December 17, 2012

Christmas Interview with Author Tania McCartney

I'm delighted to welcome Australian author, Tania McCartney to Books for Little Hands to share her Christmas stories and delights. You may recognise Tania from her comprehensive writing and reviewing children's book blog called  Kids Book Review or her book series; Riley the Little Aviator.

How did you celebrate Christmas as a a child?

Oh – lots of ‘70s kitsch. Plastic tree, swathes of gold tinsel, prawn cocktails, punch, pillowcase Christmas stockings and sliding on wet plastic on the front lawn. All the good stuff.

Do you have a family Christmas tradition? Tell us about it.

We love the advent countdown and on 24 December, the kids receive a brand new tree ornament. Every year, I create a new advent calendar – this time it was made from envelopes. We also, of course, leave out beer and cookies for Santa, as well as carrots for the reindeer. Our gingerbread house, which I also make, is usually smashed to pieces on Christmas Eve, too. It often takes a hammer. On Christmas Day, we have big bowls of coffee under the tree (well, the adults do) and we nibble on special, personalised cookies as we unwrap the presents. Someone is the Christmas Elf – they hand out the gifts and everyone waits and watches as each person opens their gift. Anything to string out the gift-giving!
We tend to have a traditional roast for lunch; I’d love to change it up but the family loves it too much.

Have you celebrated Christmas in another country before?

Yes I have. I’ve celebrated it in England, China and Vietnam. The Vietnam Christmas at Hoi An was particularly poignant because we were travelling and had none of our normal traditions. We slurped noodles instead of slicing ham. It was bittersweet – beautiful and different but also a little sad to forgo the traditions that means so much. This year we are travelling just after Christmas instead. Because we’ll be gone nearly 6 weeks, I’ve forgone the massive, traditional tree, and have put up a little feather tree instead, along with white paper lanterns. It’s the most simple thing I’ve ever done for Christmas, and I love it.

What will you be reading over Christmas?

I will be reading Storteller: The Life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Oh – and Christmas picture books with the kids.

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