I’ve always been one to savor the moment we’re in. In October, I want to enjoy the fall colors and smells. In November, I start imagining Thanksgiving and all of the wonderful foods my family will enjoy at a table together. And on and on for each holiday, each month, each season.
But this year, I find myself looking ahead to Christmas a little earlier than I normally do. I suspect some of that is my mind trying to make sense of this crazy year, and my heart worrying about how beloved traditions might be impacted as a result. Some of my early Christmas thoughts might also be due to our upcoming release for Amish Christmas Miracles. Writing my story for the collection had me thinking about the holiday season back when temperatures were still in the nineties during the day.
In my appropriately titled story, The Christmas Program, Leah Miller (my main character) is busy getting her new classroom ready for the annual tradition. She’s hanging homemade decorations, planning what treats to bring, and helping her students prepare for the poems and skits they will share with their families on the big day. Yes, the actual program, itself, is what she’s gearing up to, but preparing for it is fun, as well.
That’s how I feel about the weeks leading up to Christmas. Yes, it’s all about Christ’s birth, but preparing for that celebration and the time with family is special in and of itself, as well.
My favorite part of the lead-up is decorating. There are so many special decorations that tug at my heart when I first unpack them from their container each year. The tree skirt I made 30 years ago… The ceramic caroler candle holder I made 25 years ago… The ceramic plate with the nativity scene that my youngest (now 22) painted when she was a little girl… The Fisher Price nativity set we still put up (in addition to our more grown-up one) each year… And let’s not get me started on the ornaments. So many precious keepsakes tied to the kids…
Next, comes the annual baking flurry. I make my homemade fudge (my youngest daughter’s favorite), my white chocolate mousse pastry puffs (my husband’s favorite), my hot cocoa bar with all the best fixings (everyone enjoys this), and, of course, our iced sugar cookies (my oldest daughter’s favorite). And seeing everyone’s reaction to them? That’s my favorite part.
And then there’s the music. Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, Mary Did You Know…
I know. It’s only October. But that’s what our Amish Christmas Miracles Collection is doing to me this year. It’s jettisoning me into the Christmas season. And after the year we’ve all had, I’m glad. Because truly, this is going to be a wonderful collection of stories in which to escape starting November 10.
Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of more than 35 books and stories, including the just-released novel,Piece by Piece. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, was a July 2018 Book Club Pick for Delilah of Delilah Radio and a Summer Book Club pick for Southern Lady Magazine.
Laura also pens several mystery series including; An Amish Mystery series, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), and the upcoming A Friend For Hire Mysteries. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. Laura enjoys baking, spending time with her family, and being an advocate for those living with multiple sclerosis. Learn more at: https://www.laurabradford.com/
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