Category Archives: Spirits of Christmas

It’s a wrap: how to do **all** your Christmas shopping in twelve hours (or less)

Ditch the seasonal stress and become an oasis of calm and festive cheer this Christmas!

I’m every woman. No, really, I am. I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m in charge of cooking, cleaning, ironing, ensuring homework gets done, lunches are made, bags are packed, I’m responsible for running the varied family timetable to precision with all its different—and frequently overlapping—activities day in and out. Oh, and did I mention I work? Plus we have pets. So, you see, I am every woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; but it does stress me out. It’s a logistical nightmare. Presents, activities, present wrapping, food shopping, keeping the kids (and the relatives) entertained in the run-up to the Big Day, let alone when they’re all together… It’s hard work. Time is of the essence if, like me, you haven’t got enough hours in the day even before the Christmas madness truly hits.

But over the past few years, I have perfected the system for taking the stress out of Christmas, at least where the logistics of present organising and wrapping are concerned. This year, I set a personal record of getting it all done in a total of twelve hours over two days. And if I can do it, so can you.

Here’s how.

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Your goal: a tower of presents ready and wrapped for festive jollification

Day 1: Preparation and Online Bonanza

1. Make a list of lucky gift recipients (15 minutes)

I know it’s obvious, but a list has to be your starting point. Without a plan, this whole operation won’t work. Make an honest and exhaustive list; put everyone on it who you will want to shower with gifts. Kids, husband or wife, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, aunties, uncles, friends, long lost relatives in outer Mongolia, the old lady up the road who always takes in your parcels. Leave no one out.

2. Brainstorm (45 minutes)

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Wearing your best St Nick’s hat…

Once you’ve got your list, populate it with ideas. The children will have given you a wish list—transfer all the items on your list mercilessly. (This doesn’t mean you have to get all of it, but at least you won’t forget any of it!) Think of things your husband would like, your parents-in-law, your own parents… No holds barred. Allow yourself to be creative.

At the end of this stage, your list must show ideas for everyone, however small or general the idea may be. For example, for the lady down the road who always takes in your parcel, “a nice Poinsettia” will be a good placeholder until you get shopping. For your five-year-old glitter-obsessed niece, “glitter art” will be a perfect reminder of what to look out for. You get the idea.

3. Go online (2 hours maximum)

Now you’ve got ideas brimming over, go online and go crazy, especially for the Big Things. A well-known search engine will pull up for your convenient comparison all manner of online retailers with their respective prices if you simply type in what you are looking for. When you see something that suits your budget, pounce. Buy it, and have it delivered to your house wherever possible. Don’t spend hours dithering and ensuring you get the absolutely best possible deal to the last penny; there simply isn’t time.

Right. Well done. You’ve got the big pieces in place. Cross them off your list and breathe. You are done for today.

Day 2—Real life shopping

This is crucial final stage of your new grand master plan. You need to set aside a day to bite the bullet and Get It Done. Also, you want to think of the one store that will satisfy at least ninety percent of your outstanding shopping needs. In my case, that store is a local independent art and toy shop that also sells magazines, calendars, knick-knacks, stationery, and haberdashery. It’s a veritable treasure trove, and the prices aren’t too different from online retailers. (I know. I checked).

4. Go shopping crazy (2 hours)

So, pick one shop, and go for it. Grab a basket or a trolley and pile in items from your list, but also other items that inspire you. The beauty of going into a small(-ish) store with a varied but manageable stock is that you get loads of new ideas. The important thing is to put things in your basket when you see them, even if you’re not quite sure how you might use them. What’s in your basket, you don’t have to hold in your head. Simple.

After an hour or so, take stock of what you have and allocate items to the people on your list. (You remembered to bring your list, right?) Write down who might like what; this is important because in four hours, you might not remember who’s supposed to have the Tattoo Art. You’ll find that some of the New Things You Found Along The Way will fill some amazing gaps on your list. And if there are any items in your basket that on reflection you don’t want after, you can put them back on your way out.

Continue browsing until you’ve got everything and everyone covered. If you’re finding that to be impossible, keep going until no more than three or four items/people remain unaccounted for. Your goal at this stage is to Get The Bulk Of The Presents That You Didn’t Order Online, but remember, two hours is the max. Then: Brace yourself and pay.

5. Have a break. Lunch, or a nice slice of cake (30 minutes)

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Ginger bread latte… yum!

Retire to an eatery and take stock. Work out where you can get the remainder of the presents that you need. For example, this year, I frequented a local bookstore. If you have to resort to multiple mini-buys, think strategically about where the shops are and write out the order in which you want to visit them. Ideally, this will be working your way back towards the car park or, in my case, the bus stop. Then: ready, steady, go!

6.Get the rest of your presents (1 to 2 hours max!!)

7. Go home

Wahoo! Home-time. You’ll be filled with the “oh wow, I did it” glow, and the sense of relief will be overwhelming. But calm yourself, the day’s not done yet.

8. Make a strong cup of tea or coffee and put the Christmas music on

If you don’t have to drive again today, you might also treat yourself to a mug of mulled wine. This is important because next you will…

9. Wrap the presents (1 to 2 hours)

Yes. You must wrap the presents. I know, I know. You’ve worked hard, you’re tired, your feet hurt, you just want to chill. The wrapping can wait.

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Critical tools…

Not! No no no no no. Give yourself a pep talk and get on with it. Of course you’ve bought wrapping paper, labels, and ribbons. (Add them to your list now). So: just do it. This is the final frontier. Belt out the Christmas tunes as you go and munch on some mince pies for sustenance.

Watch the pile of festive goodies grow as you work, and feel the magic seep through your bones as you realise you are on the homestretch. You’ve done it. You’ve conquered Christmas. Hooray! Now all you need to do is hide the presents, and then you can put your feet up. Tomorrow, you’ll be the smug one ambling to the school gates and going to work in a state of unprecedented, zen-like calm. You are the Festive Goddess. You are in control. Everything else is a doddle.

And why does this work? The secret is all in the prep work. The list, and the ideas, and the grand plan for shopping.

Well done you, and Merry Christmas!

Psssst…. Don’t forget to come back and tell me how you got on!

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FREE on Kindle for five days: Spirits of Christmas, a Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

Yes, you read that right. This is my first free promo EVER.
Spirits of Christmas is absolutely free on Kindle for five days only!

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Go grab it here or in any other Amazon store:
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Why am I giving this book away free?

Easy. Because it’s Christmas (well, getting there!) and I’m celebrating the impending launch of Fairy Tale in New York, which is available for pre-order right now but will officially release on Kindle next Monday for only $2.06 or £1.29.

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Help spread the word about my free Spirits!

Please help me spread the joy by sharing a tweet or Facebook message or posting to Google+. Thanks so much! And to make it really easy, here’s a sample message you can use:

SPIRITS OF CHRISTMAS, rock’n’roll Christmas carol by @WellsNicky #FREE on #KINDLE!  http://ow.ly/DXQfW Romance, music & Xmas, go get it!

Thank you so much!! Loveya!

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Spirits of Christmas ~ The Great St Nicholas Day Promotional Sale on Kindle!

The Christmas season is here! It’s the first Sunday of Advent today, and I’m mighty excited. I’m totally in the Christmas Spirit here, which is why I’m bringing you this:

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Yes!

You can get your very own copy of my festive novella for only
£0.77 or $0.99 on Kindle from today, for two weeks.
Go grab it now!! 🙂 Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.com Kindle

Don’t know yet what Spirits of Christmas is all about?
Find out here: All about Spirits of Christmas

Why a St Nicholas Day Promo Sale?

Legends about St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, abound in many shapes and forms; but they all involve helping the poor, protecting children and sailors, and spreading the word. Nicholas died on 6 December AD 343 in Myra, and the anniversary of his death became his saintly feast day.

Many say that St Nicholas (St Nick) was the ‘real’ Santa Claus. To this day, his feast day is widely celebrated all over Europe. In Germany, for example, children put out their Wellie boots on the evening of 5 December, recite poems and/or sing songs, and hope that St Nicholas will fill their boots with sweets and a small present.

So I thought I’d honour this tradition by wrapping my festive sale around his feast day. And obviously, the entire Wells family will be putting out their Wellie boots next week in hopes of a nice surprise…

December Travels

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Like St Nick, Santa Claus and all good elfs, I’m going travelling again in December and taking Spirits of Christmas on tour. This is where you can find me over the coming days and weeks:

Everything Books and Authors | All Booked Out | Anneli’s Place |  Bless Their Hearts Mum | Book Mama | Book(e)line | Booketta’s Book Blog | Bookworm Brandee | Clue Review | Exploits of a ChickLit Aficionado | Julie’s Book Review | Michelle Betham | Rosie Amber | Shelf Full of Books | The Book Chick | The Love of a Good Book | This Chick Reads | Totally Booked | WeAffair

Ho, Ho, Ho! Spread the Word!

Feel like sharing the joy and the festive spirit?
Here’s a sample tweet, if you have a moment. YOU ROCK! Mwah!

Festive novella SPIRITS OF #CHRISTMAS by @WellsNicky: SALE! Only 99c/77p on #Kindle http://ow.ly/rjE7u Merry #Xmas, happy reading! #rock

Don’t forget to grab your Kindle copy of Spirits of Christmas NOW!
Happy reading, Merry Xmas, and thanks for all the love! x

Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.com Kindle

Alert! Festive Radio Special and Giveaway to celebrate Spirits of Christmas!

Last Friday saw the release of my little festive novella, Spirits of Christmas. You know me, I’m a party girl ~ I like extended jollifications and outrageous festivities! Naturally, there’ll be a proper party for the release of Spirits of Christmas, and you are most cordially invited! Read on for the details of my festive fun extravaganza this coming Wednesday (6 November) AND for the giveaway which could mean you could lay your hands on a signed paperback copy of Spirits of Christmas or one of the best Christmas rock’n’roll albums ever. Hooray!

Festive Fun in honour of  “Spirits of Christmas”  on Siren 107.3 FM:
Wednesday, 6 November,
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. GMT

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Tune in to Siren 107.3 FM ‘on air’ or listen  ONLINE for this fabulously special festive show. We’ll be talking to a host of regular contributors, we’ll be sharing favourite Christmas traditions, recipes and rock songs, and we’ll have three very special phone in guests indeed:

JB Johnston from

BrookBooks

Kelly Findlay from

Princess

Sharon Goodwin from

jerasjamboree

You can’t miss this ~ Tune In!! But there’s more:

THE GIVEAWAY:
TWO SIGNED PAPERBACKS AND ONE ROCKING CHRISTMAS ALBUM UP FOR GRABS!

You could win one of two signed paperback copies complete with dedication to you!

You could win one of two signed paperback copies complete with dedication to you!

Or you could win this fabulous brand new compilation of Christmas rock and pop songs ~ in CD *or* MP3 download format! :-)

Or you could win once copy of this fabulous brand new compilation of Christmas rock and pop songs ~ in CD *or* Amazon MP3 download format! 🙂

How’s that for getting into the festive spirit?

Here’s how to enter:

Standard Entry

 Submit the name of your favourite Christmas song ever (rock, pop, classic or Carol) or tell me about your most cherished Christmas tradition. Simply submit your entry via this form:

Bonus Entries!!

If you want to enter more than once, here are a few other ways you could enter.

Twitter Entry: Share this tweet to be entered in the competition. One tweet equals one entry and you can enter as many times as you like!

On Air party for SPIRITS OF CHRISTMAS by @WellsNicky on @sirenfm 6 Nov 5-7pm GMT: #WIN #paperback or #Xmas #Album http://wp.me/p1HzVM-1l6

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Share your review of Spirits of Christmas ~ if you have recently reviewed Spirits of Christmas on Amazon or Goodreads, simply send me a link to your review via the entry submissions form above! 🙂

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Leave a blog post comment ~ in addition to your standard entry, you could also leave a blog post comment about your favourite Xmas tune or tradition. 🙂

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The Small Print : This giveaway is open from NOW until 3 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, 6 November. Entrants must be aged 18 or over. Giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be announced on the show.

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GOOD LUCK ~ I look forward to hearing all your lovely choices! 🙂

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Haven’t got your copy of Spirits of Christmas yet? Find it here:

Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.co.uk Paperback
Amazon.com Kindle | Amazon.com Paperback

Feeling Festive! Spirits of Christmas ~ A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

Ho, Ho, Ho!

1 November heralds the start of the Christmas season in my house. From this day, I’m allowed to put on the Christmas rock songs and crank the stereo up loud. So I can’t think of a better day to bring you this, at last. My special mini surprise project, the one I’ve been promising you since…ooooh… May. Out today in Kindle and paperback editions via Amazon. I simply cannot tell you how excited I am about this, my third publication this year!! Give yourself up to a bit of festive fun with…

Spirits of Christmas
~ A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol!

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There. I bet it all makes sense now… #rock #romance #ghosts #novella… the only clue I left out was #Christmas! Here’s the blurb:

At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

This novella is out NOW. Yes, right now!
Only £1.53 or $2.99 on Kindle, and £4.00 or $6.00 in paperback**:

Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.co.uk Paperback
Amazon.com Kindle | Amazon.com Paperback

**In fact, at this precise moment in time, Amazon has very kindly, and without my influence, discounted the paperbacks slightly, so they’re even cheaper than advertised here!! No idea how long this will last, so check it out while you can. 🙂

Why?

Well, you already know I love rock music and romance. If you’ve been hanging out around this blog for a while, you’ll also know I love the Christmas season. Writing something to combine all three was a bit of an inevitability, really!

The idea for this book came to me the very night after I launched my second book, Sophie’s Run, in February of this year. I was hyped up with excitement, I had finished writing my third book and was waiting for publisher edits, and I had already planned my fourth full-length novel. I was utterly and completely unable to sleep with everything that was going on, and quite unexpectedly, the whole story was in my head. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas stories both in the original and its many varied adaptations. I suddenly thought… why not bring it into the rock’n’roll domain?

My wonderful husband, Jon, was somewhat taken aback when I presented him with this plan the following morning.

‘I’m going to write a Christmas novella,’ I said.

‘But you’ve got another book launch in September, and you’ve planned your fourth book already—how’s this going to fit in?’ he responded enthusiastically, if pragmatic.

‘I’ll figure it out.’

And so I did. It took me just over a week to write the first draft in May 2013, and another few weeks here and there to tweak, fine-tune and polish it over the following months. But here it is. Spirits of Christmas. I hope you enjoy!

The Season of Cheer and Goodwill Starts Right Here!

As always, I am stunned, overwhelmed, honoured and humbled by the support I am receiving from the wonderful friends I have made during my authorly journey to date. I am proud to know each and every one of these bloggers, fellow authors, and reviewers, and their unwavering support and tireless enthusiasm mean the world. I know it’s a cliché, but it really does mean the world to me.

This is the place where I say THANK YOU to everyone who will be putting me and The Spirits of Christmas up on their blogs to help spread the joy, whether by review or promo post, or both. YOU ROCK, ladies and gentlemen!

November Journey

After the Final Chapters | Anneli’s Place | Best ChickLit | Book Reviews By Lynn | Bookreview by Rea | Bookworm2Bookworm | Boyfriend Bookmark | Brook Cottage Books | Celtic ConnexionsChick Lit Plus | Cosmochicklitan | Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog | Eve’s Chick Lit Reviews | Forget the Housework | Jera’s Jamboree | Jersey Girl Book Reviews | Julie Valerie’s Book Blog | Kim The Bookworm | Koffee Klatch with Sugar | Me and Reading | Me My Books and IMy Seryniti | Persusing Princesses | Supportive Business Mums | The Adventures Within | The Dan O’Brien Project | The Romaniacs | Today I’m Reading | Victoria Loves Books

December Journey

Thanks to all these amazing people, The Spirits of Christmas will travel all over the world. How amazing is that?

Feel Like Spreading the Joy?
Help Me on My Quest for
Christmas Number 1!

Wouldn’t it be great if this little novella made Number 1? Then YOU would know a number-one bestselling author!! And… making Number 1 is Jude’s dream as well, after all! LOL!

If you’re just as excited as me, and if you have a moment to spare, there are a couple of ways in which you could spread the joy and help this novella on its journey. You could share a tweet with your friends, for example:

Get into #XmasSpirits with a rocking carol~SPIRITS OF CHRISTMAS by @WellsNicky OUT NOW! http://ow.ly/qhi3G #rock #romance #ghost #kindle

Or you could simply tweet me during the day, using hashtage #XmasSpirits. Or you could shout about the Spirits of Christmas on Facebook, if you like:

Hey, check this out! A rock’n’roll Christmas novella by Nicky Wells, out today! http://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Christmas-Nicky-Wells-ebook/dp/B00G9GNAP6/

There are lots of things you could do, and whatever it is, just know this: I’ll really appreciate your help, every last little tiny bit of it!

Mwah! Thank you so much!

Wishing You All The Best For the Festive Season:
Rock On and Read On!

Ho, Ho, Ho!