Welcome to ClareConnelly.com - especially if it's your first time! When I was invited to take part in Annie Seaton's Coastal Christmas Blog Hop, I thought it was a great way to give back to the readers who make it possible for us to write love stories all year 'round. I mean, who doesn't want to win a $150 gift card and a slew of awesome new books for their e-reader? Check out Suzanne Cass's Christmas blog and jump on over (Hop, if you will!) to see what E. E Carter is all about tomorrow... 

What I want to do now is talk about an Aussie Christmas! While I love a traditional European Christmas, our stinking hot summers don't necessarily make ALL the rituals practicable. I do adhere to a cooked turkey whenever possible, a full-baked ham, all the yummy trimmings, of course. We have egg-nog and pudding, mince pies and carols until midnight on Christmas eve. But we also have cooked prawns and seafood sauce, cherries by the bucketful, mangoes that are sun-warmed and so juicy that there's simply no way to eat them with any degree of decorum! 

A beach Christmas morning

CLICK HERE to enter the draw to win $150 gift card and THIRTY EBOOKS! Woo! Also, email me with 'competition' in the header to go into the draw to win a Clare Connelly e-book all of your own. Talk about a Merry Christmas, huh!?

And for my little family, seeing as we live just a stone's throw from the sea, we tend to go and spend an hour or so dipping our toes in the water, eating toasted Christmas sandwiches (ham, cranberry sauce, brie cheese - so good!) and sipping champagne and coffee until we're really in the Christmas spirit. My kids love the beach and it gives us an excuse to slow down the present opening. We let them unwrap two gifts (and Santa's, if they've been good) and then we're off. No complaints!

Christmas is also a time for extended family and urban-family - the friends we choose to spend our spare time with. This year, for the first time in as long as I can remember, we'll have a heap of our family

members nearby. My sister and her crew will be over from the UK, my other sister and mum are down from QLD and my husband's parents live here. This means we'll have a far busier Christmas - going from one person to another - and loving every minute of it!

Family really is the beginning and end of the holiday season for me, which is probably why my Christmas anthologies all focus on siblings- and those complicated, knotty relationships that fill our lives. Both of these series also feature an Aussie twist. Whilst predominantly being set over in snowy climes, there are Aussie characters and, in the case of The Hendersons, an Australian-set Christmas which is full of all the delights that mean so much to me. 

A couple of my Christmas books are linked below - feel free to take a look and sign up to my newsletter while you're here as I'll be doing some more Christmas-themed giveaways as we get closer to Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by. I wish you happy reading, as always, and a very happy Christmas! (And keep scrolling to see entry details for the $150 giveaway! Then scroll even further for some happy snaps of what Christmases-past have meant to me...) Click here to read the next blog in the hop!