Wow. It’s December. Can you imagine? Just over a week ago we were having Thanksgiving dinner in good old November. Suddenly, we’re less than one month away from the year 2020.
How is your December coming along? Busy? Will you be traveling for Christmas or staying where you are? Have you decorated your home for Christmas yet? Or do you celebrate Christmas at all?
What are your favorite Christmas decorations?
Well, decorating is always hard for me because I immediately think about having to box everything up again after Christmas. Do you keep your decorating simple or do you go all out?
My Christmas tree is basically eclectic. Some of the ornaments are from years past and some are newer. I have seen some pretty Christmas trees that are rustic, glitzy, Victorian, modern, minimalist, and so forth. How about yours? How would you describe your Christmas tree?
What is your favorite outdoor Christmas scene?
We don’t usually have snow here in the southern USA, but many towns and cities hang outdoor lights to make streets and parks look festive. It gets icy cold sometimes, though. What about where you live? Do you have a winter wonderland there?
The December outdoor at night is too cold for me, so I prefer to stay indoors. And maybe listen to carols on iTunes or on the radio. Some radio stations have started playing Christmas songs since early November. How about your local radio stations? Have they been playing Christmas music?
What are your favorite Christmas carols?
I have so many I can’t list them all, from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” to “Away in a Manger” to “O Holy Night” to “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” to almost all the carols that sing about Jesus. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? Or many favorites? What are some of your memorable ones from your childhood?
What is your favorite Christmas food?
Yummy is all I can think of when I see Christmas cookies, especially the ones that won’t help my diet LOL. What about you? Do you like Christmas cookies? Are they too sweet for you? Or not sweet enough? What about gingerbread cookies? That’s an all-time favorite for many. I’ll eat any cookie, to be honest!
I know the fruitcake is much maligned, but sometimes they can be pretty good (I eat anything at Christmas). I don’t see much of it sold nowadays, but I do remember getting a small fruitcake from Costco a while back. Or was it a German Christmas Stollen bread instead? I can’t remember. Maybe it was a special featured item at that time because I don’t recall seeing it ever again at Costco for years since then. Do you still see them sold anywhere else besides online?
What is your overall favorite Christmas theme?
Some years ago, a local church here hosted a living nativity. The line to get in was so long that it was impossible to wait for several hours with a young child just to walk through the live action stable past my son’s bed time in the cold evening. In some places, they have drive-through nativity, but we haven’t been to one. Have you taken your kids to any of the living nativities? The church we used to attend made the nativity a part of their Christmas play, so we would go to that instead (indoors, with heat).
My favorite Christmas theme is always the same year after year: Jesus Christ. I know it sounds simplistic, but in the hustle and bustle of the busy Christmas season, I feel more joy and peace focusing on Christ and Him alone. I remember the sayings “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and “Without Christ, there is no Christmas.”
Throughout the year, I celebrate Jesus Christ as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Christmas is such a special time of the year to commemorate God sending His only begotten Son to earth to live a sinless life and then carry all our sins on Himself at the cross of Calvary. Because of Christ, I have eternal life and am saved forever. That’s a celebration!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Feel free to comment for a giveaway of any ebook that I have written. Amazon won’t let me gift an ebook on preorder, but one randomly selected winner will be invited to browse through my published catalog of books at JanThompson.com/amazon and whichever published ebook she selects, I’ll gift it to her as the special prize. This giveaway ends on Sunday, December 8, 2019.
Speaking of how busy the Christmas season is, I thought I’d save you time and money with this offer of four ebooks at $0.99 each. Save a total of $13. That’s a whopper. The four ebooks are on Amazon only. You can also rent them via Kindle Unlimited if you’re a member there. If you already own these ebooks, how about buying them for your reading friends? They’d make great stocking stuffers (take up little space). This special sale ends this month. Happy reading and happy gifting!
- If you like Christmas romance… Wish You Joy
- If your winter needs warming up, how about visiting the Bahamas… Smile for Me
- Or the beaches of Tybee Island, where the sand is made for bare feet… Ask You Later
- Orchestra music is not just for Christmas, but any time you want to enjoy it… Share with Me
Celebrating Jesus Christ,
Paula Marie says
Great post, Jan! My favorite Christmas decorations are Nativity sets!
Jan Thompson says
Merry Christmas, Paula Marie! Yes, mine too! I’ve collected Nativity sets over the years!
Thank you for commenting!
Hi Jan and Happy St. Nikolaus Day! Glad to report that I am nice and St. Nikolaus brought me new PJs, an orange and apple. Informative post. I enjoy seeing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of young children. My granddaughters – ages 3 & 6 are mesmerized. As a German, Christmas Stollen is holiday must have. My mom baked her own. But in my small SW community we have options. Two local bakers make Stollen, but I purchase the Butter Stollen at Aldi’s – tasty and a quarter of the price. Aldi sells Marzipan (almond paste center), Cherry (probably the most similar to American fruit cake) or Butter Stollen (our family favorite – more like a sweet bread with lots of raisins). For this German American, Christmas is everything German – so many of our traditions come from Germany – Advent Calendar, Christmas tree, Santa, and carols. Best wishes and enjoy your weekend.
Jan Thompson says
Hello Renate! Nice Christmas presents! Oh does Aldi sell stollen? I’ll have to check it out. I think Whole Foods also carries it. I have heard so much about German Christmas and some day I’d like to go back to Germany for a visit at Christmas time. The last time I went it was in the summer.
Merry Christmas and thank you for stopping by!
My church dresses up with gorgeous Christmas trees and the children sing a Christmas worship with carols and a nativity skit.
I like to put out a hot cocoa bar, and my favorite thing, besides my children and their spouses, friends, or whoever needs a Christmas all coming, is the Christmas parties my neighbors throw.
We live on ranches and farm so it’s a big deal to see each other just to visit. None of us is in muck boots or on a tractor or horse 😊
Jan Thompson says
Hi Dalyn!Those Christmas celebrations sound wonderful! Our Sunday school class has a Christmas party this year, but we will not be able to make it (so hard to get everyone to be available at the same time). Next year, maybe!
Thank you for your comments and here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Great post! My church is having its Christmas musical this weekend. Tomorrow there’s a parade. My favorite Christmas decorations are the nativities. I like Christmas lights, too, but I don’t put any out. I like to see what my neighbors come up with, though. Our church is doing a Light Fight this year, seeing who has the best outside decorations. It doesn’t have to be members of the church, either.
Jan Thompson says
Wow, a Christmas parade! I’ve never seen one in person (other than on TV) . Some day! Our church is having a Christmas musical also. This is a new church we’re attending so this is our first Christmas there. I miss my old church because their choir has such angelic voices! This one promises to be loud and boisterous, but we shall see.
My favorite decoration is also the nativity. Sometimes I have several out at various places around the house.
Thank you for commenting! Merry Christmas!
Lila Diller says
Wow, that was a ton of questions! ;) I’ll try to answer them all.
How is your December coming along? Okay. It’s a little different this year because we lost our dog on Nov. 1st but got a new kitty on Nov. 30th. Busy? Not yet, really. Next week is when it gets busy for us, when we have to take our kids to long dress rehearsals and 4 performances of our church’s huge Christmas program.
Will you be traveling for Christmas or staying where you are? We never travel. We always go over to my in-laws’ a few miles away. Have you decorated your home for Christmas yet? Yes. Usually, I decorate on Election Day, but this year we had to wait until my mother-in-love could help us get rid of a bunch of junk that was in the place we put up the tree—the only extra spot in our house for either. Or do you celebrate Christmas at all? Yes, I love Christmas.
Do you keep your decorating simple or do you go all out? I keep my decorating pretty simple. I keep wanting to add more, but it cost money I would rather spend on gifts. I have a small box of extra centerpieces and figurines besides the Christmas tree ornaments. How would you describe your Christmas tree? Vintage, for the most part. I have several ornaments saved from childhood, a special one for each of us from the first year we were born, plus all of the funky popsicle stick and construction paper ornaments my kids made in Sunday School when they were little. I have a few newer, more elegant bulbs but it’s not themed. That’s my big, main tree, though. I also have two smaller trees. One is silver that I put all my purple and girly ornaments on and leave in my room. My husband tolerates it. ;) Each of my kids has their own mini tree for their rooms. My youngest son’s tree fell apart last year, so he inherited my other themed tree, a white tree with khaki ornaments.
Do you have a winter wonderland there? Not usually. We live in NC but not in the mountains, so we only get 3 or 4 snows a winter, almost never on Christmas Day.
How about your local radio stations? Have they been playing Christmas music? I haven’t been listening to the radio. As soon as I’m ready for Christmas music (way before Thanksgiving when the stations start playing it), I pop the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack CD into the car and play my Christmas YouTube playlists on repeat. In recent years, our local Christian radio station has kept playing normal music interspersed with Christmas music. I don’t prefer that. This is the only time of year we can listen to Christmas music, so I want to listen while I can.
Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? Or many favorites? Yes! I love “O Holy Night,” “Mary, Did You Know,” “Breath of Heaven,” “All is Well,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” What are some of your memorable ones from your childhood? I love the classics that remind me of the nostalgia of childhood Christmases, like Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” (My mom is a big Elvis fan.) And anything by Bing Crosby. My favorite Christmas movie is “White Christmas,” so I enjoyed finding the songs from that on YouTube and adding them to my playlist this year. Though I also enjoy Handel’s “Messiah” and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” I prefer music I can sing (loudly) to. :)
Do you like Christmas cookies? A little. Are they too sweet for you? Yes, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I would almost always rather choose salty snacks. Or not sweet enough? But I will eat a few as a treat I only get at this time, and especially as a special time to spend baking with my kids. What about gingerbread cookies? I like gingerbread because it’s not too sweet, but I don’t make it well, so I rarely get them.
I don’t do fruitcakes or stollens. But my husband’s father still requests a stollen every year. His mother was from Germany, and it was a tradition that he continues. They have it for breakfast before we get over there, so I don’t know that I’ve ever tried it. ;) As to where they get it, I’m not sure, but I think my mother-in-love makes it for him using his mother’s recipe.
Jan Thompson says
Hi Lisa! I am so sorry you lost your dog. I have lost pet dogs years ago and never quite got over any of them. We now have a cat, so it’s been fun too!
Keepsake ornaments are great! I have a few boxes of ornaments I made years ago. However, lately, we haven’t had time to trim the tree properly, so if we can get it up with the lights plugged in, it’s a win for us. I hear you about keeping it simple!
Glad your family is nearby so it’s not too much traveling for you! Our relatives are everywhere so it’s been hard to get together.
We used to listen the radio in December when they only pay Christmas songs all the time. Lately, that has becomes less and less as radio just play regular songs now. One station tried this year to play more Christmas songs but we only listen to radio in the car, if at all, so it’s been sparse.
Nice mix of songs you have there for Christmas. I hear you re: “sing loudly” – MERRY is our Christmas!
I’m trying to cut back on cookies but I might not be able to resist Christmas cookies!
That’s great that your children have both American and German heritage at Christmas. We just do the usual thing at Christmas — eat turkey or ham or both.
Thank you very much for your comments! Merry Christmas!
I enjoy seeing all the different Christmas decorations, especially the pretty lights on the trees this time of year.
Jan Thompson says
Me too! We just came home from a Christmas Musical at church and I was looking at all the outdoor decorations in our neighborhood driving in. Nice!
Merry Christmas and thank you for commenting!
I am also a southern girl. I just looked through (and bought) several of book links you shared. Based on the book settings, I suspect that we live only hours apart. St. Simons is an easy day trip for me, but I’ve also made many to Savannah and Tybee Island. My last visit to Tybee was to meet a friend who was visiting from Nevada – we met up at one of our favorite spots – the lighthouse. A third friend (who lived in Savannah at the time) met us there. This was just about a week before a hurricane wreaked havoc on the island.
A couple of my favorite things to do over the Christmas season are to visit the St. Augustine Nights of Lights and join friends in St. Marys to attend a children’s Live Nativity pageant.
Christmas music has been on the radio here since late November. Decorating at our home is kept simple. The combination of sparkling trinkets and cats makes me cautious!
Jan Thompson says
Thank you, Mary! Which part of Georgia are you at? I’m in the metro Atlanta area, but St. Simon’s is only about 6 hours from me and Savannah is about 5 hours away from me. Some of the people I know would drive out to the coast for the weekend. If you sit in Atlanta traffic, it could be a couple of hours from one end of the metro to another. So it’s basically a round trip plus a couple of hours. Not too bad.
I remember the hurricane in Savannah last year (or was it this year). That was devastating. I hope they rebuilt quickly. However, last year we visited Panama City Beach and a huge area was razed to the ground by the hurricane. Trees were down, buildings flattened. It was terrible!
Oh I totally enjoyed St. Augustine and St. Mary’s when we visited a while back. I will need to go back there again soon.
Yes, we have a cat too, so we have to be careful about what decorations we take out of the boxes!
Thank you for commenting and Merry Christmas!
Jan, I’m actually in northeast Florida. The Georgia State Line is less than an hour from me, so we think of southeast Georgia as being part of our back yard. We met up with our friends on Tybee Island in 2016, but there have been other hurricanes that have passed near the coast since then. A friend told me last year that she had been on the island and that Cockspur Island lighthouse was still closed at that time.
I have family in metro Atlanta and am very familiar with your traffic issues! I have to say that having family in town was a bonus when Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996. We were able to stay with them and use MARTA to get to the various venues. Our car was parked most of the time.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Oh my so many questions. I would call my tree eclectic too. it has some decoratins that are 59 years old (although a few didn’t make it on due to 2 cats that are a bit overly playful around the tree). To some modern ones to ones I have been given in ornament swaps or from friends to ones I bought on trips overseas. I have 2 Squirrels, at least 2 cats, Several bears, one snoopy, one pink Trolley car from Hawaii, Angels of different types, Some handmade some bought. and may get some icicles on it but the higher branches due to above said cats.
I also have a Christmas village up. Yes to singing Christmas carols I have been singing them and playing them for over a week now. I need to play a cd a day (if not more). I have many songs I love. O Holy Night, Mary Did you Know, Nothing Will Ever be the same again, Peace on Earth (by Casting Crowns) and many more.
There are people who have lights and depending if I have someone to take me I have gone round to see them at times. When I had a Christmas in Melbourne I had an early Christmas with friends and we went round looking at lights. Some places really go all out.
Here in Australia Christmas cake (Fruit Cake) Is very popular. Its actually used for most weddings. I myself don’t like it but do like the icing/frosting. For my favourite Christmas food not sure I have one but do like pavlova.
We have a nativity set up at Church which is always good to see. We also have a Carols in the Square which is for the community and in candlelight. but we have to wait til around 8 due to being in Summer
Jan Thompson says
LOL re: cat! Since we haven’t hung any ornaments on the tree yet, the cat seems to be doing OK. So far…
We just attended a Christmas Musical tonight and it was fun! I’m listening to some Christmas music on iTunes. I also have some CDs but the only CD player we have now is in the car, so I’ve had to re-find the same songs on iTunes.
I haven’t tried pavlova yet, I don’t think. However, I am resisting Christmas cookies this year bc I am supposed to be losing weight, not gaining LOL!
I’m glad you have carols and nativity scenes around town. We are seeing fewer and fewer such scenes over here and it’s a sad loss. However, churches and Christians are still trying to keep the Christmas themes alive. So that’s good.
Thank you for commenting and Merry Summer Christmas!
Oh I know about the weight thing most cookies I make (gingerbread) I don’t like so am not tempted to eat the dough. If I make the shortbread recipe then I eat the dough.
We don’t have many Nativities around the town which is sad but several churches have a display for people to see. The Carols in the square is put on by the churches and consists of Carols, normally a play and a short talk by one of the pastors. So many of the community attend even though most are not members of any of the churches so it is a great outreach.
Narelle Atkins says
Hi Jan, I had to laugh when I read your comments on fruit cake. A few days ago my husband was not pleased that the small grocery store near our home had sold out of fruit cake! Aussie’s love their fruit cake all year round, lol. 😊