Holiday Traditions & Memories with Erin Kellison

Welcome to my Holiday Traditions & Memories event, where some wonderful authors are sharing favorite traditions and/or memories with you. My very first guest (bless her heart for meeting my short deadline!) is Erin Kellison, author of the dark fantasy romance Shadow, Shadow Touch, and Shadow Kissed series.

Stories have always been a central part of Erin’s life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and she still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction.

After you’ve read Erin’s post below, you can see more wonderful traditions and memories shared by readers in the comments on my 30 Days of Holiday Magic giveaway. Share your own story there for a chance to win!

The Tree Game

By Erin Kellison

I absolutely LOVE the holiday season. I’ve loved it all my life. And I love it even more now that I have kids of my own to share it with. We have many traditions: new pajamas Christmas Eve, ding-dong-ditching a Christmas booster to a family that might need a little something extra, yummy cinnamon-y food cooking in the kitchen, letters to Santa, stockings—I could go on. But just about all of these you’ve probably heard of before—I’ve carried them on from my childhood.

What about something just us?

Christmas for the Kellisons starts just after Thanksgiving with The Tree Game. It’s heated, contagious, and occasionally I cheat (shh, don’t tell). All the kids in our carpool now play it, too. I’m sure their parents are thrilled.

It goes like this: whenever anyone spots a Christmas tree, we shout, “Tree!” The first person to shout it gets a point. Trees on top of cars count. Trees in the windows of homes count. Trees in stores and post offices and Walgreens do NOT count. They have to be real Christmas trees, meaning they have to belong to someone (artificial is fine—ours is). You can’t get the same tree twice—once it’s called, it’s taken. A member of the opposition has to be present when you call it. And whoever gets the highest count by Christmas wins. Not that winning matters. There is no prize except for maybe bragging rights. (I’d won handily for many years against my husband, but now the girls are old enough to kick tushie.)

The very best part of the game is when we drive around random neighborhoods with Christmas music going in the car, admiring decorations and singing off-key at the top of our lungs (well, I’m off key, the rest are pretty good), punctuated by the occasional, “TREE!”

It costs nothing and yet the kids talk about it more than presents. Already teams have been divided. I’m to be on the presumably losing one with my husband.

Game on.


While the world slumbers in Shadow, a fatal plague has swept through magekind. No one is immune to its ravages, and now that her father is dead, Cari Dolan must wield the fearful magic of her House to save innocent lives.

At the mage Council’s bidding, dangerous outsider Mason Stray joins forces with Cari to hunt down the fiend responsible. But can he trust the daughter of wealth and privilege, especially when his own son is at risk?

The princess will always welcome to her bed the warrior, even if one must pay the ultimate price…

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3 responses to “Holiday Traditions & Memories with Erin Kellison”

  1. sharonstogner Avatar

    lol, that is a fun thing to do. Since my oldest’s birthday is Dec 1 (she will be 18 this year!!) we always put up the Christmas decorations and tree on that day. We make cut out Christmas cookies and gingerbread cookies. I always give each girl an ornament that represents them over the past year so by the time they are grown up and decorating their own trees they will have some memories to hang on it.

    1. Linda Avatar

      Great minds think alike, Sharon! I’ve given each of my daughters an ornament for Christmas every year, too, and it was a marvelous way to give them a head start on their own trees. 🙂

  2. Erin Kellison Avatar
    Erin Kellison

    We do individual ornaments every year too!!! The kids choose their own. I also love the hand-made glue and felt ones that they do in school. Our tree looks a bit like a mish-mash, but it’s perfect.

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