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Guest Post - Alison May - The Secret To Christmas Shopping

Today I welcome Alison May, author of Midsummer Dreams and Sweet Nothing. Alison tells us a little about her festive book; Christmas Kisses, and shares her secrets for how to do Christmas Shopping the right way.

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Having written three Christmas novellas you’d think I’d have written every possible Christmas related scene by now, and, to be fair, I’ve done a good few of them. I’ve written turkey dinners with all the family. I’ve written a Christmas wedding, and Santa’s Grotto. I’ve written a heroine desperate to get away for Christmas and a hero equally desperate to get home.

But one thing I realise I’ve not written very much about is Christmas shopping, which is a shame, because Christmas shopping is an area where I have views. There is, without question, a correct way to approach it, and, equally without question, all three heroines in the Christmas Kisses stories would do it wrong. Holly, from book one, would be someone who hates Christmas shopping. She would complain about the queues and the expense and the consumerism of the whole thing. Intellectually she would be making a lot of good points, but still she would be Entirely Wrong.

Cora, from Cora’s Christmas Kiss¸ would be someone who is used to just throwing money at the problem of Christmas shopping. Her usual gifts would be stylish, elegant, beautiful and probably selected by a high-end personal shopper on her behalf.

Jessica, the star of the third book, would be a little ball of Christmas shopping stress. She’d hate the thought of not getting the right thing and would work herself up into a great anxiety over the whole present-buying process. And, like the other two, she would also be Very Very Wrong.

To Christmas shop correctly you need the following things:

  • Time
  • Excellent administrative procedures; and
  • A partner-in-crime.

With these three things Christmas shopping ceases to be a source of seasonal stress and becomes one of the highlights of the festive season. The first key requirement is downtime in the schedule. If you have two hours after work to buy presents for everyone you’ve ever met, then you’re going to end up stressed. It needs time, and that time needs to include cake stops, and, if possible, a half-day spa session. Instantly shopping becomes a leisure activity rather than a chore.

The second requirement is good admin. Lists are your friend. Lists of everyone you have to buy for. Lists of things they might like. I don’t mind if you’re a notebook person or a spreadsheet aficionado, but good administration is your Christmas shopping ally. It’s saved me from falling into a retail frenzy and buying more than one present for the same person on at least one occasion.

And finally, you need a shopping buddy – someone to keep the mood up when you’re starting to flag. I can heartily recommend my sister for the role, but unfortunately for all of you, she’s booked for Christmas shopping duties so you’ll need to make your own friend. It’s worth it – if you make a good one, you’ll get use out of them all year around.

So there you go – Christmas shopping – I didn’t put it in any of the Christmas Kisses books, because those heroines would just have done it wrong. Fortunately they do lots of other things right, so if you’re looking for something to read during that Christmas shopping spa session you’ve just booked, then why not check out Christmas Kisses for yourself?

About Alison May

Alison is a novelist, short story writer, blogger and creative writing tutor who grew up in North Yorkshire, and now lives in Worcester. She worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a
learning adviser, an advice centre manager, a freelance trainer, and now a maker-upper of stories.

She won the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge trophy in 2012, and her short stories have been published by Harlequin, Choc Lit and Black Pear Press. Her romantic comedies, Sweet Nothing, Midsummer Dreams, and the Christmas Kisses series are published by Choc Lit. Alison has been shortlisted in the Love Stories and RoNA Awards. She also runs novel-writing half-day, one-day and weekend courses.

You can find out more about Alison at, on facebook at, or by following her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay

About Christmas Kisses

Three girls, three kisses, three gorgeous Christmas stories.

Holly hates Christmas with a passion and can't wait to escape it - but then the flight to her once-in-a-lifetime holiday destination is cancelled.

Cora has had the year from hell, and faces a bleak Christmas working in Golding's department store - in the most unflattering reindeer costume imaginable.

Jessica is in denial after her husband's betrayal, and can't help but think back to when her life still seemed so full of hope and promise ...Three years from hell, three sets of broken dreams, three girls in desperate need of Christmas spirit.

Is the perfect Christmas kiss all it takes?

Includes Holly's Christmas Kiss, Cora's Christmas Kiss and Jessica's Christmas Kiss


  1. Love your Christmas shopping tips, Alison. Sadly time for a spa afternoon is out of the question, but coffee and cake sounds good. Or, I find that the promise of a cheeky glass of mulled wine at the finish line stops me dithering and aids focused purchasing!

    1. Thanks for your comments Rae. I think mulled wine at the end sounds like fantastic motivation!

  2. I like to make lists too. Sister shopping ends up with drinks or cake waylaying us. Fun though!

    1. Thanks for your comments Chrissie. I love making lists - trouble is I always seem to leave them somewhere impractical (usually on my desk at work).


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