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Tina’s Dark Christmas Elves Are Doing A Give-Away!

Having worked in retails for years I have lost most of my enthusiasm for Christmas. Let me just say that everyone, and I mean everyone from tiny toddler to sweet little granny, goes completely and utterly INSANE at this time of year!!!!

This is the first time in far too many years that I am not starting my workday at 4.30am in the morning to get to the store by 5am and set it up for Boxing Day madness. To celebrate the wonderful and exciting  (to me at least;)) fact, I am giving away two of my ebooks.

Tell me what you are excited about this Christmas for a chance to win a book of your choice. On Christmas Eve my Dark Elves will help me choose the winners! And let me just say we will have a lot of fun doing it….

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

For a little fun:

Tina Christopher

Writer of Sexy Steampunk and Sensuous Sci-Fi available at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.

Moravian Christmas Cookies

This may surprise some of you, but I am a CHRISTMAS NUT.

Nope, not religious. I’m talking the whole tacky ornament, Santa loving, Grinch adoring, stockings-and-ugly-sweaters kind of Christmas nut.

I ADORE Christmas. I love getting together with my family, giving them the most fabulous presents I can come up with, eating, cooking, laughing, and sneaking around playing Santa.

When I was little, my parents had to make a rule for me. We couldn’t open presents until 5:30am. That didn’t stop me getting up at 1:00, 2:30, 3:25, and 4:59.

Yeah. This is a lifelong condition.

So, it is with a sense of great jubilation that I share with you my single favorite Christmas cookie recipe.




Warning: These cookies taste like you just jammed a sleigh-full of delicious and spice into your mouth. Also, one batch makes about a trillion cookies. But, good news. The batter can stay refrigerated for up to two MONTHS. (not a typo.) Yay for liquor-laced cookie dough!!!

And, without further ado…




1 and 1/2 cups Shortening

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed Dark Brown Sugar

A five pound bag of flour (you won’t use all this in the dough, but you will need the vast majority by the time you’re done. Think of the rolling out. These cookies are a commitment, but it’s like marrying an ancient billionaire. Pain in the hoo-ha for the short term, but CRAZY AWESOME later!!)

4 cups of Molasses

3/4 cup Brandy

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

2 tablespoons Nutmeg

2 tablespoons Cloves

1 tablespoon Ginger


Directions, in case you’re not scared enough now. IT’S WORTH IT!!


In a big bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and 3 cups flour. Add molasses and brandy. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk and mix in vinegar. Add to molasses batter with all the assorted spices. Now here’s where it becomes a workout. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Your arms will be exhausted, and you may give up too soon. That is okay. Refrigerate at least overnight, but up to two months! Liquorrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 🙂

When you’re ready to bake, let a chunk of the dough come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If your oven runs hot, you may want to knock it down to 260. You know your oven. I don’t. Moving on!

On a floured board roll out dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more dough. Cut 3 inch cookies. I recommend using parchment paper on your baking sheets, also, btw. Bake them for ten minutes total, the first five on the bottom rack, and the last five on the top rack. Remove and cool.


These cookies will turn you into a bakery, but they make your house smell of nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. AMAZEBALLS. And the taste? They’re much better the next day. The spices ping your tongue. Yeah, so they’re a lot of work. Yeah, so they have about seventeen ingredients. THEY ARE SO WORTH IT.


Christmas is a commitment, people. Your December 25th can be just like every other day of your life, or it can be special. MINE WILL BE SPECIAL, DAMMIT!!







The Infamous Year of Three Trees

treeMy husband and I moved out to Arizona a while back so I could go to grad school at ASU. A couple years later, we had our first child, and a year after that, bought our first house.  I am very enthusiastic about Christmas, so that first year (about 7ish years ago) we got an upstairs tree (a smallish one) for the loft and a full size for the family room. Christmas spirit everywhere. I had a house, a family, and was ready to start my own traditions. I was so excited, I was a menace.

I did not understand why so many people in Arizona have artificial trees. I couldn’t see any fun at all in pulling an artificial tree out of a box in the garage. No matter how nice they were, the trees didn’t feel right, didn’t smell like Christmas.  Plus, I had warm childhood memories of hunting through Christmas tree lots for the perfect tree.

We got our trees, the big and the mini, Thanksgiving weekend. Two weeks later, both were so dry they could only be good for kindling. Likewise, I started seeing articles and news reports about what a fire hazard Christmas trees are out here where it’s so dang dry in the winter. I saw a very sobering YouTube video showing how fast a whole house could catch from a Christmas tree, and soon I refused to turn the lights on the trees on at all.  They sat there—dry, decorated sticks. Needles were everywhere—fantastic for our toddler. We finally decided to take down our ornaments and lights and drag the kindling into the back yard, before Christmas. My good friend and neighbor didn’t try to mask her laughing, and to this day, won’t let me live it down.

We bought a third tree to fill the depressing hole in our living room. Trees are inexpensive out here (a fraction of what they are back east!) and we couldn’t afford an artificial one that year. Decorating for the third time was not as much fun as you’d think. The mocking from my mommy friends was less so.

In the years since, we’ve had a gorgeous artificial tree. I love it. We got it at Costco. It came in a big box. The branches have pre-strung lights so bright you could probably see them from space.  But best of all, the tree won’t burn my house down, which fills me with all kinds of Christmas spirit. 

(Update: My husband just read this post and he said I left out the part where he tried to save the big tree. One night he took off all the ornaments, left the lights, dragged the tree to the garage, and sawed off a little more of the trunk so that the tree could get more water. Then brought it back in, put it up, and put the ornaments on. He tells me now he did it when our daughter and I were sleeping. That, right there, is why I married him.)

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