Sharon Kendrick, author of The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest, tells us what she loves about Christmas…
“I adore Christmas. The crackle of flames from a log fire. The scent of pine from the glittering tree. That melting taste as you bite into your first warm mince-pie – and the heartbreakingly haunting sound of carols filling the air.
Doesn’t matter if you’re in the snowy countryside or a city buzzing with seasonal parties – the thing about Christmas which makes it different from any other time of the year is the idea that something magical is in the air…that anything is possible.
So here are my five places where the magical content is especially high:
1. I recently spent an amazing winter holiday in a small cottage in Derbyshire in England. It’s a wild and beautiful place and when the snow started falling, an incredible sense of peace and stillness filled the air. It gave me the idea for the book I have just written The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest. It’s about a man who has everything and nothing, all at the same time – but it takes Christmas to show him just what he’s missing.
2. Paris has got to be high on anyone’s list for this time of year. The trees along the Champs Elysees are decked out with bright lights, the shops are bursting with stuff you’ll probably never be able to afford – and there’s that certain sense of je ne sais quoi in the air which always makes France seem so very romantic.
3. Could any list ever be complete without the addition of New York? The undisputed Christmas capital of the world has it all. Guaranteed snow, plenty of sentiment, high-octane energy and… ice-skating Even if (like me) you’re as wobbly as a new-born foal – you can go and watch people gliding around on the rink outside the Rockefeller Centre. Afterwards you can go and sip hot chocolate and feel as if you’re on a film set, because the famous streets seem so familiar.
4. I once spent a Christmas in Australia and have subsequently always had a great affection for spending the holiday in the Southern hemisphere. I was actually working as a nurse on the big day itself and it was baking hot outside. After I finished work, some friends and I drove down to a golden beach where we ate cold turkey and chilled grapes, then ran splashing and laughing into the most beautiful sea I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t traditional, but it was certainly magical.
5. You know what comes last, don’t you? The one place where you’re sure to have the Christmas you’ve always dreamed of – because it’s all in your hands. Yes, I’m talking about home. It could be a palace, it could be a shack. It could be with twenty people or maybe with none at all. It’s about being where you’re comfortable and doing whatever makes you feel that way.
So wherever you may be and whatever you’re doing, I raise my glass to you all to say – have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and peaceful New Year.”