City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you’ll hear
It’s Christmas time in the city
Awe struck, Oliver stares at Cate, totally unabashed, mouth agape. Hearing his command, he takes off, but not before flexing his biceps with a wicked wink.
Sharon: One of these days I’ll trade him in. LOL But not today. As you know, I love to chat about favorite Christmas memories and traditions. Do you have a favorite memory to share?
Cate: When I was little, my dad was a rural mailman. Christmas time meant tons of goodies from
the people on his route! We couldn’t wait till my dad came home each day to see what
yummies he had. Although the USPS probably frowns on it, I continue the tradition
by leaving cookies for our own mailperson each holiday season.
Being the youngest of seven kids, every meal was an occasion in our household!
Oliver swaggers out, pushing a caddy full of coffee, te, hot cocoa and oven fresh chocolate chips. Humming away to Silver Bells, pours into Santa mugs.
Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. That will be all. Cate, what lovely memories those are. Now do you have a favorite tradition, and if so, why?
Cate: Every year since my kids were little, I’d buy a new ornament for each one. Once they
start families of their own, they’ll have a good start on their own Christmas trees,
and hopefully some happy memories to share with their future kids! That, and decorating
our house to the hilt. Every nook and corner contains a decoration to make the season
special. It takes awhile to finish, but is well worth the effort!
Sharon: I agree. I love to decorate and dress up the home. What fun. Do you have a story about your child or your pet at Christmas that will always
make you smile?
Cate: My husband and I loved to take our kids to Santa events when they were little. When
my son Chris was five, he made the local newspaper during a train ride with Santa
when he gave the Jolly Old Elf a big smooch. By the time Becca, my third and youngest,
was born, breakfasts with Santa were already a tradition. All my kids share a love
of music, but at one such breakfast, three-year-old Becca cut loose dancing to Christmas
tunes. I snapped a photo, and it still makes me laugh to see her exuberant smile
while she’s dancing away all by herself.
Sharon: How funny. A star is born! Did you ever give a gift to a child that would make his or her Christmas wish
Cate: Other than trying to fulfill my three kids’ wish lists, I also tried to
instill in them a desire to help others. They always helped me pick out stuffed animals
to donate to Toys for Tots, and we’ve donated clothing and other necessities to families
in need. I wanted my kids to realize the joy of giving can be greater than getting.
Sharon: And that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it. Sad but true, there are a lot of children, adults and pets out there without a home or tree or anyone to care about them. Let’s all spread the cheer this season!
Oliver presents Cate with an apron as they go into the kitchen to bake. Cate has agreed to share her favorite cookie recipe with Oliver and he is overjoyed.
These little cookies are bite-sized, tasty and with their colorful sprinkles, add
a festive touch to any table. My Mom’s maiden name was Narducci, so as you might
have guessed, we grew up on Italian food. My sister Claudia makes these the best
(she was blessed with all the cooking genes in our family!).
Italian Anise Cookies a la Claudia
2 ½ cups flour
1 tblsp baking powder
¼ cup softened butter
3 tblsp. Oil
½ cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp anise extract
Small pinch of salt
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and
oil. Add sugar and beat thoroughly. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add lemon rind and
anise. Add flour mixture, mixing well. Chill to handle easily.
Form into balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes
Glaze: Mix 2 tblsp. Butter with confectioner’s sugar. Add a small amount of milk
Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative
fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling I I did not want to put it down,”
“such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which
made it a riveting story,” and “the
author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story
refreshing to read.”
The proud mom of three adult children, she currently lives in central Pennsylvania
with her husband, Lily the dog, their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow, and dozens
of characters inhabiting her imagination.
Visit Cate online at
or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks so much
Oliver walks Cate to the door, but not before stealing a kiss under the mistletoe!
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!