It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: We Three Kings

Posted December 4, 2023 by meezcarrie in Angela Ruth Strong, Author Interview, Cara Putman, Christian, Christmas, contemporary, Crystal Caudill, giveaway, historical, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) 2023, romance / 75 Comments


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Reads 2023

today’s 2nd book: We Three Kings

We are continuing this year’s blog series spotlighting (over 70 this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! This is the 7th year for the Christmas Reads Giveaway series, and I think I get more excited about it every year 🙂 Christmas is only 21 days away, according to Google! So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage (wassail anyone?) and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! And no doubt you know the drill by now – there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)

We Three Kings romance collectionWE THREE KINGS: A Romance Christmas Collection by Crystal Caudill, Cara Putman & Angela Ruth Strong
GENRE: Historical & Contemporary Romance Collection (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Kregel Publications

RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2023
PAGES: 374

In this Christmas collection, Weise men still seek Jesus–and love

Best-selling romance authors Caudill, Putman, and Strong follow three generations of the Weise family in this third collection of Christmas novellas from Kregel that will prove just as popular as the previous award-winning volumes.

“Star of Wonder” by Crystal Caudill

The Christmas-themed maiden voyage of his family’s grand steamer ship was supposed to be Aldrich Weise’s chance both to instill investor confidence and to romance Celestia Isaacs. Instead, he must foil a criminal and leave his lady love behind forever.

“Beauty Bright” by Cara Putman

Lieutenant Charles Weise served as a Monuments Man after World War II and now works to restore stolen art to rightful owners. Captain Lillian Thorsen pairs up with him not only to return treasures but also to fix the war-torn lives around them.

“Perfect Light” by Angela Ruth Strong

Essential oils mogul Brendon Wise is drawn to Lacey Foster, the event planner for his huge Christmas lights festival. But when he inadvertently makes a spectacle of her on television, Lacey wants nothing to do with him. Will a chance to give gifts to those in need at Christmas be the key to discovering common ground–and maybe love?

 

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german christmas traditions

by Crystal Caudill, co-author of We Three Kings

One of my favorite things about working in the We Three Kings collection, aside from working with the amazing Cara Putman and Angela Ruth Strong, was diving deep into German Christmas traditions. I’ve never traveled to Europe, which made my research an opportunity to “travel” for Christmas via our fictional world. So today, I invite you to join me as we revisit some of those traditions as well as my visit to a local version of a Christkindlmarkt.

In “Star of Wonder,” I touched on four German Christmas traditions, starting with Nikolaustag, or what most people refer to as St. Nick’s day. Don’t confuse St. Nikolaus with Santa though. St. Nikolaus is the bishop and patron saint of seafarers and children.  On the night of Nikolaustag, children leave shoes outside their door for Saint Nikolaus in hopes of him depositing a sweet treat in reward for their good behavior. However, there is a sinister side to Nikolaustag. Children who were bad could be given a switch or taken away in a sack by St. Nikolaus’s sinister assistant. The assistant has many names depending on the region, but the most famous ones are Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht.

Another tradition I featured was the Christmas tree, as well as bringing in the song O’ Tannenbaum. Did you know that Germany has placed Christmas trees in their squares and homes since the mid-15th century? It became popular world-wide as royal Germans brought the Christmas tree to Paris, England, and other European countries. However, it was the emigrants from Germany who brought the tradition to America. I used a goose-feather tree on the ship as those were the type of artificial trees available at the time. Trees were lit with candles, which made keeping buckets of water around imperative for safety, and decorated with glass bulbs and ornaments. So if you enjoy the Home Alone scene where Marv steps on a bunch of broken bulbs, you have the Germans to thank for that innovation.

In addition to candles and glass ornaments, the trees could also be decorated with paper stars called Froebel stars. These weren’t flat, cutouts but 3-d origami stars with lots of points on them. According to tradition, these paper stars were first used by Friedrich Froebel. Froebel was a German educator who founded the Kinder Garten (kindergarten) and encouraged paper folding activities with children to introduce them to mathematical concepts and shapes. This star had a lot of steps to it, which made Aldrich’s teaching Celestia even more fun as the room for error is substantial. If you want to make your own Froebel star, there are tons of tutorials out there, but I recommend this video from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzdUocOByfw.

The final, most fun thing to research was the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt—the name depends on which part of Germany you are in. These open-air Christmas markets have been around since the Middle Ages and signal the beginning of the Advent season. Traditionally, the stalls are made from timber and everything sold must be locally produced and homemade.

Thankfully, I live in a heavily German area, and I was able to attend the Germania Christkindlmarkt. While far from the experience of a true German Christkindlmarkt, it did allow me to have a flavor of what Celestia and Aldrich experienced.

There were no wooden huts with twinkling lights, but dozens of festive stands gathered underneath a large pavilion strung up with lights and snowflakes. Traditional music played over a speaker in between the times of live performances. The items sold were a mixture of locally crafted and imported from Germany. Think: hand-painted and hand-blown glass ornaments, wood carved ornaments, Advent calendars, nutcrackers, smoking men, wooden toys, German linens, steins, and cuckoo clocks.

Of course, you can’t attend a Christkindlmarkt without sampling some of the traditional German foods. Here you can see miniature potato pancakes and a wienerschnitzel sandwich that I snagged for lunch. Then there was the obligatory sampling of all the desserts from strudels and cookies to roasted nuts and the irresistible Bavarian pretzel. I did not dive into sampling the variety of sausage würsts as they were sold out by the time we made it to the food stand. However, I’ve had plenty of würsts since moving to the Cincinnati area and didn’t feel it as a great loss.

One thing I went into the market determined to try was the traditional hot mulled wine called Glühwein. I’d read so much about it and heard rave reviews. I found it to be . . . interesting. With a red wine base and an robust mix of spices, it was something I managed to get down but probably will never drink again unless I actually make it to Germany. I have a feeling there are many variations, but that particular one was a bit strong for my taste.

Visiting the small local market was a fun experience, but it was a mere shadow of the traditional markets in Germany that I researched. Now I long more than ever to make it to Germany in the advent season and truly enjoy the full experience just as Celestia did. Besides, I’m dying to find a Quetschemännchen. These little figurines made from dried fruit and walnuts were given by a suitor to his sweetheart to show his affection. If the woman kept it, her heart was his. If not, he’d not yet secured her love. Celestia saw one at the Weihnachtsmarkt she attended. Alas, my trip to the local Christkindlmarkt did not provide me with such an opportunity, but one day . . .

Until then, I’ll just have to experience the traditions of a German Christmas through the We Three Kings collection.

As you travel with Reading is My Superpower through the “Christmas Reads Giveaway.” I pray you get all the Christmas feels and remember that this season exists because God loves you personally and unconditionally. What a gift we have in His Son, the purest and best example of love that we have.

Merry Christmas, y’all!


Crystal Caudill

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at crystalcaudill.com.

  Angela Ruth Strong


We Three Kings giveaway

Crystal Caudill is offering a print copy of We Three Kings to one of my readers! (US only for book. If book is already owned, author will substitute a Baker Book House gift card for US winner, Amazon for international. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read We Three Kings by Crystal Caudill, Cara Putman & Angela Ruth Strong?

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75 responses to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: We Three Kings

  1. Jan Gustafson

    I love that it includes German customs and traditions! My maiden name is German – so it’s part of my background. Excited to read this!

  2. Perrianne Askew

    I am familiar with Cara Putman and have had the opportunity to read a few of her books and she writes a fabulous Christmas novella. I am familiar Crystal Caudill and Angela Ruth String but haven’t had a chance to read any of their books. What better way to get some fabulous novellas to get a feel for their writing!

  3. Lori Smanski

    I have always been fascinated with the three kings and why they traveled so far to see baby Jesus. As I got older I understood more, but it was always there in the back of my head about why they would do this and why things changed on the way.

    • It definitely has been incredibly fascinating to think about. I’m reading Angela Hunt’s Star of Wonder advent devotional, and there is an entry early on called the Eastern Kingdom that does an amazing job of shedding light on it. I highly recommend picking up a copy from the library or a story.

  4. Roxanne C.

    This will an awesome Christmas collection to read, especially with the variety of stories by such great authors.

  5. Julie M

    Just found the site and LOVE Christmas books! Excited to read the stories about my German heritage as well.

  6. Carolyn Pretorius

    I love reading novella sets, good quality reads but can be read quickly when busy. Great way to find new authors as well. I’m really enjoying it.

  7. Joy

    I’ve wanted to visit Germany for the longest time (my dad, brother, and sister all spent time there courtesy of the military – at different times). Sounds like I’ll get a good taste of Germany through this!

  8. Alison Boss

    I LOVE reading Christmas stories, and this collection of novellas sounds wonderful! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “We Three Kings”!!

  9. Caitlyn Santi

    I love Christmas stories! I love Angela Ruth Strong and Cara Putman’s writing, and I’m super excited to read my first Crystal Caudill story!

  10. Jessica

    I love Christmas stories, and having previously read books by these authors, I know this collection will be a great set of stories.

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