Thursday, December 6, 2018

It's That Time of Year

Actually, if you read Love Inspired or watch Hallmark, it's been that time of year... since October.

I actually caught myself looking for Peppermint Mocha before Halloween thanks to Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas.

But, as a sign outside a store reminded me today, we are in the final countdown now. 

We all know the common Christmas traditions - the decorated tree, lights! lights! and more lights!
Christmas carols, stockings hung by the fire, and so on.

Olaf says he's going door to door to find out different family traditions. 

Mary Alford and I thought it would be fun to talk about some of our own Love Inspired family-specific traditions so we asked a few of our author friends to share how their families celebrate.

Dana Mentink

Hands down, my fave tradition at Mentink Manor is the Christmas Eve pizza making! My two girls have the best time making their own individual pizzas from Dad’s homemade dough. The creations are left to rise when we are at church and then the baking begins! It’s been pizza and root beer and laughter on Christmas Eve here for twenty one years and I hope it never changes! Merry Christmas to all! 

Danica Favorite shared that her family members all wear matching PJs on Christmas Eve.

Keeping up with the PJ theme, Belle Calhoune shared this:
We have the Christmas tradition of buying the girls Christmas pajamas and giving them to them to wear on Christmas Eve. They really love it and get so excited about it. Even my oldest who is 22. It's really sweet seeing them wearing the Christmas PJs the next morning as they open their gifts.

For Katy Lee's family, Christmas is always a time of fun and games. For the past few years, the Lee family have been enjoying the Big Ball of Gifts game. Tons of goodies and even a few funny gag gifts are layers in strips of plastic wrap until a huge ball is formed. The family sits in a circle and passes the ball around. Each person gets 30 seconds to find the next strip and start unraveling it. Sometimes there is a gift and sometimes not. How many strips can they remove in their thirty seconds? Or do they use up their 3o seconds looking for the start of the next strip? It can be frustrating, but it's always loud and fun.

Dana Lynn:
There is a pregnancy center in my town to allow women a safe place to go during their pregnancies. Since my children were very young, we have taken them shopping and allowed them to pick out gifts for the babies. Clothing, diapers, toys, etc.

Michelle Karl shares:
Our family watches A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim every Christmas Eve (along with a specific selection of other Christmas movies/show episodes, watched in the same order, no exceptions!).

Mary Alford

My favorite Christmas tradition is not all that old, but it is very precious to my family just the same. In December 2012, my father-in-law passed away a little before Christmas. He wasn't much on decorating for the holiday, but that particular year he had a little Christmas tree sitting on his dining room table. Since that time, I've made it a point of putting up his Christmas tree in my dining room. This is this year's photo of the tree decorated with photo ornaments of his great-grandchildren. I think he would be proud.   

Cate Nolan

My family has had a variety of traditions over the years. Like Michelle, my girls have a queue of old favorite movies and TV episodes that they watch every year. We also have this Avon Advent calendar that was given to us by a neighbor the year my oldest was born (1987). The girls named the mouse Albert after a character in one of those movies. Albert has been hanging in our house every Christmas season for the past 31 years.

My girls and I started a new tradition this year. My husband always loved the look of single white candles in each window (his New England heritage), but we were never able to find ones that worked in our windows. Well, as most of you know, my husband passed away last May. I considered it symbolic that this year I found candles that had a base specifically designed for windows like ours. The girls and I decided we would each put those candles in the windows in our homes as a tribute to their father. I have to admit, it's a comforting glow.
It's hard to take a good picture of a candle!

So what special traditions does your family have? We'd love to hear from you.


  1. Cate, it's so wonderful to read about the different ways we celebrate Christmas with our families through the years. Thanks so much for putting this together.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I'm glad we got to do this together. It was a fun insight into other people's lives.

  2. Hi Cate! I so love your post. Thanks for allowing us to read about other Christmas traditions within our Love Inspired family. Christmas is such a blessed time of the year. How wonderful to honor your husband's tradition of keeping a single candle lit in the window. Growing up in Massachusetts my family always did this as well. Wishing you, and all of our LI authors a wonderful, blessed holiday season.

    1. Thanks, Belle. I have always loved that look. I think it goes especially well with a lot of the older New England houses.

  3. I love that Belle and I have the same PJ tradition. I tried to find pics, but they seem to be missing!

    1. YES!!!! Me too, Danica. It's a great tradition. My girls as they have gotten older give BIG hints about the pajamas they want.

    2. Belle and Danica, my mother did the same thing for us for a few years. I'm not sure why the tradition stopped, but I'm glad both of you continue it.

  4. Kate,
    I had that very calendar countdown back when I was a kindergarten teacher. The kids so loved moving the mouse. What a memory you've given me. Love the post today and the insights into our wonderful authors' lives.

    1. Oh, that's fun to know someone else remembers it too. I can just imagine the fun you had. When I taught 4th grade I had an Advent fable storybook I read that went on for 24 days telling all about a Little Bear's adventures as he waited for Christmas. The kids loved those stories and actually asked if we could read them again now that I have them in 6th grade.

  5. It was so much fun reading about your Christmas traditions. One of our more recent traditions is getting together at my mother-in-law's house a week or so before Christmas, having dinner, then decorating Christmas cookies. Mom has them all made up, with several colors of icing to choose from, and we get really creative. We "older" folks have as much fun with it as the younger ones.

    1. That sounds like a delicious tradition, Carol. Do many of the cookies accidentally get eaten or do the "older folks" have more restraint than that?


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