Guest Author: Theresa Romain & Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to be hosting Kensington debut author Theresa Romain.  Theresa’s Christmas-themed book, Season For Temptation, has been getting great reviews. I’m here to tell you that they’re very well deserved!  I’m going to turn the blog over to Theresa now, as she tells us about Christmas traditions during the Regency era.

It’s Not Over Till the Wassail Flows

It’s no surprise that life has changed a great deal since England’s Regency (1811-1820). For the most part, the differences between us and them are clear-cut:



Mad king? Not usually Yes
Indoor plumbing? Yes Not usually

But the social differences between our societies extend beyond lunacy and cleanliness. And this becomes very apparent during the Christmas season:



Christmas trees? Ubiquitous Fringe fad from Germans
Roasted animal eaten? Turkey or pig (or goose if very fancy) Goose (or peacock if very fancy)
Gifts given to children? Electronic and/or expensive Edible and/or cheap
Joygasm of celebration September 15-December 25 December 24-January 6

See that last line? That’s what we’re going to focus on. (Though if you want to learn more about roasted peacocks—and who doesn’t?—you can read it here.)

Regency England (1811-1820) didn’t heap a lot of trimmings onto Christmas Day itself. They put up greenery in their homes, but not until the day before Christmas. On Christmas Day, family members went to church together. Adults might exchange gifts, or they might not. They’d give a little something to children for a “Christmas box.” Probably the closest equivalent would be the way we use stockings now for those little extras.

That was that.

But then came the Twelve Days of Christmas, and that’s when the REAL fun started. Let’s travel through a few of those post-Christmas milestones:

Boxing Day (December 26)

Note to self: if leaving the house on Boxing Day in Regency England, bring along a purse full of coins. On Boxing Day, shoppers could plan on giving a tip (financial, not informational) to anyone who served them that day. Employers and landlords also gave gifts to their employees or tenants on this day—perhaps some food, or a small amount of money for Christmas boxes.

New Year’s Eve/Day (December 31/January 1)

New Year’s was sometimes celebrated with fireworks—yes, even two hundred years ago! Regency fireworks had a beautiful range of colors. Other traditions included bonfires, the placement of good-luck charms outside the house (such as a silver coin, to bring in prosperity), and the concept of “first footing.”

The “first-foot,” or “qualtagh” (you’ll be using that word all the time now), is the first person to enter a house upon the new year. A tall, dark-haired man was considered to be the luckiest sort of qualtagh. But then again, when is it not nice to have one of those around?

Twelfth Night (January 5)

The Christmas fun culminated on Twelfth Night, which historically was celebrated on January 5, the day before Epiphany. (Today, Twelfth Night and Epiphany are sometimes considered interchangeable. It just depends on when you start counting off those twelve days.)

Twelfth Night was much more riotous than the celebrations of Christmas Day. It featured masquerades, at which guests might choose their own costumes or be assigned a character. There was wassail aplenty—a hot punch featuring ale, apples, spices, and eggs (yes, eggs) (really)—and amidst all these costumes and adult beverages, everyone took down the Christmas decorations.

In my historical romance debut, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, my heroine, Julia, experiences the Christmas season in London for the first time. Christmas day itself is not all that heartwarming, as she has to deal with unrequited love (oops) and evil sort-of-in-laws (argh).


Twelfth Night is a new beginning, as she decides to let her hair down—or pin it up under a garish turban, as the case may be. But the best gifts come late, and most unexpectedly. A wassail-like beverage may or may not be involved.

What do you all have going on for the 12 Days of Christmas? Who will be your qualtagh? Share something fun about your post-Christmas plans, and be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION!

Theresa Romain holds degrees in psychology, English literature, and history, an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on.  Her historical romance debut, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, was published in October 2011. She is currently at work on the sequel, SEASON FOR SURRENDER, which will be published in October 2012.

Theresa lives with her family in the Midwest and lives online at You can also find her on Facebook,  Twitter, and Goodreads.



Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged—to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact…


As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride… Until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous—and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch—and a twist of fate—will solve…

Vanessa, here.  Doesn’t that sound like a great story?  Be sure to check out Theresa’s website for all the details and buy links.  And be sure to answer her question if you want the chance to win Season For Temptation for yourself!

55 thoughts on “Guest Author: Theresa Romain & Giveaway!”

  1. Post Christmas plans will probably be on hitting the gym with a vengeance to burn off all those extra calories I consumed over Christmas.

    Can I keep the door shut until a tall dark handsome guy comes by?

  2. Hi Theresa & Vanessa!:)
    Well, I’m in Mexico so I’m afraid we do things a bit differently plus I’m half italian also on my father’s side so it’s all a bit of a mix! We’re a very unique family! LOL 🙂
    We obviously celebrate christmas with lots of food (tamales & pasta included) with turkey!:P
    Then we celebrate new year’s eve with lot of food also and lots of superstitions!
    And on January 6th we celebrate with the stockings stuffed, usually with candy and chocolate! I spend all of this time with the family, of course, which is big and loud enough! Thank you very much! LOL 😛
    Thanks Theresa for the post! Happy Holidays!:*

  3. Hi Vanessa congrats for your nomination and Theresa congrats for your debut:). My post Christmas is very hillarious. I got a cooler as my Christmas gift however only after half an hour the cooler already got trouble. I have to go to my friend’s house and ask him rfe receipt of the cooler n then return it to the mall. After that I bought a new fan. Next, I am a late shopper n after going around the mall for the 5th time I finally found the toys my nieces and nephew want. The last but not the least my oven decided to stop working right when I bake my pastel fortunately my sister’ husband can call the technician to repair it in time before Xmas . This Xmas my days been very busy. Happy late Xmas to you Vanessa n Theresa

  4. Well since I was born during the 12 Days of Christmas we always have a little something special going on. And since my daughter was born on New Year’s Day (the day before my own bday), there is usually something then also. When she was growing up every year she’d have a slumber party on New Year’s Eve, so we stayed in. And every year she had the same girls over. It’s been about 10 years since there has been a sleepover here and if I could ask for any one thing for Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday it would be to wake up on New Year’s Morning with all the girls spread out on my living room floor one more time.

  5. Well this year, I’m moving. We closed on our house today. Joy joy! We were suppose to close last week and be moved in before Christmas, but things got behind due to rain. We learned though that it’s not where you are that’s important, but who you’re with. We still had a wonderful Christmas. And yes you can fit 25 people in a one bedroom apartment for a Christmas dinner. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. My eldest brother’s birthday is January 6th so we would always leave up our Christmas decorations until his birthday, when we would have a festive party for him (and the rest of us).

    Season for Temptation sounds good!


  7. Hi Theresa and Vanessa,

    “A tall, dark-haired man was considered to be the luckiest sort of qualtagh.” I wonder why that was considered lucky?

    We don’t have a lot of plans, except New Years Eve with the half of my husbands family, that we don’t see at Christmas. Mostly just recovering from the holidays, maybe doing a puzzle and some reading.

    Hope you both have a both have a Happy New Years.


  8. Hi Teresa
    Hi Teresa and Vanessa, I hope you both had a great holiday!

    We live in New England which is known for it’s cold, snowy winters so the wood is stacked by the chimney and the quilts are on our chairs, the fireplace has been swept out,chimney cleaned and books have been collected with thought and care.

  9. It sounds like my family would fit right in for a Regency Christmas as we tend to leave things last minute, such as putting up the tree. There may not be a lot of fanfare but the meaning of the holidays is very much present. It’s a time for family. Now that the holiday madness have passed, we’re simply relaxing the days away. For me, reading is a leisure I cannot wait to get back to. With the holidays it’s hard to read but the upside is that I’m busy having fun.

  10. We decided to take it easy this yr. NO big dinner parties at any one’s house…. We are having it at a restaurant… So that saves up a lot of our time and no cleaning and cooking… So probably no tall, dark and handsome qualtagh this time… But hey, there’s always next yr! 🙂 And as you said, we can ALL use one of those around…

  11. I don’t have much going on for the 12 days of Christmas, I’m just excited to read some of the great books I got, so that will keep me busy. My qualtagh will most likely be my son, since he’s tall, dark haired and the only man entering the house lately. 😀

  12. Hi Theresa and Vanessa!

    Great guest post, loads of interesting facts. Thank you for sharing with us today!

    We really haven’t any special plans. I just bake loads of yummy’s to share with friends who stop by. Maybe that’s why our house is always full! LOL!! I need to hand out bad sweets….just kidding, I really love to bake and make our friends happy.

    We do try and catch-up on our DVD viewing, especially seeing that we have some new ones from Santa. Also at the top of my list of ‘must’s’ is reading. I have a stack of TBR’s that I’d really must start,I’d like some quiet time for myself.

    Have a wonderful evening ladies!

    P.S. ~ Please do not enter my name in give-away, already have book!
    It’s near the top of my TBR!! 😀

  13. Maybe my ‘first foot’ will be the UPS guy delivering belated Christmas…. we’re prett quiet during the ’12 days’ and usually have already gone back to work .

  14. Hm, my boyfriend is tall and dark-haired although he was blond when he was young. Does that count? Or should I invite the UPS guy to step over the threshold?


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