Friday, November 30, 2012

Secrets of a Cozy Christmas

By Nancy Jill Thames

As a child, was there a special Christmas you remember? One that stands out among all the rest? When my mother cut up an old white satin formal of hers to make a wedding dress for my doll, that's the Christmas I remember. 

We lived in a tiny house, all five of us, plus a brand new baby brother, making six. But in spite of the cramped quarters, our family spent some of our happiest days living there. Having a ton of neighborhood friends to play with was one reason we children were so happy, but another reason was the way our family celebrated the holidays.

When Christmas came, my parents did their very best to provide as many gifts they could to make us happy. We lacked for nothing because my father made sure we had everything we needed. Not everything we wanted. That's where Christmas came in.

My father read the Christmas story every Christmas Eve from the gospel of Luke, Chapter 2. Afterward, my mother would serve hot Dr. Pepper with lemon as a tradition. We went caroling with church friends, had parties, baked cookies, and hung paper chains all over the house. Gifts were opened on Christmas morning, but we were allowed to open one on Christmas Eve to break the tension.

Growing up, making gingerbread houses wasn't  part of our tradition, but my kids loved making them. As they grew older, I carried on the tradition with my grandchildren. The one you see pictured was made by my grandson two years ago. Instead of making a new one each year, I wrap this one in plastic bags and store it in the top of my closet. If some decorations fall off, I simply glue them back on with a little water.

In my new book "Waiting for Santa," I've written in some of my families Christmas traditions as a way to preserve the legacy. What are the secrets of a cozy Christmas? I believe it's carrying on your own special traditions, whatever they may be. 

Merry Christmas!

~Nancy Jill

Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her Chocolate Cream Pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren in two states, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers Guild and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales.

To learn more about the author, visit her blog at or email her at


  1. Now you've gone an done it, Nancy! You've activated my sweet tooth! HeHe--but it's the right time of year for that:)

  2. Nancy
    Your post brought back memories of my childhood. We didn't have a lot but we did have what we needed. Christmas was usually things we could use, clothes, etc. with maybe a couple of toys, but Christmas when I was young seemed to be such a close cozy time for the family. Thanks for bringing those memories back.
    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"
    "Murder in Marietta"

  3. We were blessed, weren't we? Thanks for sharing. Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

    ~Nancy Jill

  4. We were always the last in our neighborhood to put up our tree - sort of a combination of a German tradion and my parents' fear of fire since they grew up during the time of many Christas tree fires. Somehow that made our tree more special! We weren't bored with it as it went up only a few days before Christmas. We aiways have anise flavored cookies that everyone now calls "cookie cutter cookies," after my oldest nephew so named them. My 85 yo mom still makes them up andeither I or my younger brother help her bake the and decoratecate them.

    My best Chrstmas memory, Santa completing my Trixie Beldon set! Read every book during Christmas break. ;)

    1. Liz, I can just picture the whole thing! I always wondered why some people got their trees at the last minute - and it makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing such wonderful Christmas memories and traditions.

      Merry Christmas!


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