The Annual Connealy Christmas Letter

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM My Cowboy and Me

Does anyone remember when we were panicking about all the computers crashing and like…planes plummeting out of the sky and hospital life support systems crashing…because of Y2K?

How in the world did it get to be 2015?

It’s not that long until children start looking at me with wide-eyed amazement and saying, “You weren’t even born in this century?”

That’s gonna pinch.

My Cowboy and calf and mama
My Cowboy and calf and mama

We just sold our calves, an every-December event. They sold very, very well and My Cowboy would like to take a moment to apologize for the price of hamburger.

My Cowboy is an avid water skier. He pulled a hamstring this summer. It took a while but it healed. I thought it was an injury that made him sound a little like a 22 year old football player. How cool is that? He wasn’t all that thrilled.

We went to San Antonio this year, such a great city. I had a conference so I didn’t get to look around as much Maryas I’d like. My Cowboy did some great sightseeing.  And later we went to St. Louis for yet another conference. Honestly it’s fun but just once it might be nice to go somewhere besides conferences. Surely there’s something out there to see!

I had my 36th book release this year. I’ve been writing a lot of novellas lately, in addition to two full length books a year. I’m learning the skill of telling smaller stories and I can salt a few of them in a year between my book releases. I now work ten hours a week as a GED Instructor and that’s keeping me plenty busy.

[In this space I write all about the accomplishments of my children. They have asked to please NOT be included in my blog post. No, not even if it helps their ever lovin’ Mama to sell books, the brats.]

MomMy mom fell this year which caused her some trouble, but she is much better. So I’ve spent more time than usual with her this fall and I consider that a privilege. This is a picture of me and Mom last Mother’s Day.

I had the house decorated for Christmas this year in 20 minutes. And no, that’s not because I worked hard. It’s because I don’t do much. I have a Christmas tree that I store, with the decorations and lights all in place, in a bag in a bedroom closet. I pull out the tree, unzip the bag, stuck the tree on the table and plugged it in. There are a few other things in the same closet, they come out and get plunked in place and I’m done. I’m trying to feel guilty about this system but it’s pretty great.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a………….HAPPY NEW YEAR

God bless you! Love My Cowboy and Me

Leave a comment about your own holiday plans to get your name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. My Christmas gift to you.

Mary Connealy

Author of Romantic Comedy…with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules


Updated: December 16, 2014 — 8:30 pm

119 Comments

  1. Hi Mary, I would love to be able to keep a tree decorated all year and just bring it out of the closet. We have a small house and this year be bought a new corner group sofa and chaise. Mid-November I looked around and said, “where are we going to put the Christmas tree?” So we ended up setting a 4 ft. pre-lit tree on one of our end tables and it actually looks quite nice.

    I’m taking 12 days off from work between Christmas and New Years and my husband and I are going to deep clean my 86 year old mother’s house. She has Parkinson’s so she doesn’t move around as well as she once did.

    May you have a blessed Christmas!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Cindy you can’t possibly live in a smaller house than me. I had to throw away a lot of stuff to get a closet cleared for my modest sized tree, but I managed it. Barely.

      1. Just a little of 900 square feet which includes a one car garage. 🙂

  2. Probably staying home with family for Christmas.

  3. 20 minutes? I think it took us two days to get the decorations up. 🙂 And we got a real tree. I think it’s more fun to decorate every year rather than have the tree the same, but that’s just me.

    We are celebrating with our immediate family (plus 2 others) on Saturday and with Mom’s family on Christmas Day. I am really looking forward to it, but I still have to wrap a lot of presents!! Oops.

    1. Faith no doubt it is more fun. Because me and that tree system. Drag/Unzip/Plunk are no fun.

  4. Happy Holidays!

    Sounds like you enjoyed an eventful year. I do remember the hoopla over 2K. It seemed that the world would shut down on January 1st.

    My mom is 90. In June she fell and fractured her pelvis. Then she had a blood clot in September and lost part of her vision. Luckily she is still able to get around on her own!

    We added a grandson after an uneventful high risk pregnancy. Thankfully all went smoothly and he is slowly catching up growth-wise.

    All 4 of my children will be home for Christmas with their mates. YAY! It’ll be hectic but fun. I’m cooking for 12.

    Best wishes for a wonderful 2015!

    1. Sounds like a fantastic holiday, Laurie. We will spend Christmas Eve with some of our children (there are four, three married or involved enough to have to share holidays). Then Christmas Day with a slightly different mix of kids. Plus my family, my brothers and sisters, will be in and out at my mom’s house so I’ll see those folks when I can fit it in.
      It’ll be great. I love spending time with my children.

  5. Hi Mary, it used to take days to decorate but I’m now down to twenty minutes, too. My excuse is an early January deadline, but I’ve been using the same excuse for ten years now, and no one feels sorry for me anymore. I need to come up with a new excuse for next year.

    Meanwhile, wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Here’s your new excuse, Margaret.
      “You want the house more decorated, you do it.”

      Use that. Works every time. No, no one else does it, they just leave me to my meager décor.

  6. You have had a very busy year. I always enjoy hearing everyone yearly updates. This is the first year without my step-father, so it will just be me, my husband and my mom for Christmas. I plan to make lasagna for us all for Christmas Eve dinner. Then, on Christmas day we go to his family. His mom has included several of her friends this year which meant we had to spread our already thin holiday budget even thinner to buy gifts for them all.

    1. Janine, you have to buy GIFTS for his mom’s friends? What madness is that?

  7. Wow, outside of the conferences, this sounds a lot like my mom’s Christmas letter – Grandma fell (but is doing pretty good now), sold some calves for ridiculously high prices (a week-old Holstein bull for $500? What alternate dimension have we fallen into?!), quick and easy decorating (thanks to having a daughter come home at the opportune moment to do all the work instead). Okay, so the exact details differ, but all the same. God bless your Christmas!

    1. Rachael, I just saw a news story this morning that said the price of hamburger is at an all time high.

      So sorry everyone.

      Now when it drops and we get a lousy price, I’ll be expecting an apology from all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. We will Facetime with my son and his family-he is stationed overseas. Lunch with my parents and siblings, then a dinner of tamales with my mother in law 🙂

    1. Denise, isn’t it amazing how you can talk to someone all the way around the world, in real time?

      Just such a wonderful bit of technology.

      Tamales sound good. I might make them for lunch!

  9. Hi Mary! We’re driving South to visit my sisters in Missouri and Iowa, then back to my son in Minnesota for Christmas day. Since we’ll drive practically past your house on the way today, I will wave as we go by! 🙂

    1. Joyce do you go down I-29? That’s seriously like….ten miles from my house! Plan ahead next time and we can meet in Onawa, Iowa for lunch!

  10. I am so excited for all 6 kids to be back this year and get family pictures. Not excited to shop for an outfit and actually be in the pictures but that’s a whole other story. So looking forward to great times and wonderful memories with all my chicks back in the nest for a day or two. Merry Christmas and God bless!

    1. Six kids, Tonja! What a blessing. I’ve got four and I know what you mean by back in the nest. It’s so wonderful to get them together.

      I remember when my oldest child was just barely in high school, we were finding it harder and harder to just all be around the table at one time. I remember looking at them, four girls, My Cowboy and me and thinking, “Cherish this. It’s not going to last.”
      And you know what? I did. I started really cherishing the times we were all together, and I still do.

  11. Getting together with family and friends. Watching grandson sing in Christmas concert.

    1. Jeanette, I love Christmas music. Hope your grandson has a great time!

  12. This Christmas, my husband, children and I travelled from Colorado to Florida to spend it with family. We will be leaving the day after Christmas to head back to Colorado, where the kids will enjoy Christmas from us. 🙂 Merry Christmas, Mary!!

    1. Wow, Joy, that’s a real journey. Did you drive? Brave woman.

  13. Merry Christmas
    Sounds like you have a great idea on decorating. I got sick after Thanksgiving. Not the flu, but I would have sworn it was. Needless to say that threw me way behind in everything except picking our daughter up at college. Finally got the tree up and decorated on the 16th, but no other decorations. Not one gift wrapped, but shopping is done I believe. I so enjoyed your pictures this year of all the new babies and found myself missing them. I know they are ALL still at your ranch and refuse to think otherwise. I hope your mom is recovering from her fall. Sending you Christmas Blessings. Keep writing, because I love your books.

    1. GIFT BAGS KATRINA!!!!
      I always hope whoever invented those is a wealthy person. Gotta be a woman. They’re just BRILLIANT.

  14. We cut our tree and since the weather was uncooperative, it had to sit a night in the garage. Then it snowed as we were getting it in and we had yo let it sit and drip with old sheets around it to catch the drips before we could decorate. Then we cleaned dry needles up for a half hour…but the smell is great!
    We have all our family here Christmas Eve and church. Then on Christmas Day, we are running away for a beautiful light show and hotel stay with our 2 youngest daughters!
    Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Joyce we used to cut a fresh tree from an abandoned Christmas Tree Forest. A neighbor who grew and sold trees for a few years then just quit planting new and eventually the trees grew bigger and bigger and were useless. He’d let us rummage around in there and we’d cut big trees then just cut off the top or a tree stump would have sprouted low branches that curved up and were descent if misshapen trees. I loved doing that. And the smell, so heavenly. I miss that.
      Not enough to convince My Cowboy to grab his chainsaw and come out with me into the cold. (he’s pretty much out in the cold all day every day, he’s not all that thrilled about extra outdoor activities)

  15. Well, I’ve got some gifts already wrapped and under the tree, but I’ve still to get my sewing machine out and make the hot pads that I want to give as Christmas presents. Going to Christmas Eve service on the 24th, getting together with family Christmas night and probably watching The Nativity, and planning on doing gifts and celebrating on the 26th. Merry CHRISTmas, Mary and everyone else here at Petticoats and Pistols! May the Lord bless you all through the Christmas season and into the New Year. 🙂

    1. I love Christmas Eve services and I haven’t watch The Nativity yet this year.
      I need to do that. I love that movie.
      Have you seen this?
      Amy Grant singing Breath of Heaven with video clips from The Nativity. So beautiful.

      1. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Hi, Mary! I always enjoy reading whatever you write! Glad to hear you mom and your cowboy are doing better!
    I love putting up my tree at Christmas because the ornaments I have hold so many memories. There are ornaments that my children made when they were little (they are dated-1994 and later). My son has his Pokemon and his racing ornaments from his younger years as well, and my other son is now married, but I asked him if I could keep one his Jeff Gordon instruments for my memories. I collect Rudolf ornaments, so I have those and one very special ornament that was given to me by my Pastor and his wife. He took a pictures of my dogs that I had sent him and had a ceramic ornament made! So, my tree brings a lot of memories with it…
    I love to cook and bake a big meal for my family and now that I have grandbabies, well, Christmas is even more fun!
    But in all of this, I remember that the Jesus is the reason for the reason and life would nothing without Him as our Center a Focus Point! I love Him and thank Him for giving His life that I may live!

    Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas! …….and keep writing your stories and I will keep reading them! You are a blessing to me!

    1. Kimberly this is all so sweet.
      I love the ornaments that hold sentimental value.
      I have NONE of those. I’m such a compulsive THROWER that I just refuse to get attached to things like that. Then I see someone with a really special collection and I regret it.
      God bless you during this Holy Season.

  17. Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Hi anon1001. You’re in the drawing. Merry Christmas!

  18. All of our decorations are up except for the tree… will get to that soon. Have everything wrapped and ready to go… helping my mom wrap some of her gifts… she is not in the mood this year to wrap… she is still shopping. Looking forward to Christmas! Merry Christmas!

    1. I’ve got a few more gifts to wrap. I like wrapping, but I don’t buy a lot of presents anymore…so I don’t have a mountain of gifts to contend with.’
      I remember when the girls were little I’d always KNOW I had to finish shopping and wrapping before they got out of school, or there they’d be watching me. How does a woman keep secrets under those conditions?
      Now my deadlines are about ten minutes before the first guest arrives, or we drive away, on Christmas Eve.

  19. Merry Christmas Mary! Well, our first grandchild was born yesterday. Silas Timothy is his name and he is the sweetest thing on earth. So, Christmas plans will involve cuddling this little guy.

    PS. Glad your calves sold well and apology is accepted for the crazy price of hamburger. #justgonnaeatsteak.

    1. Awww Tammi, a new grandbaby. Your first! You can’t believe how much you can adore those little critters. 🙂
      No, forget that, you already know.

  20. I have a tree trimming party every year so lots of time and work involved before and after but then I save time by not baking anymore – it seems to even out lol. Bakeries have some wonderful goodies :)Happy Holidays!

    1. I don’t bake much anymore. I just don’t need the food! 🙂

  21. oh gosh that sounds so nice being able to put up the decorations that fast,took me a week,,we had to go get a 7ft real tree that he cut down in 8inches of snow,,and I decorate with antique ornaments that Ive collected over the years and find at yard and estate sales,,the good thing is I wont have to take it all down,,im heading from VT to TN the day after Christmas to see my grown kids and grandkids,we have half in VT and half in TN,,so I get to love on all 13 grandbabies,,just afew days apart,,Merry Christmas to you too!

    1. Wow, Vickie. All that work is NOT me, but I love it and I love seeing beautifully decorated homes and yards.
      I live way, way, way out though honestly the only people who see my decorations are My Cowboy and me. He doesn’t care and I don’t get to see any lights on outside because when I drive up in the dark they’re not on!

      I have to turn them on.

      🙁 So I gave up on the outside.

  22. My holiday plans are to watch tv and read. I have no one to spend it with. It’s just me, myself, and I for the 3rd year. I always think something magical will happen when I wake up Christmas morning and I’ll find a gift under the tree or a stocking filled waiting for me. Merry Christmas All!

    1. Cathy, that sounds so lonely. You have to break out of that cycle.
      Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen.
      Have you gotten involved in a church or a community college…take classes…meet people. Volunteer to ring a bell for the Salvation Army.
      Are you working? Is it a job open on Christmas? If so, offer to take that day so others can be home. That’s incredibly generous and you might feel better keeping busy.

      Do you invite people to your place? Do you have anyone you give gifts to? You need to focus on giving for a while for the pure joy of it…it doesn’t have to cost money if you give of your time and talents…and see if things don’t change. I’m sure there are others alone on Christmas day, invite them to your place for a meal.

    1. Blue is mah signature coloh (channeling Julia Roberts from Steel Magnolias)

  23. I will cook dinner for my two daughters, their husbands and the four grandchildren (3 boys and 1 girl).

    1. That sounds wonderful Goldie. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  24. I’m having my family over for dinner on Christmas Eve. We go to my father in law’s house for Christmas breakfast, which will be the last Christmas we will spend there since he passed in August.

    1. Amyc, it’s bound to be a sentimental gathering. God bless you.

  25. Hi Mary! Merry Christmas to you. We plan to have a quiet Christmas with family…and boy am I looking forward to it! Thanks for the giveaway :).

    1. I like quiet, Katie. I crave quiet.

      I’m not gettin’ much quiet lately!

  26. HI Mary. Quick and easy. I love your Holiday decorating. My apartment has one Christmas decoration up. A Jewelry Christmas tree my aunt made me a few years ago for my birthday. I’ve got boxes of Christmas decorations, but no room to put them up.

    My Christmas plans include taking off work from Friday the 19th and returning on Friday the 26th. Nothing major. Spending time with both of my best friends, my family, my cat, reading, and of course baking. But nothing too terribly exciting this year. Nice and quiet.

    1. Dawn, refer to my comment above.
      Writer’s seem to be prone to alone time, quiet time. I don’t see how we’d write without it.
      So an easy holiday, no stress, good friends and family and BOOKS. Sounds ideal.

  27. We only used the top half of our rusty trusty tree this year. It looks fine.
    College son is home. The rest of the kids and Grandkids will start arriving Saturday. Happy.

    1. Mary, way to go. Fine the beauty in the tree and enjoy it.

  28. Hi Mary! I love your 20 minutes! I have not put a tree up for a couple of years. We are not home much during December and while I love a tree it hardly seems worth the trouble for the little that we are here. We spend most of the month at our son’s attending programs and plays. Last year our son was Snoopy in You’re a good Man Charlie Brown and this year he was the narrator and editor in Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus. Our granddaughter was the best friend of Virginia. We will be at their house for Christmas!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. What precious memories you’re creating, Connie. I completely understand not decorating if you’re gone so much. That seems wise to me.

  29. My husband, two kids and are are going to enjoy Christmas Eve with my husband’s parents, siblings and kids, and then have our own little family morning Christmas fun. Then a little brunch with a few people after that. 🙂

    1. Three Christmas parties. That’s what happens to so many people, trying to see everyone, run everywhere. It’s exhausting but joyful, too.

  30. Great letter Mary. I am having my Atlanta kids home to Kansas for Christmas. Very excited for that!

  31. I will be spending the holidays with my mom and step dad. I am super excited because I made/put together a very special gift for both of them. I’m hoping they love it! 😀

  32. Merry Christmas Mary! My Christmas will be simple and quiet. Blessings to you and your family! 🙂

  33. what a wonderful year! Sorry to hear about your mom’s fall and glad she’s doing better! That deep blue dress is so flattering on you btw 🙂

    This year my mom and sister who live in Utah are coming to visit the rest of us here in California. We’re going to have our traditional Dutch oven breakfast at the beach and spend lots of time together!

  34. Wow, I thought I was the only one that stored my tree decorated in a bag all ready to go for the next year. I don’t do much either. I have a small house & if the family isn’t coming I just put out my favorite snowmen & quilts and we are happy 🙂 I enjoyed your Christmas letter & I wish you a very merry Christmas and a wonderfully happy & healthy New Year! !
    dkstevensne AT outlook DOt CoM

    1. C’mon Deanna! I bought that Christmas tree bag in a store. It can’t be just you and me buying them!

  35. I enjoyed reading about your year.
    We have had a busy Christmas so far with Sunday School parties and practices for the Christmas play and Cantata. My dh will go with the church men for a Christmas Eve Eve all night shopping trip after our Cantata. Then we will drive 45 minutes on the 24th to spend the afternoon with my family. Christmas morning after opening gifts with our 5 children (5-16), we’ll drive 45 minutes another direction to spend the day with his family. Always a busy time. I have to remind myself of the real reason for the season, the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. I am truly grateful for His birth and all He has done for me. My dh is a teacher and I am looking forward to him having some extra time to spend with us.
    I love your books and I would love an Amazon gift card.
    God Bless,
    Kim in NC

    1. Have a great Christmas, Kim. God bless you and thank you for the kind words about my books. I really appreciate it.

  36. I love your tree idea wish I had a closet big enough to do that.I have my tree up and most of the gifts wrapped still waiting on one from Amazon big mistake choosing free shipping that package has been all over the US it seems except here and I am only fifty miles from an amazon warehouse. It even took a trip to Texas and I live in KY, it was in Ohio the last time I checked. My plans are to go to my sister’s on Christmas Eve and to my mother in laws on Christmas day. Hope it don’t snow on Christmas so I will be able to go to sister’s house because we have to travel there.

    About that price for hamberger, I am really wanting a pot of Chili and can’t afford the hamberger, so kill a cow and send me some hamberger.

    1. Quilt Lady, kill a cow? Are you mad? Do you know what these girls are worth? We’re treating them like members of the family!

      1. I can imagine what a cow is worth at the price of hamberger and all meat. Its getting to the point that we can’t afford to eat. Not sure what we will do. My husband expects some kind of meat on the table for his meals. We just may have to start eating chicken all the time because that is the cheepest.

  37. I’ve got three Christmases in store. Gonna be making lots of homemade rolls. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

    1. I am trying a new quick and easy cinnamon roll recipe right now. Overnight in the fridge then baked in the morning. Frozen roll dough. If it’s good I’ll post it on Facebook.

      1. Those cinnamon rolls sound yummo, Mary. I’ve done something similar before, except with homemade dough. Love me some cinnamon rolls. 🙂

  38. I wish I could do that with my tree! I have Hallmark ornaments that need to be boxed just right. I love the house decorated for Christmas though!

    1. I love this! I really wish I was organized enough to have a beautiful ornament collection. But I always get distracted, mostly by cupcakes.

  39. I will be spending the day with my family and my inlaws. We are blessed that they all get along and we celebrate together.

    1. That is a blessing, Carrie. My Cowboy and I were blessed with wonderful in-laws on both sides. His mom was one of my very best friends. She lived to be 92, passed away nearly three years ago now and I still think of her so often and wish she was here to talk all the little nonsense of life over with.
      My own mom is 86 now and (as the letter said) she’s been through a tough stretch this fall. But she’s getting better every day. It’s slow where you’re 86. Nothing heals like it did when you were young. (I’m way younger and things heal slower for me, too.

  40. You have been busy. Our plan for Christmas is to stay home and our kids will come over.

  41. I’ll be spending Christmas with my parents and my brother. I’m happy that I get a nice little Christmas break (I work for a school) so I’m going to catch up on my reading.

  42. Christmas day will be spent relaxing as the next day 100 missionaries from the northern states will arrive to the Rio Grande Valley! We’ll be hosting Celebrando Navidad for 3 days in Mexico, evangelizing and feeding around 2000 folks!

  43. Great to hear about your family and “real life.” We’ll be having a quiet Southeast Texas Christmas. Maybe having some chili and corn bread. 🙂

  44. We are just having two of the kids here, and the in-laws (Fiance’s parents since we live with them until we have finances again) for Christmas Eve dinner. Nothing big or fancy, since I am disabled and my fiance has not been able to work due to being injured on the job a year a go and then they fired him. So not having any income at all, and only help from others that love us and not being able to earn an income of our own, makes it a little hard to buy presents or have a huge family dinner.

    Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Praying everyone stays safe and receives more love than they thought was possible, as that is our gift to our family this year.
    kbinmich AT yahoo DOT com

  45. Merry Christmas Mary!

    This year my dad and I will be joining the rest of the family at my brother’s house, have dinner together and watch the kids open presents.

    This Sunday I will be singing in the choir and narrating the Christmas program at my church.

    Candice

  46. For holiday plans, I will spend time with friends and family. I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree and wrapping presents. I also like watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music. And I always enjoy the Christmas program and dinner at church.

  47. I wish I had an extra closet to shove my tree. It would be so much easier.

    I’m spending Christmas with my two adult children, their spouses and my grandkids. Best place to be.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  48. Last year my Dad and I went to Minneapolis to spend the holiday with family. We nearly froze! This year we’re staying in NM where it’s a lot warmer!

  49. Christmas is going to be a little different this year as my mother has to have back surgery the day after Christmas and the hospital is two and one half hours away. We will head out Christmas afternoon and get settled in our hotel room . We will just move things up a little bit and all be thrilled that we can be together.

  50. Looking forward to spending the Christmas time at my dads farm with a huge Christmas tree and lots of yummy food. But my favorite tradition we do every year is with my moms family. We have sugar cooking decorating contest. It get’s pretty funny and sometimes cut throat hahahah but all in good fun then my Grandma decides the winner. <y husband is still raining champ.

  51. We go to one of my mom’s sibling’s houses on Christmas eve evening. Around the holiday I get together with my older two siblings, younger sister and my dad for a couple hours. This year though my dad is in the hospital. On Christmas we will be home, then go to my mom’s for a bit. And we were also invited over for Christmas dinner at my bro in laws this year.

  52. I don’t have many.. Spending Christmas morning with my parents and siblings and the rest of the day at my grandparents! It’s gonna be great!! Oh, and on the Tuesday before I am dipping candies and making cookies with my cousins, siblings and grandpa:) We always have fun with that!

  53. Your Christmas letter made me smile. I can understand the appeal of having the decorating done in 20 minutes. For me, the decorating is much more fun than the un-decorating. Both my kids will be home for Christmas (one for two weeks, the other for about a week). We’ll be with other family members several times during Christmas week as well. Our Christmas plans revolve around family. We’ll also attend the 10:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service at our church.

  54. I am having Christmas at the house on Sunday with the two grown daughters and their families. On Christmas Eve, we will be driving to my elderly parents about 4 hours from here and having Christmas with them and some of my aunts and uncles. Love the family part of Christmas!!

    I took notes on your 20 minute decorating! I’m a retailer and this is the busiest time of the year, so anything to cut time, but still get the project complete works for me. I wonder if I can figure out a closet corner?

  55. Hey Mary,

    You’re supposed to downsize when the kids are gone, right?
    Um, no. Somehow my husband and I ended up with an 11 foot tree. I blame it on the Patriots winning last Sunday. He was in a most excellent mood and chose this humongous tree.

    It’s not decorated yet though. Waiting on the daughters for that.

    1. YOU HAVE AN ELEVEN FOOT TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      AND YOU HAVE A ROOM WITH A CEILNG THAT HIGH!!!!!!!!!

      Wow, good for you? My tree is about four feet tall.
      The Patriots are good for the economy. No surprise there. 🙂

  56. Christmas git here so quickly after Thanksgiving thus year! It has been hard to juggle everything for me. We kept decor pretty simple (but not quite as fast as yours)! Usually my mother in law visits but she is having chemotherapy treatments and is not up to the trip. It will be very strange without her here, but we were very blessed to get to visit with her oover Thanksgiving.

    1. Lol!I cannot stand typing on my phone. Makes me look like I can’t spell anything! Thanks for the chance to win.

  57. We will have all 6 of the kids and the 8 grandkids here on Christmas Eve for brunch and gift opening after. They will all go their separate ways later in the afternoon. On Christmas day we will go to town and see our parents. We get together with extended family over the weekend after Christmas.

    1. Six kids and eight grandkids at your house! I hope you’ve started cooking already! 🙂

  58. My Christmas day plans is to go to the country with my 96 year old aunt. She’s been going for over 70 years. Day after Christmas out to eat with my Mom, my son and my beloved aunt and then to Mom’s place to open gifts and play dominoes. My Mom and aunt love to play dominoes. Saturday we go out to eat with a bunch of us and enjoy each other’s company and a good meal. Family are so important to Christmas.

    1. What a great tradition, Mary. I love all these traditions of keepsake ornaments and special food and places and people.

      I’m enjoying it vicariously through all of you nice ladies.

  59. I love your Christmas letter, Mary! Our Christmas will be a bit different this year, as my grandmother will be having surgery the day after Christmas. We will enjoy an abbreviated celebration on Christmas morning. Having my grandmother’s pain alleviated would be the greatest gift this year! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

    1. Britney, I hope your grandma gets through it well. I’ll say a prayer for her and for you.

      1. Thank you so much, Mary! Prayers are greatly appreciated!!

  60. I get to spend Christmas with all my kids this year – first time in a long time! My hubby and I are so excited! Since we are empty nesters, it doesn’t happen often! Also, it’s our first Christmas with our granddaughter (she’s almost 3). She’s always lived 3,000 miles away but now she’s only 850 miles so that’s a lot closer! We are looking forward to all of us being together this Christmas and making lots of memories 🙂

    1. It’s so hard to get them all in one place when they’re grown up with lives of their own. Such a special year for you!!!!

      And 3000 miles? What are they thinking!? That little darling girl needs her GRANDMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Thanks so much for sharing about your family. My husband and I will have a quiet Xmas. We will see our son and grandson. That will be wonderful. I will visit my relatives around this time. We will stay home most of the time and spoil our bichon. We may take a trip to the beach. It is different when the kids are grown.

  62. Great Christmas letter. I just got back from a work Christmas party. It was interesting to interact with my co-workers off the clock. Not many Christmas plans this year, but I’enjoying the season.

  63. Wow, great response to your letter. We haven’t had time to do much planning for Christmas. We have been operating on a day to day schedule for way too long. Thanksgiving got pushed to a Sunday because of the weather. It looks like the same thing is going to happen for Christmas. My husband was in the military, and we discovered along time ago that celebrations are what and when you make them. A holiday or birthday, or whatever is just a date. When you celebrate the event can be flexible.
    We have been so busy with changes in volunteer activities, it has kept us busy. A staff position for handling the armed forces issues at the local Red Cross was eliminated. It is now a volunteer position and mine. Nov. and Dec. are the two busiest months for that and not a good time to try and figure out all that has to be done. I am still doing fire response and just got back from one about 15 minutes ago.
    Not sure we will get a tree up this year. I have a few small ones around I may get out. My husband has been trying to find time to put up the big wreath outside, but he is a postal clerk and they have never been busier. He is just too tired to do much of anything in the
    We’ll be together celebrating and that iw what counts.
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season.

  64. So nice to hear what’s going on with you all! We are staying here and having a nice quiet Christmas at home.

  65. I plan on gathering all of my family around me.

    I doubt our Christmas tree would fit in the cupboard. We could try.

  66. The plan is to stay home and enjoy time together as a family.

  67. I have lots of ornaments, etc. Each year I had different ornament with grandson’s picture on it. He loves looking at them. Now we have 4 grandkids. Also have a day care in my home (34 years) so every year the kids do a group picture in front of the tree (any where from 7 to 14 kids—depending on the year.). Also have outside nativity, horse & sleigh, trees decorated etc. Every year I say it is too much but the kids love it. I have the outdoor lights on 2 automatic timers and an inside push remote for my blow up snowman. Works great. I do wish I had a genie to blink & set it all up though. I absolutely love all your books, Mary.

  68. Hello Mary. Our Christmas plans changed a little this year. Instead of gathering at one of my kid’s home, we are to have a split day at two grand’s homes. Not sure how I will like the moving around. But, the most important thing is that I get to see most of my family at this time of year. I have a big family. GOD has surely blessed me. Would love to win a book from you Mary. GOD bless.
    Thanks! > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  69. I will be spending Christmas with the five youngest of my eleven Grandchildren. The others are scattered all over the states.

  70. My hubby had surgery, which went very well, so we’re spending the holiday at home and very quietly. No drama with his sisters this year!!!

  71. We will have all but one of our children and their families over for Christmas Eve, as well as my parents, my mother in law, sister in law, her friend, and maybe my brother in law and his friend. It will be a very full house, but we love it! Alas, we do have to share our children with their in laws. Christmas Day itself will be much more low key.

  72. We will be celebrating Christmas on Dec. 27..with our 2 children and spouses and 5 grandchildren..

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