12 Days of Down Under Christmas



It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a Christmas fiend. This can partly be blamed on the fact that I was born on December 24th, and partly blamed on my love of sparkly things. I’m a bit of a magpie that way – oooh, shiny! As I’m typing up this blog post at my desk, I have tinsel draped around my computer monitor, a tree-topper star blu-tacked to the top of the monitor, a Santa doll thingy tacked to my desk (he’s a little creepy but he was my mum’s so he gets to stay), fake bells strung along the wall, a tiny Christmas tree on my bookshelf, and a Mr & Mrs Santa salt & pepper set (also my mum’s) next to it.

Being that I came up with the idea and organised this 12 Days of Down Under Christmas promotion, you’d think I’d have something really profound to write about in this blog. Or at least, some amazing recipe for the classic Down Under pavlova which is a staple part of Christmas lunches in both Australia and New Zealand. Hah! Those of you who know me, know I can’t cook my way out of a proverbial paper bag. The one thing I can do, however, is to decorate the heck out of a Christmas tree! While it may not be a real tree (and this year because we’re in the middle of house renovations we’ve put up a fake tree instead of the normal fresh pine), and it may not be showroom perfect (as Kip from Christmas With You would insist on), it’s still the centerpiece of the Alvarez Christmas traditions.

So instead of waxing lyrical about a Down Under Christmas, I thought I’d show you my 3 favourite tree ornaments.

The Elvis ornament – bought this year from our USA holiday. I can never resist picking up cute tree ornaments while on holiday! The reindeer ornament – I remember hanging this on Christmas trees as a little girl. Even though he’s a little bit tatty now, my sentimental side can’t bear to part with him.

The Santa ornament – made by my then pre-school daughter who is now 17. She’s still a rebel who colors outside of the lines and I couldn’t be more proud!

So, there you have it. My take on Christmas and why quite of my books have Christmassy themes. The first book I wrote that takes place over Christmas, but isn’t, per se, a Christmas romance, is Hide Your Heart. Set in the far north of New Zealand, Christmas there is traditionally HOT. Lots of sand, surf, and sunburn while you BBQ at the beach – or share a Hangi (traditional Maori earth oven way of cooking) with friends and family. You can read about Nate and Lauren’s semi-Christmas story for free at the below retailers, and I hope you enjoy the little excerpt of finding the perfect Christmas tree, also below.



Available FREE from:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon AU / Amazon DE / Amazon CA / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play / Smashwords 

Also available as an audiobook from:

Audible / Amazon / iTunes



And that’s how, thirty minutes later, he found himself following Drew and Lauren up an overgrown bush path at the back of Todd’s property, lugging the chainsaw and trying desperately to keep his gaze away from the woman’s curvy, denim-clad ass.

Java padded at his side, chuffing out a deep bark as Nate stumbled over a snarled root.

“A warning to watch my step or to keep my eyes to myself?” he muttered.

The dog plopped down to scratch his ear, his black eyes never leaving Nate’s face.

“Yeah, thought so.”

The path opened up ahead into a field that had been cleared for Kathy’s fruit trees and a smattering of head-high pruned pines. Sweet, tangy, Christmas scent wafted over him. Drew darted between pine trees, running from one to another.

“This one, no—this one, this one!” Drew hopped from foot to foot. “C’mon guys, hurry up!”

It struck him then, as Lauren’s laughter spilled into the breeze, that a real family would do this kind of thing. Hike out to a field together a few days before Christmas, the dad carrying the chainsaw, the dog peeing on every other clump of grass, the kid vibrating with excitement, and the mum so damn sexy in her blue jeans and Jingle-Bell-Rocker tee shirt that the dad thought all his Christmas wishes had been granted already.

Except Nate wasn’t the dad in this cozy family outing; he was just some guy. The neighbor.

So get it together, man. Because that’s how he wanted it. That’s how it had to be.

Lauren pointed at the chainsaw and tipped her chin at the tree Drew finally selected. “Knock yourself out.”

Her brown hair blew across her face, and she brushed the strands aside with a grin. “I figure a baby pine shouldn’t tax you too much.”

Handling the chainsaw was harder than it looked when the woman’s shapely behind and endlessly long legs kept distracting him. But he sawed through the tree trunk without evisceration, so bonus points for him.

The pine conquered, Drew and Java raced back along the path.

“Front or back?” Lauren said as he slipped the chainsaw guard on.

Like he’d let her carry the heaviest part of the tree while he took the spindly top. “Back.”

She shrugged. “I can carry the chainsaw then.”

Snorting out a laugh, he picked up the chainsaw and wrapped the fingers of his other hand around the tree trunk.

“Do I look like a ninety-pound weakling?”

Nate glanced up, and her cheeks were stained pink, almost as if she’d been staring at his ass as he’d bent over. Well, hell. Maybe she had been.

“Suit yourself.” She stalked over to the other end of the pine and tugged it up, shooting him an arched look over her shoulder.

He grinned, and her flush deepened. Being at the back would certainly afford him an entertaining view.

“Lead the way.”


From Hide Your Heart – Copyright 2015 Tracey Alvarez


Amazon / iBooks / Barnes & Noble

Amazon / iBooks / Barnes & Noble





I’m giving away a 2018 New Zealand Firefighters Calendar to one lucky winner (open internationally) plus an e-copy of the Due South Boxed set which contains the first 5 Stewart Island books. Three more runners up will each win an e-copy of the Due South Boxed set.

To enter: Tell me in the comments what your favorite tree decoration is. 🙂 


Then enter the rafflecopter below to go in the draw to win the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Don’t forget to visit all the participating authors!

Day 1 (December 1st) – Kris Pearson

Day 2 (December 2nd) – Joanne Dannon

Day 3 (December 3rd) – Cassandra O’Leary  

Day 4 (December 4th) – Annie Seaton

Day 5 (December 5th) – Monique McDonell

Day 6 (December 6th) – Kate O’Keeffe

Day 7 (December 7th) – Cathryn Hein

Day 8 (December 8th) – Tracey Alvarez

Day 9 (December 9th) – Leeanna Morgan

Day 10 (December 10th) – Wendy Vella

Day 11 (December 11th) – Charmaine Ross

Day 12 (December 12th) – Aislinn Kearns


Next up is Leeanna Morgan, check out her post here.

Comments (42)

  1. Sharon Blanco


    Thank you for the blog, you and I have a lot in common. Love Christmas, and have special ornaments I hang on my tree too many very old, here is one of my favorites given to me by a dear friend. oh well tried to copy picture to show you but not working. Its a little Christmas clown very cute, always makes me happy. My situation this year I will not be able to put up my tree. Merry Christmas to you and your family and to everyone!
    Sharon 🙂

  2. Lisa McNurlan


    I have an angel on my tree that was given to me when I was born… She’s starting to show her age (who doesn’t at 50+?), but always brings back happy memories

  3. Reply

    Trace – I love your tree and ornaments. Specially Elvis! Some of my ornaments are pretty old – the genuine old thin shattery ones, but I took great pleasure in digging them out yesterday and hanging them up.

    • Reply

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks for stopping by. We have a pretty angel that sits beside the tree on our mantelpiece as she just won’t stay on the top of the tree!
      Merry Christmas!

      Tracey A.

  4. Jane Nelson


    The Angel or Star are both favorites of mine. I think either one as the tree topper is beautiful.

  5. Marcia White


    My favorite ornament that goes near the top of our tree is a porcelain bisque angel Gabriel blowing a gold trumpet

    • Reply

      Hi Marcia,
      That sounds lovely, but I wouldn’t dare have a porcelain anything on my tree with two naughty cats around!
      Merry Christmas!

      Tracey A.

  6. Joye I


    My favorite is one my Grandmother crocheted. It is an angel and goes on the top of the tree. It still looks good after all these years.

  7. Leslie


    Over the years I have collected Le bien ornaments that have nativity scene. I started collecting them after visiting Assisi, Italy where the first nativity scene was. There were nativity scenes from all over the world in the grotto there. Each one similar but so unique

    • Reply

      Hi Leslie,
      They sound lovely! I’ve only got a little nativity scene of china figurines, one day I hope to collect a nicer set. 🙂

      Merry Christmas!

      Tracey A.

  8. Rose O’Toole


    My favorite ornaments are the ones my kids made decades ago. They gain more significance with each passing year. I get misty just thinking about them!

    • Reply

      Hi Joyce,
      I think there must be decoration stealing elves about as I too seem to have misplaced some ornaments over the years!
      Merry Christmas!

      Tracey A.

  9. Brenda Hahn


    My favorite is the Precious Moments angel tree topper that holds a scroll with our last name on it.

  10. Deborah Sisk


    My favorite ornament is a clothespin toy soldier made by my daughter in elementary school.

  11. Darlene Heaysman


    I have a few favourite ornaments. They were made by my 4 boys at the end of their first year of school. My boys are now in their 20s.

  12. Jean White


    My favorite Christmas ornaments now are the ones that my grandkids are making at school. I get all of them because they are Jewish. Their mom has finally stopped trying to fight the public school and lets the kids participate and those are my Christmas presents every year.

  13. Barb Deskin


    My favorite Christmas
    ornament is 1 of my parents. I lost both of them in 2007 (2 months apart) & it’s not the same w/o them. Christmas was their favorite holiday & this makes it feel like they’re still with me.

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