Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July: Guest post and giveaway with author Tiffany A. Higgins

Please join me today in welcoming Tiffany A. Higgins, author of "We've Seen Santa."  Tiffany is generously giving away (2) copies of her book.  Details after the post.

Growing up, I always thought I knew where our Christmas traditions came from. My grandmother is Italian, and therefore our traditions must be Italian as well, right? I never asked, never questioned why we did the things that we did. Recently, I have started to post snippets of information to my Facebook page about Christmas traditions around the world. As I research, I discover that much like I have always called myself a mutt because I am a mixing pot of nationalities, so are the traditions my family passes down.

The first tradition I was surprised to discover was not Italian at all was the visiting of Saint Nicholas on December the 6th. I was always aware of the story of Saint Nicholas. That story goes like this. There was a poor man with (if I remember correctly) 3 daughters. This was in a time where brides came with dowries. The man knew he could never afford to marry off his daughters. Saint Nicholas tossed a sack of coins through the window, where it landed in a stocking hung on the fireplace to dry. Three times this happened, allowing for each of the girls to marry. On December 5th, we left our shoes outside our bedroom door. The morning of the 6th we would find chocolate gold coins, an orange, candy canes and our Christmas pajamas on our shoes. This is actually a German tradition. December 6th is Nikolaustag.

Another tradition in my family is that Santa comes early on Christmas eve and leaves a bag of small gifts on the porch. His sleigh bells can be heard jingling and we know to check for his bag.  These small gifts are generally activities to keep the children entertained. I have been unable to find where this tradition comes from. I believe it was done in an effort to keep us from misbehaving while staying up late to go to midnight mass. Midnight mass was always a very strong tradition in my family. We went every year.

My husband’s family had what I always thought was a strange tradition. Shortly after they fell asleep, Santa came to visit. His parents would immediately wake him and his sister to open their presents. They then were sent, immediately, back to bed. As I was doing my research, I discovered that this is actually a German tradition, as well. In some houses, a room is locked up in the weeks before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the children go to bed, but are awoken at midnight by their parents, and taken to the locked room. The door is unlocked and opened.  Inside the children see the tree is all lit up, and there are piles of gifts.

I was amazed to discover that we don’t really have any truly Italian traditions. I am also fascinated with the traditions around the world. In some countries, Christmas starts at the beginning of December and runs through the beginning of February. Can you imagine? Do you know where your family’s traditions began?

Thank you, Tiffany! What an interesting post.  I have never heard of the tradition of the locked room.  There sure are some strange customs involving Christmas, that's for sure!

We've Seen Santa~It's every child's dream to catch Santa leaving presents under the tree. Falling asleep on Christmas Eve is a struggle! You hear a sound. What was it? Could it be Santa? We've Seen Santa is the story of a brother and sister who sneak out of bed and go downstairs to take a peek. Will Santa be eating the cookies they left out for him? Will he be the jolly man they imagine? Will he be happy to see them? An unforgettable Christmas is in store for the siblings!

Tiffany A. Higgins is the author of We've Seen Santa. She was born in St. Charles, Illinois, grew up in Plano, Texas, and currently resides near Richmond, Michigan. She credits her family, and especially her children, for inspiring her to write. “As I read my stories to my family, I watch their faces. Even my ‘too good for parents’ teen-aged son will sit and listen. He smiles and seems to really enjoy himself.” We’ve Seen Santa is a bedtime story that was created for Higgins’ daughter when she was two. Her husband, Clark L. Higgins, illustrated the story for her. “This book project,” Higgins says, “has brought us all closer.” Higgins’ next book tells the story of the seasons. Its working title is When Seasons Change. She has always loved writing. She has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has dabbled in poetry, short stories, children's stories and hopes to one day write a novel. She is excited to be being published for the first time in her life. This book deal is fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers.

We've Seen Santa is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Visit Tiffany:  Website | Blog | Facebook | Publisher  On Twitter: @TiffanyAHiggins and @WeveSeenSanta

GIVEAWAY:  (2) copies of "We've Seen Santa" are up for grabs.  Please leave a comment telling me one of your family's Christmas customs or traditions and where they came from (if you know).  Include your email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canada and will end on August 1, 2011 at 11:59pm CST.  Winners will be chosen by and will be announced here and via email.  Winners must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.  Thanks for entering and good luck!


  1. Sounds like a cute book, and one I would love to share with Aidan.

    We always open our stockings and presents at midnight, which allows us to sleep in on Christmas. I'm not sure if it comes from somewhere or if it was just my mom wanting to sleep in.

    I actually think we will be changing that though. Last year and 3 years ago, we did stockings on Christmas Eve, had a big dinner and watched movies together on Christmas, and then did presents on New Years Eve. I like the fact that we get to enjoy the season for an extra 6 days and it takes the stress of last minute shopping off of me.

    On Italian tradition I've always wanted to do, sint I am Italian, is the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Just nobody in my house likes sea food enough for me to do it.

  2. Thank you Michelle for hosting me as a guest on your blog. :)

  3. Ryan--interesting traditions! The presents on New Year's Eve is something I've never heard of, but sounds like it would make things less stressful. I'm not much on fish either!

    Tiffany--you're welcome! Love having you here with us. =O)

  4. This sounds like a cute book to share with my granchildren. Would love to be able to.

    One of the traditions that even today my grown kids enjoy is digging into their stockings first thing Christmas morning. If my son didn't get his stocking (even at 27 years old) he would be heartbroken.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

    countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com


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