my favorites are :

I defy anyone to read the stories in this anthology and not shed a tear or two. Who wouldn't want to have an English lord fall through time to inhabit the body of a twentieth century rocker because he's too bad for heaven and not quite bad enough for hell?

If you can read Patricia Rice's Tin Angel and not laugh out loud and cry at the end, well the Scrooges have obviously done their worst on you!

When you check out Amazon's listing for Angel Christmas, scroll down to their suggestions for other books you might like. There is an entire series of Regency Christmas anthologies. I have them all and they never fail to cheer me up! 

A more recent addition to my Christmas shelf is Mary Balogh's latest offering A Christmas Bride and Christmas Beau - two novels in one and both wonderful. Mary Balogh fans will be so happy to read more about Gerard and Priss from A Perfect Jewel as they appear in A Christmas Bride. 

Another new one is Suzanne Enoch's Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke - a Christmas house party, a woman invited specifically to cause a scandal and all sorts of Christmas surprises nobody counted on make for one of the best romances I've read in a long time.

Ever wanted to give someone a perfect Christmas? Did you have to hire actors to play your family in order to do so? Imagine doing it in Regency England. Victoria Alexander's What Happens At Christmas is so funny people were looking at me in the lounge at work because I was laughing so loud. One of her early Christmas novels - A Visit from Sir Nicholas is another favorite of mine. 

You can never go wrong with a Christmas novel that features a lady's chemise hanging on the mantel on the cover. (Well, maybe one with a man's breeches on the mantel, but I haven't found one of those yet!) This one by Sabrina Jeffries is sexy, sweet and it definitely made me smile my Christmas smile! 
Or you can try this one - a guy, a girl, an orphaned infant and a crazy family. What more could you want for Christmas?

This is how I cope with the holiday crazies. How about  you? Do you have any favorite Christmas reads to help us all make to New Year's Day without being fitted for the tuxedo that fastens in the back? Does reading Christmas romance put you in the Christmas spirit? Dish on your favorite holiday reads or any other coping mechanism you can recommend for Surviving Christmas!! I don't know about you, but most days I definitely 



M.V.Freeman said...

oooh I have heard wonderful things about Grace Burroughs! :)

And Ack! I will avoid Wal mart (although I did love the imagery of beaning someone with a fruit cake...sorta makes me want to see that...)

Have a glorious day Louisa!

Lexi said...

Wonderful post, Louisa! You are like Gloria Gayner: you will survive! And I'm pretty sure a fruit cake could be considered a deadly weapon, depending on the age . . .

Meda White said...

Love all of the book suggestions- my list just doubled-yikes! I'll be on the lookout for breeches on the mantle and flying fruitcake.

Tina B said...

I feel for you with the whole retail hell thing. 2 years ago, I worked at Toys R Us for a little extra money for a few months. It just so happened to be during November and December. So, I did Black Friday and Christmas Eve. CRAZY!!! I would never do it again unless I had no choice. I give you a LOT of credit!
I like to read Christmas stories and they definitely put me in the spirit. I don't have a favorite, but I am going to check out some of yours. ;)
I hope you have a happy holiday, Louisa!

Chris Bailey said...

Thanks for the list! I'm sharing with all my regency-fan friends.

Louisa Cornell said...

Grace's books are scrumptious reads, Mary! The entire series is such fun and I know you will love the entire family!

Trust me, every day it is near thing with the fruit cake.

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks, Lexi! I will definitely survive, a bit ragged around the edges, but just short of Bah! Humbug!

We have some pretty hefty fruitcakes this year!

A word of warning, do NOT get between a little old lady and a Claxton Fruit Cake. It could be hazardous to your health!

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks, Meda! And we should always be on the lookout for breeches on the mantel! You never can tell where it might lead! :)

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks so much, Tina! And I cannot believe you tackled Black Friday and Christmas Eve at Toys R Us! That definitely qualifies as the sixth or seventh level of retail hell!

Louisa Cornell said...

Thank you, Chris! I hope your friends enjoy my favorites!

Anonymous said...

Louisa, You are so tongue in cheek funny. Grace's latest is wonderful. I haven't read some of the others, but they are going on my TBR list. Have a Merry Christmas.

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks so much, Ella! You and I are much alike in our appreciate of Grace Burrowes books! I hope you enjoy my other favorites as well!

Aileen Fish said...

I've been hearing Grace's name mentioned a lot lately. I'll have to look. I also need to find the Angel Christmas one. I can't believe I haven't seen it before!

Louisa Cornell said...

Aileen, the Angel Christmas anthology is one of the first I collected. It was published in 1995 and my copy is well-worn! I think it is available for Kindle.

And Grace Burrowes is definitely a rising star in the genre.

Samantha Grace said...

Maybe that's what I need to get into the Christmas spirits, a great Regency Christmas story! With no snow on the ground and warmer weather, it's hard to believe it's December much less almost Christmas.

Louisa Cornell said...

I know what you mean, Samantha! It was 70 degrees here today! I think that's one reason I LOVE Regency Christmas stories. You are almost guaranteed a white Christmas and cold weather!

Anonymous said...

I so have felt your pain, Louisa! I worked retail for years and Christmas was the worst! What I hated the most was that all these people were out shopping and having fun while I was restocking face creams. Ugh!

I SO have to pick up the Victoria Alexander - I love to laugh!!! :)


Cari Hislop said...

I've been thinking I needed to get into the Christmas spirit...what an excellent idea...Christmas Regencies. And what a brilliant mental escape from hell. Ah yes...the joy of retail at the holidays! When I worked in retail, I'd sometimes get the privilege of serving the really really difficult customers because I enjoyed irritating them by being polite and happy no matter how rude or nasty they were. It's hard to fathom, but there are people in the world who go out of their way to be nasty...who plan their misery attacks on hapless retail working strangers (and I'm not talking about people with mental problems - I'm referring to nasty people...Bless them! ;)

I hope you have a fantastic Christmas season...may all the evil customers go to some other store!

Olivia Kelly said...

I'm late! But I LOVED the video! So funny how some of the kids were moving and really getting into it, and others were like, "Oh, please let this be over soon." Lol!
I haven't read Sabrina's Xmas novel yet, but cant wait- it looks so good. And I love Lisa Kleypas's Wallflower Christmas. Gave me the warm and fuzzies, lol...

Louisa Cornell said...

Oh, Jerrica, I know exactly what you mean. Everyone else is out making merry and there we are stuck doing drudge work. Yuck!

You will LOVE the Victoria Alexander book. The heroine is one of these girls who has all of these bright ideas that are a complete disaster!

Louisa Cornell said...


Ah, yes! The kill them with kindness method. Never fails to send them over the edge! Kudos to you! Like you, I am the person in my department who is called when the customers get nasty. My method is to remain calm and serene no matter what they throw at me. I once at a church deaconess (she wore her name badge!) call me an ignorant bitch because I wouldn't let her have a cake $2.00 cheaper than the price on the shelf. (Someone had moved the cake into another slot, but the label for that slot was obviously NOT that cake!) I smiled and said "Yes, ma'am, and you have a blessed day."

Louisa Cornell said...

LOL, Olivia! I knew you'd see that in the video. Ah, the joys of college choir concerts! Some of those singers needed MORE than a little Christmas!!

Sabrina's book is wonderful. You'll love it!

OH! And I forgot to list Lisa Kleypas's Wallflower Christmas! It is one of my favorites!

Cari Hislop said...

Louisa: it's a sad day when hell is made more hellish by individuals who spend at least one day a week crying against the place! Some people will be sliding down to the ninth level no matter what they profess. Bless them!

Louisa Cornell said...

Too true, Cari! Too true!