‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Lisa Schroeder

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Lisa Schroeder

Once upon a time, Lisa Schroeder wanted to join Encyclopedia Brown on his fun adventures. Since that didn’t work out, she decided to be an author instead. Lisa’s written over a twenty books for kids and teens including the popular verse novels for teens I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Chasing Brooklyn. She’s also the author of the middle grade novels It’s Raining Cupcakes, My Secret Guide To Paris, Keys To The City and The Girl In The Tower. Her latest book is See You On A Starry Night, coming June, 2018 with Scholastic. Her books have been translated into foreign languages and have been selected for state reading lists. Lisa is a native Oregonian and lives with her family outside of Portland.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Okay, I’m going to be honest. There are things I love about the Christmas season and there are things I really struggle with. First of all, here in Oregon, the weather sucks. It’s gray and rainy most of the time and the older I get, the more I miss the sunshine in the winter months. One year we went to Disney World over Christmas vacation and I was so thrilled to be wearing shorts in December. If I could, I’d probably alternate between a fun sunny vacation and a more traditional Christmas.

I also don’t like shopping for gifts. Sure, it was fun when the kids were little, but now? Between our parents and our kids, it often feels like trying to shop for the pope because they hardly need a thing. I just find the shopping so stressful, even if I manage to do half of it online. There is one exception – my annual holiday trip to the bookstore. I don’t mind that shopping trip one bit!

And finally, I miss my grandparents. I miss the homemade strawberry jam my grandma would leave under the tree for me every year. Sure, I make my own now, but I just…I miss them and all the things I remember about Christmas with them on the farm.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I want to focus on the things I do enjoy. So here we go!

1. The movies!
My favorites are The Little Shop Around the Corner, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Jimmy Stewart and Kermit the Frog, who else do you need to make it a perfect Christmas, really?

2. Christmas cookies.
I’ve tried many, MANY recipes over the years. I remember making cookies at my best friend Laurie’s house when I was in grade school, and I always wanted to find a recipe that reminded me of the ones we made at her house. Well, this is it! I was so glad to find this recipe in the newspaper a number of years back. These have a delicate crunch that melts on the tongue and an addictive vanilla-almond flavor that I love. And they taste almost as great plain as they do frosted.

Mary’s Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 Cup of sifted powdered sugar

1 Cup of butter at room temperature (Don’t use margarine)

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1/2 Teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Cream of tartar

Mix sugar and butter. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract; mix thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together and blend in. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. (Dough will be hard if left overnight, but it softens up quickly and can still get pretty stick, so use *lots* of flour while rolling out.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll fairly thin on floured pastry cloth or mat. Cut with cookie cutter and sprinkle with sugar (or leave plain if you are going to decorate with frosting and sprinkles later). Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes or until delicately golden.

3. Christmas bazaars with lots of handmade goodies.
Isn’t it the best when you find an adorable decoration or the perfect gift for someone and it was made by someone in the community? Yes. It’s the best!

4. Stockings.
I love hanging our stockings along the fireplace mantle and remembering when I sewed our names on each one. They remind me that Christmas is mostly about family. And chocolate.

5. Christmas music from long ago.
I don’t know what it is about songs from a different era but they are my favorites. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland, and “Silver Bells” by Elvis are a few off the top of my head. I love listening to a song and thinking of my grandma and grandpa, and imagining them listening to the exact same song as they celebrated the season.

6. Christmas Trees.
I live in Oregon so along with coffee shops, we have a Christmas tree farm or lot on just about every corner. If the weather is cooperating, we’ll go and cut one down ourselves. If it’s not (as in, rain for days) we’ll pick one out that’s already been cut. Either way, the smell of that fresh cut tree when we get it into the house is just…mmmmm. And the tree all lit up at night? So magical!

7. Tea.
Harney & Sons has a couple of different holiday flavors I adore, one called White Christmas and another called Holiday Black Tea with Holiday Spices. So delicious, especially when you pair it with a sugar cookie.

8. Christmas Lights.
I wish I were one of those people who went all out with the decorations. But I’m not. I mean, I do okay, but it’s always just one more thing on my to-do list, and the chore of putting it away is always in the back of my mind because you know that’s coming eventually. So I really appreciate it when others deck the halls in a big way. There used to be a house near us that made their whole front yard into a scene from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” with moving parts and music and all kinds of things. It was amazing. My husband cut this Olaf decoration out of wood and painted it a couple of years back. Simple but kinda cute.

9. Happy Mail With Cute photos and fun letters.
Man, I love getting holiday cards.

10. Holiday Parties With Friends.
For years a bunch of us have been doing a dinner and an ornament exchange and it’s one event I really look forward to. We do that stealing thing where a gift can be stolen three times and people are ruthless! Once I was so sad my gift got stolen I went to the store and bought one for myself. Ha!

I didn’t list fun times with the family because I figure that’s a given, but that is the BEST part of Christmas, hands-down.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you a joyous one filled with all of your favorite things and people!

Title See You On A Starry Night
Author Lisa Schroeder
Pages 240 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published June 26th 2018 by Scholastic Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Juliet has just moved to a beachside town with her newly separated mother and her moody older sister. When she meets their new neighbor, Emma, the girls form an instant bond. Emma’s big family takes Juliet in, and the girls have fun together – starting with the night they throw bottles with secret messages into the sea.

Then someone writes back to Juliet’s message. An email arrives, inviting her to join the Starry Beach Club. All she has to do is make someone else’s wish come true.

So Juliet and Emma set off to help as many other people as they can. It’s fun! But as Juliet spends more and more time away from home, enjoying her new town and Emma’s family more than her own mom and sister, she starts feeling lost. It’s been easy to find others to help. But maybe her star would shine a little brighter if she brought it closer to home.

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