Louise M. Gouge here, wanting to talk about Christmas, my favorite holiday. I love it even more than my own birthday. It’s such a lovely season, a nice slow buildup to a wonderful finale on Christmas day. Our family has many traditions surrounding this holy day. Of course there’s the requisite cookie baking, which I’ve turned over to my daughter and granddaughter. Every few years we make my grandmother’s Lebkuchen. It's quite an undertaking, so that's why we don't make it every year.
1/2 to 3/4 lb. of citron or mixed candied fruits
1 1/2 lb. shortening
1 quart to 3 pints chopped nuts (mixed, pine or walnut)
1 ounce nutmeg
1/2 cup cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soda
2 cups sour milk (or cultured buttermilk)
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 oz. Lemon extract
1 box raisins
10 lbs. of flour (pre-sifted is good)
Make dough up stiff at night. Next morning, divide into batches. Roll as thin as possible. Cut into squares. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Long ripening improves the flavor of these cookies. If desired, an icing of confectioner’s sugar and water may be spread thinly over cookies.
Another tradition is our Hallmark picture ornament. In July, I hurry to my Hallmark store as soon as these lovely ornaments are released and buy enough for everyone. On Christmas Day, we take our picture in front of the tree, print them out, and slide them into the ornament. We have quite a collection of these!
We numerous other traditions, including Secret Santa, a collection of Nativity scenes, and the Advent Calendar, but I’ll leave you with this:
If performing an activity three times makes a tradition, I’m adding one more to my list for Christmas. During the 2014 Christmas season, I wrote a novella, Yuletide Reunion, which was released in October 2105. Then this time last year, I was beginning to work on Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe, my brand new December 2016 release from Love Inspired Historical. I mean, what can be more fun than writing about Christmas during this season? It sure put me in the mood to create great romance, drama, and excitement for my characters. So when I was asked to write another seasonal story for next Christmas, I jumped at the chance. I’m currently working on Cowboy Lawman (working title) scheduled for next Christmas, probably December. So this may turn out to be a new tradition for me! I couldn’t be happier! Here’s the story of Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe:
Deputy Grace Eberly can outshoot and outride most men in Esperanza, Colorado…but lassoing a husband is an impossible task. At least she has her good friend Reverend Micah Thomas to keep her company. When outlaws threaten their community, the two join forces to stop them, and Grace’s feelings for the reverend deepen. But she’s sure he’d never love a too-tall cowgirl in trousers and boots. Micah believes that it’s time to find himself a wife—someone sweet and ladylike who can help him better serve the town. So why do none of the elegant young women of his acquaintance stir his heart like the feisty tomboy deputy? As they work to bring peace to the community, will Grace and Micah finally see that they make the perfect team?
May God bless you this Christmas with many happy times and many happy memories to carry into the new year!