T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing Passion

Advent Calendar: Day Nineteen

The Advent/Christmas wreath.



Wreaths can be seen in many different settings and contexts. During the season of Advent wreaths can be found on tables or the heads of maidens. These become the base for candles which are lit one by one on each Advent Sunday.


On St Lucy’s Day candle bearing wreaths form crowns on the heads of girls re-imagining the saint. Once the wreath is mounted on a door it becomes known as a Christmas wreath and comes in all variety of size or design.

Traditionally a wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs, moss or various materials that are woven together to resemble a ring. Wreaths have a good deal of history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength since evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Of course these days many Christmas wreaths are also made from artificial materials.


Advent Calendar: Day Eighteen

The Jolabokaflod.

In Iceland there exists a wonderful Christmas tradition, which which binds literary and holiday pleasures into a single marvelous event on Christmas Eve.

The majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas. Icelanders give books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spend the night reading, even taking the book to bed to continue the joy. This custom has become deeply embedded in the culture and the buying season is known as the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,”

At this time of year, most households receive an free annual catalogue of newly published books called the Bokatidindi. This is one free catalogue that everyone scrutinises while they choose which ones they want to buy.

The small Nordic island, with it’s population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world. Icelanders love to read and write and one in ten of them will publish a book.

The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift that you always pass on a physical book rather than an e-book since there is more value placed on physical, paper books than in many other countries. The global publishing industry runs on the pattern of a few people buying lots of books. In Iceland however the pattern is one of the majority of people buying several books each year.

For those of us who love books and reading, this sounds like a wonderful tradition that ought to be more widely known and embraced. Could there be any more peaceful way to relax after all the days of preparation than to curl up with a good book and a comforting drink while all around you are doing exactly the same.

Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen


In the story Dear Santa, Dear Dad, One of the scenes takes place in the village church on Christmas Eve. Steven goes along to carol service where he is amazed at how welcoming everyone is towards him and how much his son and the boy’s lover have been welcomed into the community. Part way through the evening he is amazed when his son’s lover gets up to sing an emotional solo performance of the much loved Christmas song O Holy Night. As one of my all time favourites it was an easy choice to include in the story.

Advent Calendar: Day Fourteen

Release Day: Dear Santa, Dear Dad

December 14th is the release day for my Christmas story. If it looks familiar then that is because I originally self published it back in 2013. My wonderful publishers Dreamspinner Press have kindly agreed to release this 2nd edition in time for the festive season this year.

Two days before Christmas, widower Steven drives to the North of England to meet his estranged son, Andy, hoping for a reconciliation. Steven rejected his son when, as a nineteen-year-old student, Andy came out to his parents. Andy now enjoys a happy and fulfilling relationship with Peter, who initiates contact with Steven by forwarding an almost childlike letter to Santa, in which Andy asks for a father who loves him.

Dear Santa,

I hope you’ve stayed fit and healthy since last year. Are all the reindeer looking forward to their long night out again? I’ve tried to be good all year, so I hope you don’t mind if I ask for just a few special things this Christmas.

First I would like my amazing man, Peter, to have everything he wants at Christmas and throughout the year. He deserves so much for being so kind and loving and for being the greatest thing that’s ever happened in my life.

Second I would love to have a black Labrador puppy to love and care for.

I know my last request is the hardest one of all, and I am sorry for asking, but I wish I had a dad who loved me.

Thank you for reading this, as always. Please say hello to all the elves for me!

Merry Christmas,


Andy isn’t quick to forgive his father, but the bad weather conspires to strand them all together over the holidays. Father and son experience a steep learning curve, not helped by Steven’s realization that his son’s lover is older than he is. But proximity and familiarity have a way of breaking down barriers, and if all three men can work together in the spirit of cooperation, this Christmas might be one that changes their lives forever.

  • Release Date: 
  • Type: Novellas
  • Words: 14,437
  • Pages: 48
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63477-062-0
  • File Formats: epub, mobi, pdf
  • Available now from DreamspinnerPress.

Advent Calendar: Day Thirteen

The Decorating Begins

I have never been one for decorating the tree or anything else until we are in sight of the big day itself. It is also a tradition in our house that I do the decorating either overnight or whilst Ian is at work so that I get to see his smiley face when he walks in to see everything done.
Today was that day. Starting with locating the tree, lighting it and then decorating it.


And that craft project that started with painting and glittering pine cones last week? With the addition of some dried orange slices and a set of battery operated lights, this was the outcome.

The smiles and hugs. The twinkling and shining. Christmas begins.

Advent Calendar: Day Twelve

I know we’ve already had a beautiful version of Carol of The Bells but I cannot resist posting this one from The Swedish Chef. Enjoy!

Ringing the Bells

Opslået af Swedish Chef på 23. december 2010