Book Love: A CHRISTMAS CAROL Theme Party

December is all about the holidays. One of my favourite Christmas stories is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I’ve already watched the Disney animated adaptation twice, and plan on watching it many more times before the holidays are over. It’s inspired in me visions of the perfect Victorian Christmas tree. So for Dickens aficionados like me, today’s Book Love post is all about how to throw the perfect A Christmas Carol theme party, from the cutlery to the music, all the while hoping that the ghost of Jacob Marley doesn’t decide to crash-land in your dinner table.

1. Candles.
A Christmas Carol takes place in the Victorian time period, well before electric lighting. If you want your party to have the right mood, tone down the lighting with some romantic, non-scented candles (scented candles can be too overwhelming for some guests). These will really take you back in time and give the party a cozy feel.
candle

[Source: http://www.techlicious.com/tip/tips-for-taking-great-low-light-photos/%5D

2. Decorate your tree accordingly.
Back in the day, they didn’t have electric lights to string about their trees. They also didn’t have plastic figurines boasting #1 DAD hanging from their Christmas tree branches, either. For your party, put away the corny ornaments and go for a natural, simplistic look. Wooden or glass ornaments (or ones that look like them), ribbons, a string of popcorn, and pinecones are what you’ll want for this special night.
victorian tree

[Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/110549365824765571/%5D

3. Centrepieces and other décor.
I love stuffing hurricane vases, and you can absolutely do that for this party, but if you want to really replicate the period, perhaps consider filling a bowl or wicker basket with oranges. Oranges were very popular during this period to give out at Christmas. If you want to tone down the orange scent, consider making packets of ginger, cinnamon, and allspice to set amongst the oranges in order to fill the air with holiday scents.
orangeorange2

[Source: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjik7Lno9TJAhWRsoMKHZ7oBsMQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftopyaps.com%2Ftop-10-quick-centerpiece-ideas&psig=AFQjCNEZHnbnMslsYWwMebLWyg1dZGqxfQ&ust=1449939527581148%5D
[Source: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/christmas-holiday-centerpiece-you-can-make-in-15-minutes/%5D

4. Music.
I would recommend finding a friend who can play the piano (or, even better, the harpsichord), but if your friends lack skills you can always find a CD or iTunes station that plays classic, instrumental Christmas carols. You’ll want to stick with the classics—it’s doubtful that Scrooge would be caught jamming to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” To really get a feel for the times, consider gathering your guests in the living room after dinner for a round of caroling.
carolers

[Source: http://www.artline.vaxxine.com/brochures/greenwich/01october/hol01_morrissey.html%5D

5. Cutlery and dishware.
A Christmas Carol takes place in the Victorian period. If you can find Victorian-style cutlery and dishware, that’s great, but your best bet is finding cutlery with rounded handles, usually carved, and simple china dishes. A little gold embellishment wouldn’t hurt, either.
victorian table

[Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/14284923793921062/%5D

6. Food.
Turkeys were expensive back then, and if you relate more to Tim Cratchit than Ebenezer Scrooge, perhaps mixing things up a little by buying a Christmas goose. Try avoiding chocolate for desert and have a guest bring a fruitcake. Remember to give out oranges to the children, and roasting chestnuts or popcorn over the fire can be a fun and social activity.
christmas goose

[Source: http://christmasdinnerrestre.esy.es/goose-christmas-dinner/%5D

I hope these tips have given you all some inspiration for your A Christmas Carol themed party. I want to emphasize lighting and scent as the main aspects that will really transport you and your guests back in time. A few other holiday tips: put a cap of vanilla extract in the oven at 350 degrees F for a few minutes to make your house smell like baked goods; if you don’t have a real tree, consider buying a candle or spray that smells like pine; avoid using the television for entertainment—break out a pack of cards or play some charades to get the party going instead.

Feel free to share your own tips and suggestions in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

-Ember Book Reviews

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THE BUREAU OF HOLIDAY AFFAIRS by Andi Marquette

bureau

4 out of 5

Marquette takes the reader on a journey through a modern interpretation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a spunky, lesbian twist. Working towards being a CEO at Frost Enterprises, Robin, in her own words, has turned into a bit of an asshole in her climb up the corporate ladder. The Bureau of Holiday Affairs decides to pay her a visit, and Robin’s journeys into Christmas Past, Present, and Future—with a butch surfer girl, a drag queen, and none other than Mr. K. Rampus himself as guides for each—give her the chance to make things right. Her biggest opportunity presents itself in a meeting with her former lover Jill, and it is this very mature and well thought-out relationship that becomes central to the plot. With a badass and endearing narrative voice, and a surprising touch of relatability to the characters and storyline, the adventure that Marquette takes us on is exciting and full of holiday warmth. While the novel drags on a bit (I strongly believe that this should have been a novella), Marquette exudes writing savvy. The Bureau of Holiday Affairs will make you crave more of her work, and will perhaps leave a little less of the Scrooge in us all.

-Ember Book Reviews

[ARC provided by Netgalley and Book Enthusiast Promotions in exchange for an honest review.]

Check out this book on Goodreads.

 

Exciting Life News

Hello everybody!

I have NEVER done a post about my life, but as this is quite exciting (and scary!), I thought I’d share.

I have just applied to book publishing graduate programs at two colleges in Toronto. My hope is that I will one day get to work professionally as a book reviewer OR more generally in the publishing industry. With five years of university behind me, I’m eager to develop the hands-on skills needed for the real world.

Anyways, maybe one day I will be getting to do this as my career. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

All the best,

Victoria

Housekeeping

Hey everybody!

Over the coming weeks, there will be gradual changes made to the blog. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done a Tag Tuesday post lately–I’m thinking of bringing the frequency of those down to once per month.

In terms of book reviews, I will be shortening them. I am currently a reviewer for a university magazine and am going to follow more their guidelines for when I post, namely keeping to under 350 words. I’ve found this approach better, as it really forces me to evaluate what is critical to get across in a review. I may also omit synopses in future; I also may not. That is something that I’m still deciding.

Finally, the Book Love posts will continue as usual unless extenuating circumstances arise.

Please also be aware that I may not post at all around the holidays, as I want to dedicate that time to my friends and family. I will also be taking that time to read like mad, write reviews, and edit them properly so that 2016 starts off with a bang.

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated, especially what you like/don’t like about the blog, what you’d like to see more/less of, suggestions, etc.

Tune in on Monday for a review of The Bureau of Holiday Affairs by Andi Marquette!

Book Love: Holiday Gifts

As it is nearing the holiday season and many of you are probably panicking about what to buy your family and friends, here are some fabulous bookish gift ideas that are sure to please anyone you can think of. From the cheap and simple to the pricey but worth it, all of these items are thoughtfully made and wonderful to look at.

I’m going to start with the most expensive one first simply because when I saw it, I gasped it delight. Don’t tell me you didn’t do the same thing when you look below. (It’s a jewellery box!)
Shop: MyButterflySister
Price: $205.65 CAN
book box

I selected this item because I thought it was a really neat idea. The entire wreath is made of recycled books, and the colours make it the perfect home decoration year-round.
Shop: BookishCreation
Price: $47.98 CAN
book wreath

This gift would be for the legally-aged in your family or circle of friends, but I just think it’s so clever.
Shop: DrinkingBuddy
Price: $23.24 CAN
book drink

I couldn’t tell you what it smells like from the picture, but I think the whole design is simply gorgeous, don’t you? (Bonus: this candle is vegan.)
Shop: IntheWickofTime
Price: $20.56 CAN
outlander

This bracelet is lovely and quotes one of the best book series’ out there.
Shop: Scribbelicious
Price: $37.31 CAN
hp brace

These earrings are simplistic but would go with any outfit and are just perfect for your favourite bibliophile of any age.
Shop: JicsisJewellery
Price: $8.27 CAN
book ear

What were your favourites?