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Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Traditions


All right, everyone who hasn't even started their Christmas shopping, raise your hands! That's me, waving a bit frantically. Granted, now that the nieces and nephews are a bit older, there isn't as much to do. Still, there are the five great-nephews and one soon-to-arrive great-niece that keep me looking at catalogs and scoping out toy sections.

Every Christmas is different--but every one is the same. For me, Christmas is memories of church services with a hundred voices singing Silent Night by candlelight; playing the flute with my mother at the organ; and champagne at home afterward, celebrating the joy of Christmas.

As I write stories like Her Christmas Wish, I think about how our ancestors celebrated Christmas. Alone on a patch of ground, with work that must be done, did Christmas become just another day? How did the mother of five add all the holiday baking and decorating and making gifts to her already too-busy schedule?

Pioneers and soldiers in remote forts decorated their homes with what was at hand: evergreens, pine cones, holly, nuts and berries, popcorn or paper strings, and homemade decorations like dolls made of straw or yarn; cookie dough ornaments and gingerbread men. Women would start their holiday baking weeks ahead of time. Gifts were homemade, things like sachets from the roses, carved wooden toys, embroidered handkerchiefs, and knitted hats, scarves and socks.

In Her Christmas Wish, my heroine, Katie, kept her family traditions alive by making the special foods of her childhood. Here's an excerpt:

Her Christmas Wish
Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind.

   “Hang on a minute. Got a package for you. From Chicago.” 
   “From home?” 
   “Not sure. I only know it’s heavy.” 
   A smile curved her lips, making Will wish he had the right to steal another kiss and taste her joy. It had been too long since he’d felt any himself. “My sister, Brenna, often sends a few special ingredients at this time of year. She considers it a terrible sin for me to not be able to make our traditional foods for Christmas.” 
   Will’s mouth watered at the thought of the rich fruit breads and cakes that always graced the table on Christmas morning. “Treacle and almonds?”
   “More likely currants and whiskey,” she laughed. 

What about you? What traditions do you have that mean Christmas to you?


  1. Tracy,

    My daughter is the one who has continued with many of the Christmas traditions from my childhood that I passed to my three children (and now the six grandchildren).

    Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner (lunch) were always with my dad's family. Christmas morning was always at home with my parents and brother and my maternal grandpa. My mom always made pies and candy.

  2. We used to have family traditions when my parents were alive. My sister and I tried to continue some of them, but she did a lot of travel nursing and chose to mostly take holiday assignments that lasted 3-6 months at a time,so many of the things we used to do evaporated over time.

    I don't mind celebrating the holidays with my dog. I'm used to it now. I eat all my favorite things like strawberry ice cream, hot chocolate, and veggies with melted cheese in pita wraps, and I watch Christmas movies on TV. There is no stress involved and my dog gets presents and treats.

    I wish you a very merry Christmas Tracy!