Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Blog Tour: Snowed In For Christmas by Claire Sandy

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Claire Sandy's christmas book, Snowed In for Christmas and I'm delighted to be sharing with you her top ten presents not to give!

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Everybody wants it to snow at Christmas... don't they?

Asta's plane touches down in Ireland as the first flakes of snow begin to settle.
As the weather worsens it turns what should be a flying visit in to a snowed in Yuletide with her chaotic family.

Asta fled her childhood village years ago, with a secret hidden deep within her. That secret is now a fiesty sixteen year old - Kitty - who's keen to meet her long lost relatives. It seems there are many family mysteries waiting to be unwrapped, along with the presents under the tree...

Missing the man she left behind in London, yet drawn to a man she meets in Ireland, Asta is caught in an emotional snowstorm.

Maybe this Christmas, Asta will find a cure for her long-broken heart?

Top Ten Presents Not To Give

Christmas is a holly-strewn mine field. As you dash from shop to shop, panic buying and desperately trying to remember just how old your godchild is, take a moment to calmly survey the landscape, so you don't make the mistakes below.

Christmas should be about fun and games and too much food; it should not be about preaching to your friends and family. So don't give your best mate a diet book. Don't give your mother a cookery course. And definitely don't hand your other half a DVD of Fifty Shades of Grey with written instructions to fast forward to specific points and take notes...

Now is not the time to count the pennies! At least, it's not the time for people to see you counting them. Damaged packaging screams sale bargain just as surely as a diary for last year or felt tip set with missing colours.

Unless you're Nigella, the truffles you make won't look like the picture with the recipe; they'll look like what you find on the floor of a rabbit hutch. Knitted items show you care, but they also show how bad you are at knitting. You could sew initials on a handkerchief, but you'd have to travel back in time to find somebody who uses one.

Your boss with a drinking problem probably shouldn't take that bottle of single malt. Better not give your newly heartbroken sis a Mr & Mrs board game. Gardening gloves are of little use to the man who lives in the flat above you.

If you didn't want them, chances are nobody else will either. That notebook with a cute kitten on the cover won't have improved by spending a year in your loft, and the oversized beads that are more chain store than Chanel won't appeal to your friends any more than they do to you. If you must re-gift, make sure you label the presents you stow away with the name of the giver, in case you find yourself giving that flammable fake fur throw back to the same stingy cousin who originally gave it to you.

The moment you get your paws on the latest gadget it's already half way out of date. This doesn't mean you can hand on your obsolete phones or music systems. Couture ages well, iPhones not so much.

A kitten is a fluffy bundle of commitment and even if you know the kids of the house desperately want a cat or a dog or a, umm, terrapin, it doesn't mean the adults are on board with the scheme. Unless you're prepared to go round and walk it/wash it/feed it, don't buy anything that breathes.

Unless you know the recipient very well (i.e. you're related to them or you sleep with them) giving clothes can backfire. Sizing is a minefield - prepare for your best friend to ignore you until February if you guesstimate her as a size fourteen when she's only a twelve.

Give 'em a break. It's Christmas Day! The little ones should be off their heads on E numbers, being alternately cuddled and told off as they weep over missing batteries and demolish brand new toys. They should not be hunched over jigsaw puzzles of the British Isles.

If you've ever seen the dejection on a teenager's face as they tear open an envelope to find it contains not a cheque but a picture of the goat you've bought on their behalf for an African village you'll know what I mean. Virtuous gifts make you feel good and that's not the point, is it?

Claire Sandy lives in Surrey with her husband and daughter and dogs. Before she wrote books, she made radio jingles and sold wool (not at the same time). Now she has her dream job as a novelist, having already written What Would Mary Berry Do? and A Very Big House in the Country.

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