Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Traditions

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.

2 quarts of molasses
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!


  1. We lived in Germany for three years and love Lebkuchen. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Louise!

  2. I'm admitting that I've never heard of Lebkuchen. Are they sort of like fruitcake cookies?

  3. Debby,
    Although my family didn't come from Germany, the tradition is that a German friend gave the recipe to my grandmother. So these "love cookies" have spread across the world.

    Yes, they're a little like fruitcake but not as heavy, and they're oh so delicious!

  4. I love lebkuchen! My mom's recipe doesn't have the fruit in them, though. She makes them weeks ahead and puts them in tins with slices of apple to soften them up. So yummy.

    What a sweet tradition with the holiday ornaments. It must be such a delight to go through the pictures each year.

    Congratulations on your new tradition!!!

  5. Thanks, Christine. I'm thinking if I don't get a contract for a Christmas 2018, I may just have to write an indie novella. LOL!

    Yes, we also set aside the cookies with apple slices to age. I left that part out!

    The holiday ornaments truly do give us a nice walk down memory lane.

  6. I'm thinking someday we'll all have to meet at an RWA conference so the rest of us can sample Lebkutchen. Looking forward to it :)

  7. Oh, those look delicious!! I would love to gobble one up! Thanks for sharing, Louise!


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