GUEST BLOG: A Happy Western Christmas by Tracy GarrettTuesday, December 17, 2013 9:00
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 midnight 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, pinecones, 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.
What about you? What traditions do you have that mean Christmas to you?
I’m giving away two copies of our Christmas Anthology, Wishing For a Cowboy, either electronic or paperback, to two of you who leave a comment today.