As you probably know Christmas traditions differ from country to country. We were stationed in Germany for many years and am very familiar with the European Christmas traditions. However, even though I lived in England as well, I had to do a great deal of research for my Christmas novel, Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince. The celebration had changed a lot in the past 200 years.
One of the Regency traditions I like best is a game called Snap Dragon. Naturally, I included it in the book.
Footmen started snuffing the candles, and a huge, shallow silver bowl filled with brandy and raisins was set on a round table that had been placed in the middle of the room. The purpose of the game was to pick out the raisins and not get burned as one ate them.
She placed her fingers in Hawksworth’s hand, and rose. “It is time for Snap Dragon.”
“That bowl is large enough to accommodate everyone.” He wasted no time in finding a place at the table. The Fotheringales were on one side of them and the Culpeppers on the other side. Across the table, Amanda wiggled her fingers at Meg, and mouthed, “I will tell you soon.”
Soon the only light in the long room came from the fireplaces at either end. Then the brandy was lit, creating an eerie blue blaze.
Meg gave a shiver of delight as she reached out and plucked a burning raisin from the bowl. Hawksworth got two of them, handing one to her. Then she did the same.
“You’re very good at this.” His voice was warm with praise.
“So are you.” Even though the fire burned off most of the alcohol in the brandy, the flavor was still strong.
Shrieks of laughter filled the room, as he leaned close to her. “A passionate game.”
Oooh, she was going to murder him right here. Not wanting anyone else listening, she kept her voice low. “We have already had this discussion.” Easing herself out of the circle, she murmured, “I need some air.”
Hawksworth caught up to Meg at the end of the long terrace. “What is it about passion you do not like?”
She closed her eyes and counted to ten before turning to face him. “What has passion to do with anything?”
He prowled slowly toward her. The torches reflected the fire lurking in his eyes, making him more dangerous than ever before. She took a step back toward the wall, and before she knew it her back had hit the cold stone.
“If you do not want love, you must at least have passion.” Bracing his hand on the wall next to her cheek, he leaned forward until his breath caressed her face. It was sweet with raisins and brandy.
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1ZQy5BF
I’ll give away a copy of Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince to one of you who leaves a comment telling me what you like best about Christmas.