New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase loves the holiday season, but knows that the days pass so quickly she’s liable to miss out on some things. It’s a good thing her annual traditions help her take a pause and truly enjoy the season with her loved ones. And maybe this year, you’ll add reading her saucy, laugh-out-loud funny e-novella, It’s A Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol, to your traditions!

We’ve all heard the expression time flies when you’re having fun – but these days it feels like time just flies. This is especially true during the holidays. There are decorations to hang, family gatherings to plan, presents to buy and wrap – books to write – so very much to do! If we’re not careful, it’s easy to miss the beauty and meaning of the holiday season. The glow of twinkling lights, the flawless luster of the first snowfall, the joy of seeing our loved ones, the magic of our children’s excitement, the goodwill for our neighbors, and the fresh, invigorating hope of a brand new year.

It’s our traditions that help ground us, that give us pause to look around and see, feel and remember. Because traditions aren’t just things we do – they’re a part of who we are, who we will be.

Growing up, after my pajama-wearing siblings and I opened all of our presents at home (usually while it was still dark), we got dressed in our holiday best and went to my grandmother’s house. There, there were more presents – and cousins, aunts, uncles – then later, Christmas dinner. It was the only time the table was set with the “good china.” And every year, in the center of the table were two long, white candlesticks – the very same candlesticks that sit in my china cabinet today. I bring them out on Christmas day and light them only briefly, because I want them to last forever. I can’t tell you if they’re vanilla or linen scented – because to me, they just smell like Christmas – like my Grandma’s house.

Some traditions we don’t even recognize as traditions when they’re happening. My mother used to buy my brother, sister and I new pajamas every year and give them to us on Christmas Eve. She always wrapped them and we were always excited to open that one, Christmas Eve gift – even though we already knew what was inside. And now, I buy my own children new pajamas every year – and every year they’re opened on Christmas Eve. When I wrap them, I always – always – think of my mom. She bought them for us, because her mother had bought them for her – and given them to her the same way, every year. And that’s how traditions – wonderful, precious traditions – are made.

Wishing you all winter days of happy reading, and the happiest of holidays with family and friends, warm traditions and sweet memories to be made!