Monday, December 24, 2012

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Annie Burrows & Drawing

It's been great reading everyone's Christmas traditions on Cheryl's blog, hasn't it!  So I thought I'd share mine...

When we first got married, my poorly paid teacher husband used to bring home one of the Christmas trees from his school on the last day of term.  Well, it was only going to get thrown away!  Yes, even then we were into recycling.  Rather than see that tree get sent to landfill, we put it to good use!  Bringing the tree home always marked the start of the school vacation, and the real countdown to Christmas Day.  I would always string some lights up in the front window, too, to celebrate bringing the tree home, which he and the kids could see as they came up the front drive.

And then disaster struck, in the form of cutbacks.  The school only bought one tree.  And the school caretaker decided it was one of his perks to take it.  So we had to go out and buy one.

So the tradition of bringing home the Christmas tree on the last day of term had to change a bit.  Husband still came home with a tree, but this time it involved a detour via a nursery on the way home, and getting out his wallet, rather than a saw (the school tree was always about 12 feet tall, as it stood in the school hall, and we only wanted the top 6 feet!)

For a while, when kids were at university, the tradition of buying the tree to mark the beginning of the vacation altered slightly again.  This time, whichever of them broke up first, got to drive out to the nursery to pick a tree with their dad.  But they had to wait until both were home until they could decorate it.  I always let the kids loose on the tree, even when they were so small they needed a chair to reach most of the branches.  I never cared if it didn't look very elegant, I just loved watching them express their love of tinsel.  The only proviso was that dad put on the lights first, and made sure they were working.  And I put the angel on the top...too high for either child, and they would have fought over the privilege anyway.

This year, a lot of our tree traditions seem to have flown out the window.  My daughter works in a job not related to education, so school vacation times mean nothing to her any more.  And my son has moved away, and is only coming home a couple of days before Christmas.  What to do?  If I waited until they were both in town, there wouldn't be any trees left.  And if hubby did go out and get a tree, what should we do about decorating it?  It would look sad, having a bare tree in our house until Christmas Eve.  But could my son bear to let his sister decorate the tree without his supervision?

It is a mark of his maturity that he gave her permission to decorate the tree all by herself this year.  And a mark of - well, I'm not sure what - that my husband let me go out and buy a tree instead of going himself.  He still put the lights on though.  And I put the angel in place.

So this year, Christmas isn't so much about trees, and tinsel and fairy lights, as having all my family gathered together under one roof, for just a few nights of the year.  That's where the magic will come from, for me.

Wishing you all a magical Christmas,

Rumor has it that the Earl of Deben, the most notorious rake in Londoon and in need of an heir, has set aside his penchant for married mistresses and turned his skilled hand to seducing innocents!
But if Lord Deben expects Henrietta Gibson to respond to the click of his fingers he can think again. For she knows perfectly well why she should avoid gentlemen of his bad repute:

1. One touch of his lips and he'll ruin her for every other man.

2. One glide of his skillful fingers to the neckline of her dress will leave her molten in his arms.

3. And if even one in a thousand rumors is true, it's enough for her to know she can never, ever trust a rake….

Annie is giving away a copy of Never Trust a Rake to one person who leaves a comment today. Leave your email address in your comment to be entered in the drawing.


  1. I love your memories. Our family got a few Christmas trees that way when I was a kid, because there was a tree in every classroom, and the teachers gave them away when vacation started.

    Merry Christmas!


  2. nice to hear we weren't the only ones into recycling school christmas trees when we first started out, Liz!

  3. I love your Christmas tree tradition, Annie, and your book sounds so good!

    Thanks for hosting the Great Christmas Tree Tour, Cheryl!

    Merry Christmas!


  4. Hi, Annie!

    I think we all started out quite lean when we were first married. Numerous times we bought small trees that we could plant afterward. Then, we went to a small artificial tree. I'm not one who cares for a huge, ostentatious tree. I'm the one that would "adopt" the last little scraggly one. Every tree is lovely with just a few decorations.

    I'm looking forward to reading even more of your novels, Annie. I love them!

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas.

    Connie Fischer

  5. Oh, yes, Connie - we had a go at one of those trees in pots you could plant out after! It didn't last long though, just a couple of years.

    1. They can be difficult to get established, I agree. We did plant one many years ago that got really big. Therefore, when we sold our home in Virginia and knew the tree so big that it was hard to view the house from the street, we donated it to the county. They came and dug it up with a huge truck and transplanted it next to the new firehouse. It was great knowing that it was being given an extended life.

  6. Great Christmas traditions love them, it is hard when they all change our kids are out of the house now and they have their houses it is all just to hard sometimes to deal with. They came over earlier but it is not the same can't we keep them??

    Love your book it sounds very nice.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  7. When I was growing up we had to go out in the thickets and cut down cedar trees for our Christmas tree. We never bought a tree we couldn't afford it. After I got married we bought a couple of live trees and then I went to an artificial tree, because I never had one growing up. Your book sounds awesome, love the cover.

  8. Oh what an amazing tradition! Loved reading this! I pray you have the glorious Christmas with your whole family!!