A Pioneer Christmas–and Book Giveaway


a pioneer christmas

A Pioneer Christmas Collection!

  (Tell us about your most interesting or unusual Christmas and you could win a book)

“Paying twenty-five dollars for me was your mistake, ma’am. I’m not worth more than fifteen.” Margaret’s story   


When Barbour Publishing announced they were looking for novellas for A Pioneer Christmas Collection, they had just a few parameters: the story needed to take place between the 1700s to the late 1800s, have a pioneer experience, and celebrate Christmas in a unique dwelling.

The stories that appear in A Pioneer Christmas Collection certainly meet that criterion.

Ranging in time slots from Shannon McNear’s lead-off Revolutionary War story, to Michelle Ule’s final tale of the 1897 Alaskan gold rush, the novellas sweep across North American locales both familiar and little known.

Shannon McNear portrays a surprising romance between a militiaman loyal to the Crown hiding after a battle in which his side lost, and a young woman patriot in charge of her siblings when her father goes to fight in Defending Truth. “People were all just struggling to live their lives, and the politics were as upsetting and confusing as today.”

Celebrating Christmas in the cave where her hero was hiding,seemed a terrific idea, and certainly a unique one.

Kathleen Fuller has often driven past her setting for The Calling: the Unionville Tavern in northeast Ohio. “Once I found out the tavern was a stagecoach shop [in the early 19th century], I immediately came up with the idea of a traveler stopping at the tavern on a regular basis.”  In The Calling, the traveler is a young man convinced he’s called to preach to those heading west, rather than the settled east. It’s the tavern keeper’s daughter who catches a vision of who he really is.

How many of you have spent Christmas in a tavern?

Several writers deliberately sought often over-looked times and places.  Anna Urquhart had seldom heard of pioneers traveling by water and examined the opening of the Erie Canal in 1830’s which led to settlements in Michigan Territory. A Silent Night actually begins in Edinburgh, Scotland and follows the challenges of making a life in the big woods of the upper Midwest.

The drama of a marriage lost and found is played out over Christmas in a barn beside a smoldering cabin.

A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley takes readers to a spot most of us think we know—or do we? When a vigorous young woman goes in search of her long-lost express-riding brother, she saves a man from outlaws and drives him to help her search. Set during the Civil War era, A Pony Express Christmas leads us eventually to Chimney Rock where she finds something totally unexpected.

What happened to those Pony Express stations and could they make an abandoned spot a holiday site?

A Christmas Castle by Cynthia Hickey features a mail order bride who arrives in post-Civil War Arizona to discover her intended dead and a small child needing a mother. With outlaws trying to run her off her “inheritance,” she struggles with the help of a handsome neighbor to keep her land. Somehow she’s able to fashion a Christmas celebration in a virtual hole in the ground.

Who knew it could snow in Arizona in the winter? Have you ever had to cram a too-big Christmas tree into a too-small room?

Lauraine Snelling returns to an area familiar to her readers in The Cowboy’s Angel, set in 1875 Dakota Territory. With her long-overdue husband miles away seeking supplies, a pregnant woman is forced to give birth with a stranger in attendance. Snow socked them into a half-built claim with the farm animals a thin wall away.

Using meager resources in a rough home, a woman finds cause to be thankful. How often have you had to “make do” for Christmas?

 Marcia Gruver takes us to sophisticated 1885 New York City in A Badlands Christmas, though we don’t stay there long. Inspired by the adventures of Theodore Roosevelt in the town of Medora, A Badlands Christmas shows the contrasts between festive scenes in the city and a Christmas spent in a dilapidated sod house in the middle of a brutal Dakota Territory winter.

While you may have dealt with the weather outside being frightful on December 25, were you half under the ground?

Buckskin Bride by Vickie McDonough introduces us to a capable but desperate young woman who is more comfortable in buckskin than calico. She and her sisters are squatters on land the hero won in the 1889 Oklahoma land run. The handsome Irish landowner is kind but dare she trust him when her father warned her to avoid all men? With Christmas approaching, her father missing, and young sister injured, will she and her sisters spend Christmas alone in their tipi?

Have you ever spent Christmas in a tent?

In The Gold Rush Christmas, Michelle Ule takes her trio to 1897 Skagway, Alaska where they meant to enjoy the season in the newly-constructed Union Church. Searching for a missionary father, however, lands them in a Tlingit cedar-planked long house for a lesson in how to present the gospel in a way anyone could understand.

Who can beat salmon for Christmas dinner, even if eaten off a plank?

 Interested in Christmas spent in novel ways, surprising settings, heroes and heroines filled with love and pluck? Why not try the nine stories found in A Pioneer Christmas Collection?

My thanks goes to Michelle Ule for writing this blog.

Tell us about your most unusual Christmas and you could win a copy of A Pioneer Christmas Collection.


Order from your favorite bookstore or Click Cover.

This book will make the perfect hostess, teacher or  party  gift!

a pioneer christmas

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130 thoughts on “A Pioneer Christmas–and Book Giveaway”

  1. Growing up we had lots of fun and interesting Christmases but I think the best one was when my husband asked me to marry him at Cinderella’s castle at Disney Land! It may sound cheesy but it was so romantic and unexpected! My fiancé at the time had come with my family and I to visit my relatives in CA. When he found out that we would be going to Disneyland the day after Christmas he had it all planed. He told me all this after the fact 🙂 Anyway he hid the ring in his back pack that he had been carrying all day through Disney Land. At one point I asked him if he wanted me to help carry it and all of a sudden got possessive of the back pack and wouldn’t let me carry it 🙂 As the day at the park ended we were trying to find a spot in front of the castle to watch the firework show. We finally found a spot that we had to squeeze to get to but it was right in front! As we waited for the show to start he pulled something out of the back pack and gave it to me. It was these 12 boxes that went from big to small. I asked him what it was but he just told me to read the letter on the fronts of the box lids. So as I read this beautiful letter about what our lives would be together in the future and how much he loved me I was getting very excited. I thought I knew what was coming getting to the smaller boxes but as I got the smallest box hoping there was going to be a ring in there it was actually a tiny piece of paper! I was very confused. Anyway I turned to look at him but he just stood there holding me from behind and asked me to open the little piece of paper. So as I did he written on there a riddle. The main part of the riddle that I remembered said “what is red that you wear on your head” at this point I had no idea what he was talking about and thought he might be going a little crazy 🙂 But as I finished that line of the riddle he brought out a cute small white teddy bear with a red Santa hat on his head and that very moment I looked at the Santa hat I saw my diamond sticking out of the bottom of the hat and the fireworks went off!! As most women during this time in their lives I started to cry and because there was no room to kneel he held me tight and asked me to marry him! (I said yes!) We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary!

  2. Some of my childhood Christmas’s were a bit unusual with all the travels from one family place to the next.

  3. I’ve had lots of memorable Christmases, but a special on was in 1997–my youngest daughter was due Christmas day, but I had her a week early and was able to be home for Christmas. I remember my mom holding her while I helped my other two children open presents, my husband took pictures, and my dad sat back and watched everything, beaming. It was a wonderful time!

  4. I remember going to the department store with my mother. This particular trip I was probably four years old. As we went around a a rack of clothes, there, on a high shelf sat the prettiest baby doll I had ever seen. I wanted her so badly but my mother said that maybe Santa would bring it. I left the store very disappointed but Christmas morning, that same baby doll was setting under the Christmas tree. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Well, that was over fifty years ago and I still have that baby doll that I have loved dearly. And so much better than that, I still have my mother and daddy with me. Both in their eighties, I am truly blessed!

  5. We spent one memorable Christmas traveling to Tucson. We left Milwaukee and ended up circling O’Hare Airport for two hours due to inclement weather. The weather wrecked havoc everywhere so the plane to Tucson didn’t arrive. Much, much later we ended up in Phoenix and still didn’t have a way to get to Tucson. I spent the night at an airport hotel. Not my idea of a Christmas with family and friends. I will no longer fly into Chicago for any reason.

  6. this book sounds like good reading!
    Christmas is not the same after you grow up, although in ways with your kids it’s better–in a different way. I think if we continue to see Christmas through kids eyes, we will still enjoy it.

  7. We have had so many memorable Christmas’s in my family. But I think some of my favs were the 1st Christmas’s when my nieces and nephews were babies.. The first time they see the Christmas trees lit up and all the holiday decorations. Such preciouses memories.

  8. Several memorable Christmases come to mind but I want to share about one that our family will always remember. We were unemployed and had very little in the way of material things. Knowing that presents and a tree are not what Christmas is really about we explained to our children the financial position we were in, which three of the four were very aware of, and they were such troopers. Then on Christmas Eve we received a call from an older couple from our church. They said we needed to come over to their house, they had something for us, but not to bring the children. Off we go, 45 minutes away on Christmas Eve…oh I was a little irritated. But when we got there, our friends explained that a childless couple (not from our church) had asked about providing for a family in need and our friends told them about us. I have tears now even thinking back on that Christmas. The Lord didn’t have to provide gifts for our children but he did. There were four huge black garbage bags full of gifts. Each bag for a different child and we had a big age range from 17-4. And our friends gave us a ham with all the fixin’s for our Christmas dinner. On the way home we passed a little store that was getting ready to close and there was a Charlie Brown looking tree sitting lonely at the corner of building. My husband stopped and asked if it was for sale. We’ll never forget that scrawny tree top that the man sold us for 10 dollars. It was a humbling experience but the Lord taught us that even when something seems inconsequential (like gifts and a tree at Christmas) he cares for us. And yes, we pay it forward every year!

  9. I have many Christmas memories. But the most unusual memory I can remember on Christmas Day happened when I was about seven years old. My mom worked as head of housekeeping at a nursing home and had to work the morning shift. Her place of work was kind enough to let her bring me in on Christmas morning so I could still be with my mom along with a few other children my age whose mom’s worked there also. The nursing home brought in a Santa Claus Christmas morning to pass out gifts to the elderly people (and my mom even made sure there was one under that tree for me). The Santa Claus passed out the gifts and was ready to leave when something happened. I was too young at the time to know exactly what happened but later learned that the Santa Claus had a seizure in the doorway as he was leaving the building. The ambulance came and Santa Claus was taken to the hospital. That’s an unusual Christmas memory that I will never ever forget.

    Pioneer Christmas looks like an excellent read and is on my must read list. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great looking book.

  10. Katie, what a scary experience! I can’t imagine what must have gone through your mind as you watched Santa being carted away in an ambulance.

    I just love reading all these stories!

  11. I guess the most unusual Christmas I had was when my son was a police officer. He was on duty, but unless there was a call, he could go to the house, so he was in and out all day. He came back one time bright red because he had to intervene in a father/son fight and had to use pepper spray. I am so thankful that our Christmases are so much more peaceful and focused on the real meaning of the season.

  12. I remember as a young child sitting in the hallway at the top of the steps with several of my brothers and sisters waiting for ‘daddy’ to come home. Christmas was not a holiday at the cab company where my Dad worked. They were so very strict and he worked long hours to support all of us (9 siblings, mom and dad and my grandmother). Once Dad arrived back home with his cab, Mom allowed us to come down stairs to see what Santa had left under the tree for us. Mom and Dad watched and tried to keep a bit of order. Once the gifts were all opened, we had a big breakfast together in the dining room. Eventually, Dad would have to leave and go back to work. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that Dad could have been fired for spending those happy few hours with us. What wonderful Christmases we all had together. What a wonderful family we had.

  13. One memorable Christmas for me was one that I spent in Scotland. Newly married to a Scotsman, we went over to the Highlands to spend Christmas with his side of the family. It was my first Christmas away from my family–and we have lots of traditions in my family that made it hard to be away–but the Scottish have some amazing Christmas traditions as well, like a 7 course dinner culminating in flaming Christmas pudding and bellowing bagpipes! It is a thing to behold, and was truly memorable for me.

  14. My favorite Christmases were when we went skiing in Colorado. Coming from Arizona where we had no snow, it was great.

  15. I can’t wait to read this one!!! Thanks for the synopsis and details. My most interesting Christmas was when my husband and I drove to Nebraska from California to spend it with my in-laws. I missed being with my own family, but that year they were spread all over the country too. My sister (who married my husband’s brother) flew her 90 lb black lab to Omaha as well, fretting the whole time about him. My husband’s family are loud people, so there was lots of drama and exclamations the whole time. Different than what I was used to, but they are good people.

  16. The Christmas that comes to mind is the year I got my new bicycle. Up until then, I’d had to ride my brother’s battered old bike. When we awoke to brand new 1960 model Schwinns under the tree, we didn’t bother to open anything else. We rushed outside and hopped on, grinning back at our parents as we raced to the nearby elementary school where we liked to ride. As we roared onto the grounds, we didn’t notice the chain stretched over the drive. The bikes stayed on one side and we went airborne, landing in a scratched and battered heap on the other side. Who knew those bikes came with flying lessons?

  17. Anna, you are a brave, brave soul! In case some of you don’t know, haggis is a combination of minced heart, liver and lungs of a sheep or calf and boiled in the animal’s stomach.

  18. Hi Heidi, it’s always hard being away for Christmas. My daughter in law is from Okinawa and is very quiet and reserved. She was really intimidated by our loud family at first, but I think she’s used to us by now.

  19. Ho, ho, Marcia (another Pioneer Christmas author whose snowy tale is sure to delight!) You bicycle story sure did bring back memories. It wasn’t that long ago that seeing a new bike under the tree was the best. Most kids today would rather have tech stuff. Boo hoo!

  20. My most memorable Christmas was the one the year I moved out of my parents home for the first time. I lived with a roommate, and we’d both gotten puppies a month before Christmas. We had our tree up–decorated with blue and gold silk bulbs my parents had given me because we didn’t have enough money to buy our own decorations. I remember coming home to a disaster area. The puppies had gotten out of their pen, attacked the Christmas tree, which had fallen over, and they’d shredded the silk bulbs. Filaments of blue and gold silk covered the couch, the carpets in three rooms and just about everything else. Those naughty puppies sure had a good time but did we ever have a mess to clean up. My parents came through again with a new tree and more decorations. Bless them.

  21. Our most interesting Christmas was the one our newborn daughter spent in ICU after contracting bacterial meningitis four days before. It turned out to be the best Christmas ever when the doctors all declared her “fine and perfect” that day, and that she’d recover fully with no residual damage!

    Great post, Margaret.

  22. I loved to go Christmas shopping with my Mom. Now it is me making memories with my children. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday. We would go shopping and decorate the house for her.

  23. One Christmas my family was living in Saudi Arabia! THAT was interesting! Another Christmas I was living in Guatemala and it is traditional to eat tamales. I visited about 10 people that day and had to eat tamales at every house! It’s been over 30 years but every time I see a tamale, I still think of that Christmas!

  24. Hi Vickie (another Pioneer Christmas writer! You won’t want to miss her enchanting story of Christmas in a tipi)

    Laughing at your puppy tale, Vickie. Our cat once pulled our Christmas tree down, but we were able to save the decorations.

  25. One memorable Christmas was the one I spent alone in my pj’s watching tv and reading. I enjoyed the “me” time.

  26. LeAnn, what a lovely memory. People complain that Christmas is too commercial but I disagree. Some of my happiest memories are of shopping with friends and family and finding the perfect gift for loved ones. Shopping is really a great way to bond.

  27. Hi Vairi, you really have had some memorable Christmases.

    My next door neighbor always brings tamales over for Christmas. I’m not that fond of tamales but they sure beat fruitcake!

  28. Nothing truly unusual for my family… just on two occasions we were on a cruise for Christmas… it was great… upscale eating, entertainment… one time we even went to an island on Christmas day and the whole island was actual shut down for the holiday… no shops to visit… we wondered why they even took us there…

  29. I don’t think I’ve ever had an unusual Christmas. I know my saddest was when my husband was in Vietnam but at least I had my family to celebrate with.

  30. Back in the 1960’s, our parents and 8 of their friends, took their families to a resort outside of Rockville, IL for a post Christmas holiday. Imagine waiting on a table of about 15-25 children of ages from 7 to 19… We were probably their worst nightmare come to life! But the resort had swimming pools, ice rink, all kinds of stuff.. Must have been a good year for all the dads to afford this!
    I do remember Mom saying that the first year or so after we moved back to my dad’s home town, Christmas gifts were limited.. He was just getting started selling real estate. But you know, none of us remember that part of it..

  31. Mt most memorable Christmas was Christmas Eve in 1965, when I found out my husband and I were expecting a baby! 47 years later, I have an amazing son, who i love dearly!

  32. Catslady, I guess that would be the saddest–for your husband too. Back then there were no cell phones or Internet so soldiers really were isolated–families too. How times have changed!

  33. The one that stands out for me was just last year. My son and daughter in law and grandson are missionaries in Ecuador and could not get back for the holidays so skype was the best we could do. We were opening their presents to us when my other son handed me an envelope. In it was a picture with my daughter in law and grandson who had a very surprised look on his face. On the bottom was written Merry Christmas Grandparents of…4!! I screamed very loud and of course cried. It was a very special way to announce a new blessing. August 7, our newest grand daughter arrived. Still have not held her and it may not be till February but still feel blessed.

  34. My husband and I were married going on 25 years ago on Dec. 23rd, so we spent our first Christmas at a bed and breakfast on the Washington coast. It was strange for us, both coming from large families, to be surrounded by people we didn’t know, but it was cozy and wonderful at the same time. We found a Christmas Eve service in the little town to attend, then enjoyed a delicious dinner with a group of strangers afterwards. It was a really romantic and memorable way to start off together. Looking forward to this new book.

  35. What nifty Christmas stories so far! My most memorable Christmas was one from my childhood. I was six or seven, and so excited that I woke up at 3 AM to see what Santa had brought. My mom, who was camping out in the LR with my dad because of the cold (who remembers the days of shutting off extra rooms to conserve energy??), woke up and joined me. I don’t remember much except for a toy guitar and a child-size record player with a handful of story and song 45’s. (I still have them … !) I do remember my mom’s shining eyes and smile as I played one of the records (quietly, we didn’t want to wake my dad) and exclaimed over everything. 🙂

  36. Hi Shannon, you sure did bring back memories having to shut off extra rooms. I also recall sleeping in the park because it was too hot to sleep in the house. Getting back to Christmas, I remember my kiddies waking at three or four in the morning to see what Santa had left. I give your mother credit for having shining eyes. I’m pretty sure my eyes were red and dull as I watched my children open presents.

  37. I LOVE Christmas and have had so many memorable ones that I don’t know which to choose. One tat jumped into my thoughts happened when I was very little. Because my Grandmother’s birthday was on Christmas the whole extended family gathered for a gift exchange and party at my grandfather’s house. My mother was one of 11 children and most of them live nearby so it was a big crowd! MY uncles took turns playing Santa but this particular year my eldest aunt decided she wanted to be Santa. Imagine a petite Santa who try as she might could not stop her high pitched giggle. What fun!

  38. Would love to win a copy of this book.

    I too have many memorable or unusual Christmas’. One that still brings a chuckle is when my sister, brother and I were young we had an artificial Christmas tree. It was silver tinsel tree that had a stand with colored lights in the stand. The tree went around in circles and the colored lights changed as it turned. A couple days before Christmas my mother decided to get the bee-be gun, I think it was, out and started shooting the Christmas balls off the tree. It sat right in front of the living room picture window and she did not hit the window. My siblings and I thought that was kinda neat. Not sure why she decided to do that.

    Blessings, Tina

  39. My most unusual Christmas was getting to spend it in Hawaii one year and it just isn’t the same without snow. It seemed really weird.

  40. What interesting stories! I cannot wait to read more. Most of my Christmas memories are about my family. Sometimes we would go to my aunt’s house in NY to see all of my Dad’s family, or other times we would drop by one of my Mom’s sister’s house. Lately though, we haven’t been doing much of anything. What I would love for my Christmas present is to see my oldest brother again. He lives in Florida and we haven’t seen him in four years. He has been through so much…I remember Christmas being my favorite time because my big sister came home from college. Now, my older brothers look forward to when I come home from college for Christmas break..and so do I! I would have to say that my favorite part of Christmas cannot be explained in words.It lies within..music.. the wonder of Christmas, Christmas movies watched throughout the years, ornaments with stories behind them, our Christmas customs, and special times spent together. God has been so good.:)

  41. When Burger King was still open we would go there on Christmas where you could eat for free(real food too). Perhaps it may sound unusual to some, but a few of my best Christmases were spent there in such good company. We were also at our neighbors for Christmas one year, I believe.We also always go as a family to Kraynak’s during Christmastime. It brings back so many special memories.

  42. I don’t think it’s wierd, but the “worst” Christmas I ever spent was one when I was so sick I couldn’t get off the sofa or out of bed. I would get strep throat and be so very ill with it every year. It so happened that that year, I had it during Christmas and had to miss out all the Christmas activities both in my own home and with my family.

  43. wow, what a lot of great comments. so many stories to be told or shared. Thanks to Michelle and now to you also Margaret for kicking this off. I love the title petticoats and pistols.

    Since I love writing Christmas novella A Cowboy’s Angel was a delight, also because I finally got to write a story with an angel in it. I am honored to be part of this anthology. And BTW, I am grateful I never had to spend Christmas on the plains in sod house. Well, I’m not sorry at all to not have lived in one at any time.
    blessings to all,

  44. We’ve been blessed with many very ordinary Christmases, but that’s a gift in itself 🙂 Maybe the year my younger brother was 2 and managed to knock the entire (already decorated) tree down might count as off the wall? 😉

  45. I can’t think of an unusual Christmas other than the one where I was supposed to host the family for dinner but I was sick. I had already done a lot of the dinner ahead of time so I just sent it up to their house, we didn’t live far away. This anthology sounds wonderful!

  46. One of my favorite memories of my maternal grandfather is when I was about 8 and we went on a road trip to visit cousins in New York. I sat in the back seat listening to my grandparents converse, until my grandfather put on some music. I remember marvelling at the view of Lady Liberty from the bridge. I remember laughing as I realized that my grandfather was listening to Michael Jackson’s song “Bad”… We had a sweet Christmas trip.

  47. I came from a large family and our Christmas’s were loud and boistorus..the ones that stand out were when I married and my southern Mother-in-law had us all go from house to house of family in Savannah and deliver gifts and visit each family. I had not done this before.
    “Southern Hospitality”

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

  48. My sweetest Christmas was my first as a married woman. My new husband wanted to make sure he bought me just the right gift but wanted to surprise me as well. I made out a list of things I liked and made it long to give him options. On Christmas morning I woke up to boxes and boxes of presents for me. He’d bought me everything on the list!

  49. It was in the late 60’s and my Uncle was the men’s dorm manager of a college in California, as well as the sports equipment manager. All the students were home for Christmas, so our whole family (more than 50 of us) laid out sleeping bags in the Student Union and stayed 3 days and nights. We used the gym for volleyball, basketball, etc. as well as the showers! It was chaotic on Christmas morning to say the least! But it was loads of fun!

  50. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we had lots of love. We would sing, dance, play games and mom would make snow ice cream. We always went to Christmas Eve Service and were given an orange and candy by Santa, who turned out to be my daddy.

  51. My most memorable Christmas was just a few years ago. We had moved from TX to MO in August. I had no friends and didn’t know anyone. Dec 22 I had my third child and went home on Dec 24. After all the kids were in the bed, my husband and I stayed up til 1 am for Santa to arrive. We got up at 7 the next morning and prepared Christmas dinner for his family. Turkey and all the fixins. I’ll never forget that Christmas. I didn’t get to spend it with my family and my dad passed away less than a month later.

  52. HI Lauraine, (Lauraine Snelling is another Pioneer Christmas writer and after reading her angel story all I can say is WRITE MORE ANGELS!)

    I wouldn’t mind living in a soddie as long as it wi-fi and a modern bathroom. So now you know what kind of pioneer I would have made!

  53. I don’t know about unusual. But I remember times on the farm when both sides of the family and friends were there. It was bursting at the seams and a great time. Before that we’d do Santa presents early then go to eat set of grandparents for a big meal. Eating all day. And we were tiny kids. 🙂

  54. One of my most memorable Christmases was in the late 60’s. I was the oldest of 4 kids with only 1 brother.
    My mom had a “Christmas closet” that was off limits for us kids as it was where she hid our presents.
    One year, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to take a peak so when no one else was home, I took a look. To my amazement, I found the exact coat I had been envying – brown knee length with a fur collar. I tried it on and it fit – PERFECTLY! I was so excited!!!
    On Christmas morning, all of us were excited to find out what Santa had brought us below our stockings. We ran into the living room where I discovered that the coat that I had thought was mine, REALLY was for my sister!! Now I had to act excited for my own gift and for my sister’s gift. That was pretty difficult.
    Believe me – I never have gone snooping again! Learned that lesson the hard way!

  55. The most unusual Christmas would be the one where I was surrounded by people I didn’t know and still felt the Christmas cheer. Also, working the night shift on Christmas Eve into Christmas morning was unusual but fun since I got to be the first one up to say Merry Christmas!

  56. One Christmas when I was a kid we kids were all worried because we didn’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down. We were assured that it would not be a problem. One Christmas eve we went out to dinner. When we got back my dad didn’t have a key to get into the apartment. The apartment was left unlocked so “Santa” could get in and deliver the presents. Apparently He locked the door when he left. ASll was well once we finally got into the apartment.

  57. I think our most interesting (but not fun) Christmas was this past one where my daughter passed out at church when she was altar serving. She gashed her chin open, and earned a trip on the ambulance and spent the day in the ER. We didn’t get our family time in until about 8 p.m. with her completely groggy from the sedation. I don’t want to repeat that again!

  58. I Don’t think this was my favorite Christmas but it was memorable. We would always visit my aunt who lived a 1 1/2 hours away for Christmas Eve. Tradition was that we would eat dinner and then open presents. For some reason we opened presents first. My uncle had a snowmobile and my Dad went with him before dinner to have a ride. Well, my father broke his leg on that ride. Christmas Eve wasn’t the same the rest of the evening. I can’t even remember dinner. My Dad was in the hospital for the whole Christmas season. It made it clear to me that the holiday season was more than just presents. Family together makes the season bright.

  59. I think most of mine was when I was young. We would go to my grandmother’s house every Christmas. Now mind you my grandmother had 12 children and over fifty grandchildren and they didn’t have much money. She would have a gift for everyone. I guess she saved all year to do this. All the grandchildren got a little piggy bank with twenty five pennies in it every year. The men all got a pair of socks and the women got a dish towel. I think back how this women must have saved all year to do this. As kids we didn’t think much about these penny banks but as I got older they really meant something to me.

  60. There have been many Christmases, and some memorable Christmases too. I remember one very unusual Christmas when I was in Jr High at the time maybe even younger. My family went to spend Christmas with both sides of the Family, my mom and dads. Each grandparents were different.
    Christmas eve came and went, and then it was Christmas Morning. We opened presents with my mother’s parents enjoyed a little Christmas lunch. Yet when we got to my dad’s mom and dad and my cousins who live about an hour away, all their Christmas gifts were already open, and they couldn’t wait for us. So in essence the most unusual Christmas was opening gifts with family staring and saying ohh and awwwing.

  61. I remember one Christmas Eve went to church with friends and family and the next morning, I woke-up and couldn’t get out of bed I was in so much pain, I was buckled over so my mom called for the ambulance, my brothers who were like 11yrs. old thought I ruined Christmas and I was crying and so I was rushed to the hospital, had all kinds of X-rays taken and it was Gall stones, so all I could eat was jello and toast. Its wasn’t the best Christmas, and I felt bad even though my brothers opened their presents and mine.

  62. I have two favorites, the first is when I was little and we got to got on a LONG bus trip (we never got to go on vacations because our parents were divorced and my mom didn’t have money for that) from South Sioux City, NE to Joplin, MO to she my great aunts and my great uncle and his family.

    The second is when my husband and I lived in Florida and all of our kids and six grandkids lived in Nebraska. We pulled off the best Christmas gift we could have given our family. I told them that our phone was not working (which it wasn’t when I told them that) and they’d have to call me on my cell. I made sure they would all be together on Christmas Eve so when it got dark we had Santa Bags to leave on the porch, knock and run. Well we just about got caught so we hurried out of the driveway and they thought someone was trying to break into the cars so my son came out to wait and see if the vehicle would come back, which we did. When we pulled into the driveway again, he came walking out from between two cars, when I rolled my window down he was speechless and was going to run in to tell everyone. We told him no and gave him the Santa bags to take in and tell them that he found them outside, one bag for each family. We sat in the driveway and waited, they couldn’t figure it out until they saw the home made beef jerky then we had grandkids running outside in 15″s of snow, no coats, shoes on the wrong feet and many, many tears of joy!


  63. I have had so many unusual Christmases, too many to retell here. But I can share one at least.

    The first Christmas after my husband and I got married, we were living in an apartment in Northern Minnesota. We had spent our Christmas budget on gifts for our extended family and decorations for our first real Christmas together. Our apartment was cheerful with candles lit and cinnamon and cranberry smells wafting throughout. Our tree was decorated with cute little penguin ornaments and we had Christmas music playing. It was perfect, except we forgot to buy gifts for each other. Oops. We were bored and frustrated. So we bundled up and headed outside, we were going shopping. We unplugged the car and climbed inside, out of the freezing MN winds. And we headed to town. Of course it was dark outside and there was ice on the road, but we had a mission, we needed to buy gifts for each other on our first real Christmas. We drove down main street and discovered, It is Christmas evening, there are no stores open tonight. They are all at home celebrating with one another like normal people. The only store we found open was the grocery store. So we stopped, split up and desperately searched the aisles for something fitting for a Christmas gift. We took our purchases to the register and didn’t let each other peak. Of course it had started snowing while we were in the store, so we drove home in the dark, with snow coming at us and ice underneath us. We got home and sat in the living room together. I said, “should we wrap them?” My husband said, “why bother, we are going to open them in 10 minutes?” So we just sat there feeling silly, each holding a plastic shopping bag of odds and ends. Finally we exchanged our meager gifts, and I don’t even remember what they were. LOL But we celebrated our first real Christmas as a married couple. 🙂

    I would be blessed to read your book. My email address is GlamorousLooks[at]live[dot]com


  64. It was a great Christmas because we were safe, happy, and had each other. My mother, sisters, and I had escaped an abusive situation with my stepfather and now my mother was facing a first Christmas as a single mother racing 3 daughters alone. We didn’t know it but she couldn’t give us a Christmas that year. We knew one present already wrapped under the tree from our aunt who had sent us the Sears and Roebuck catalog during the summer and said pick out anything you want. I was getting Larry the talking lion. You pulled a string and he said a phrase. My sisters and I stayed up sharing an old borrowed cast iron bed, talking into the wee hours of the morning with a full moon casting it’s light on the bed wondering what Santa would bring. Santa did come brought by my cousin and his wife. We didn’t know it then. But I got clothes for my Barbie Doll, a nurse outfit for one because I wanted to be a nurse. I look back and thank God for family who cared that 3 little girls had a Christmas and kept my mother from seeing disappointment in her girls faces and instead allowed her to enjoy Christmas too. Best of all it was a great Christmas to me because we were free from fear. So most of all I give God the glory for that Christmas but because of the first Christmas when He loved us first and made us able to be truly free.

  65. I can’t say I have had an unusual Christmas….all the Christmas’s I have had were always wonderful! I know one Christmas I did something different….I made Hot Apple Cider, and store bought cookies that I set up on a table outside in front of my house. I started to pass hot apple cider and cookies to everyone who passed by and wished them a Merry Christmas. It felt good to do something little for other people. I will always remember that…I might continue the tradition after I get settled in my next house.

  66. When I think about an unusual Christmas, I remember the year that my parents put only a few Christmas presents under the tree for my brother and I. After opening the few presents, we realized that one of the gifts had mysteriously disappeared. We then went on a hunt around the house to find it. When we opened the back door that lead to the basement, low and behold we found a huge box full of Christmas presents. My parents wanted to see if my brother and I would be thankful for the small amount of gifts under the tree since we were about to move to Bible College and my family would be struggling quite a bit financially. I’m happy to say my brother and I passed with flying colors. Christmas was about celebrating Christ and being with family. Such great memories!

  67. Amanda, I’m so glad you and your brother passed the test! I remember Christmas when my husband had been out of work for quite some time. I think my kiddies got oranges and socks that year and not one complained. That was my proudest moment as a parent.

  68. My most unusual Christmas was when “3” Santa Clauses showed up at our house at the same time – my parents tried to tell my sisters & I that they were Santa & his helpers but we knew Santa’s helpers were elves! 🙂

  69. This is going to be a delightful book. I love anthologies and those set at Christmas time are favorites.

    My first unusual Christmas was my first one away from home. I was in the Peace Corps on the other side of the world and discovered how differently the holiday can be celebrated. It was not the big deal it is here in this country. It is a religious day, but the big family get togethers I was used to and the general sense of peace and joy was missing.
    My grandmother had baked me a Sugar Cream Pie, a family specialty and my favorite. She mailed it to me and amazingly enough it got there in good shape and in time for Christmas. The pie is basically cooked sugar, butter, and cream. I spent the day in my bedroom a little lonely, missing all the chaos of a big family Christmas celebration. I ate the entire pie over the course of the day. There must have been a million calories in it and I enjoyed everyone. Each bite brought back a special memory of family Christmases past. That pie was the best Christmas present I ever got.

    The first Christmas we were married was memorable, too, thanks to the Vietnam War. But that is a story for another time.

  70. About 3 years ago my Dad’s side of the family decided to get out of our regular Christmas setting and rent a cabin in the Smokey Mountains for Christmas. This seemed like a grand idea to everyone… Until it snowed over 12 inches and we were stuck in the cabin! By the third day we all had to get out of that cabin! We all got in groups, got in separate vehicles, and went different directions. By the time we all got back that night, we were over our cabin fever and ready to have more fun together! Lol. We rode sleds, we played games, we Facebook messaged each other from across the room… Haha. It was great to have that experience with my family and by the end of the trip we had all decided the following things:
    1. We cannot all live together in the same house. It is just not happening.
    2. Two bathrooms is not enough for 12+ people!
    And 3. We might have all complained a lot about it, but i think with a little persuasion we would all be willing to do it again. 🙂

  71. This may sound weird, but the most unusual Christmas I had was one I had to spend by myself. A few days before Christmas, I suddenly became very ill. The doctor hospitalized me and I had a minor procedure, so I had to stay a few days. My Mother and I had plans to go to my brother’s lake house for Christmas. I couldn’t make the trip, but I told Mom to please go. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren were expecting her. I would be all right. I did feel lonely,but at midnight I sat down with my Bible and read the beautiful Christmas story and prayed for my family, friends, church, and etc. The Lord wrapped His arms around me and I felt at peace and in the presence of the Lord that Christmas like I’ve never felt before. I’m very thankful for that special Christmas!!

  72. In 1994, my first husband and I got called to the Branson, MO, area on business. It was an extended business trip, lasting several months. We left in October and returned two days before Christmas. The day before Christmas, we had to rush out and attempt to find gifts for our closest family members, as well as inexpensive ornaments and a tree. We must have gone to three or four tree lots looking for a tree in the price range we could afford to spend (we were married only a year at the time, and had little money to spend). After the fourth tree lot we visited, we finally ended up with the homeliest of trees, reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s tree. We went to the craft store and bough a few supplies, MADE some equally homely ornaments, and stayed up half the night wrapping gifts in whatever wrapping paper we could find (be it Valentines/birthday/Christmas papers). We weren’t even sure we’d be home to celebrate with family, so we were thankful for being able to pull it all together, homely or not!

  73. We went to a relative’s house, which was about 1/2 hr drive. We were there late afternoon till about 8 & had no idea it was snowing. When we had gotten there, the ground was clear. We left in a blizzard! It took 1 1/2 hrs to get home!

  74. One of my most memorable Christmases was when I went to visit my parents. They lived on a farm in the snow belt.
    We sat down to eat dinner and it started to flurry outside, which was so nice since there wasn’t any snow on the ground.
    By the time we finished dessert there were over 5 inches of snow on the ground and it was coming down hard.
    I ended up having to stay there and miss a couple days of work until the roads became passable again.
    It turned out to be a fun time of family bonding and fellowship.

  75. My most unusual Christmas was as a child in Germany. My grandmother played Santa that year and first she was with us and then she “disappeared”. But at the same time “Sankt Nikolaus” appeared. He was a sight for sore eyes! But! Where was Oma? So then Sankt Nikolaus leaves and moments later Oma reappears. I was perplexed and commented. Oma if you leave again, will Sankt Nikolaus come back??? Oma was a bit uncomfortable with the question. But somehow she convinced me that she had been busy for a while. After that my parents chose a non-relative that was not “running in and out” in the middle of the festivities.

  76. The Christmas it snowed and my daughter took our dog for a walk and he pulled her down and broke her ankle.My husband went to get her and came back through the door and fell on his knees and grab his head.I had to call an ambulance for them both.Thought husband had a stroke,but it was just a real bad migraine…which is bad,but so happy it wasn’t a stroke.jackie_tessnair@yahoo.com

  77. One Christmas when our kids were little we were all sick, @ had to have tv dinners for Christmas dinner.

  78. I always found our presents in my parents closet before Christmas but I never told my brother. Now I find my kids looking in my closet for their presents. Can’t fool me!
    We leave milk & cookies for Santa. My kids like to see how many cookies he ate & if he drank all the milk or not.

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