A Different Kind of Christmas – by Jodi Thomas

It’s a crazy world out there right now, and Christmas is coming with a warning label to stay away from people. I can’t do that. It won’t be Christmas without the “grands,” I tell myself.

Calm down, I say to myself. I’ll wash my hands another hundred times and put on two masks, not just one. I’ll even jump back if I pass someone in the grocery aisle. I will whisper my new battle cry: I’ll live through this, or not. I’m in the danger zone.

I don’t know about everyone but for me now and then, I just have to relax and have fun or I will go completely nuts. I’m staying in, staying safe and staying up all night watching at least one Hallmark movie a night. And, of course stepping into fiction anytime I can. If I can’t see people, I have to talk to my characters and that’s how I got the idea for a new story.

When I started writing my new novella, THE COWBOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS, I wanted to put lots of love and laughter in the story because that’s what we’re all looking for.

So, of course I picked a dark time in Texas to start. In the ten years after the Civil War, almost half the people in Texas died, hard times. I picked a woman with no future and a man down on his luck, a broken soldier. The two get their chance to start a life when they get a job to transport five little girls from Jefferson, Texas, to a ranch north of Dallas.

Now the fun begins. Trapper knows nothing about little girls, and it seems every bad guy in Texas wants to kidnap the rich girls. He teaches them how to survive, and they teach him to care. Trapper risks his life to save them, and they open his heart.

So cuddle up with THE COWBOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS. I promise you’ll love the journey this story called “Father Goose” takes.

These are my little outlaws last Christmas who inspired the story. We may not all get to see our families this holiday, but if you have a comment about your family at Christmas, I’d love it if you’d share.

Do you have a funny story that happened at Christmas? What is one of your family traditions? (Do you have matching pajamas?) What is a favorite food your family always requests?

Join in, and I will send one lucky winner a copy of the book.

 Let’s all take a minute to remember happy days in the past and know that we’ll get to hug everyone next Christmas.

Until then, read on dear friends. I pray my gift to you this holiday is laughter.



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69 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Christmas – by Jodi Thomas”

  1. Hugs, Jodi! Alas, no tradition of matching PJs, but those are adorable! One funny Christmas story–when my brother was maybe two-ish, he went running out of the kitchen and into the living room. A few seconds later, we hear a CRASH! and immediately rush to see… he’d knocked the entire tree over and was crawling out from underneath! He was completely unharmed, but those lights were NEVER the same after!

  2. It’s tough, isn’t it? This was the year I was going to travel and see family, and we had just started a tradition of having great-grandchildren here for the Christmas holiday. Oh well, being safe is the most important thing. Funny thing at Christmas? Years ago, when my kids were little, my husband put on the Santa suit, went outside our apartment and jingled the sleigh bells. My sister and I were so engrossed in watching them start to open presents it took awhile for us to realize what that ever more insistent tapping on the sliding door was. Indiana in December is cold!

  3. The only tradition we had was to go to grandma’s house for the meal or an aunt whoever was hosting christmas at there house that year it changed year to year but was still fun.

  4. Your new book sounds like it will be really good. I can’t wait to read it. We are staying home this year for Christmas and not seeing anyone. Covid has already reared it’s ugly face at my husband’s job, so we don’t want to take a chance of infecting anyone if he happens to catch it.

  5. We always went to Tennessee, when I was a kid. Nothing like the mountains and snow.

    For my kids, they always enjoy having monkey bread for Christmas breakfast.

    Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

  6. My family always requests Whipped Cream Fruit Salad. Doesn’t seem like the meal is complete without it.

  7. We do not have matching pajamas and I always wanted to do that. I remember one Christmas I was sitting next to the tree reading when he came falling down on me. I did catch it with a cat on the top. She jumped off.

  8. When my younger sister was about two or three she turned the Christmas tree over about three times and then we got smart she was afraid of the vacuum so we put it under the tree and she didn’t turn it over for the rest of the year. So a few years ago I got a kitten and it was doing the same thing climbing the tree and turning it over. So i pulled out my vacuum cleaner set it by the tree and the kitten never bother the tree again.

    Your book sound fabulous and I can’t wait to read it.

  9. Ron and I bought a Santa suit years ago. A really genuine one. How I talked Ron into playing Santa Claus is beyond me. Santa started coming to our house over 35 years ago when our children were very young. The very first year Santa delivered a tabby kitten to our daughter. Although she was afraid of Santa, she gladly accepted the kitten. Because Ron wore the suit to school one year to entertain his 7th and 8th graders, a tradition was started for other teachers to join in and greet students as they got off the bus, handing out candy canes. The tradition grew and grew with more Santa’s showing up every year. Even parents got into the joy if it all! Santa continues to come every year at our house. Two of our grands haven’t figured out it’s grandpa yet. A couple years ago Santa even jumped off the roof of our house jingling his bells with a big green Fleet Farm bag stuffed with presents. I about crooked! I told Ron he was too old to be doing that. Honestly, we have had so much fun with that Santa suit, it just makes me laugh. Your grandkids are adorable Jodi. I buy pajamas for our grands every year and give them away on Thanksgiving Day for them to start wearing over the Christmas season. Your books will be such a joy giver to your readers. So thankful for you and so many authors I’ve enjoyed getting to know on Petticoats and Pistols. Thanks for coming by today.

    • Thanks, Kathy, for sharing such a wonderful story. Your husband is awesome to keep up the Santa tradition. Have you bought the pajamas yet? It’s almost time to start looking.

      I love that Petticoats and Pistols hosts me. It’s a great group of authors!

  10. Our family holiday tradition is giving to those within our community who may not be able to afford Christmas. We’ve helped senior citizens and young alike. We take our resources to buy much needed items as well as food and luxury goods. We feel very blessed to be able to help others.

  11. No new pjs for Christmas. Open one present Christmas eve. Green bean casserole which I dislike. Hugs and Thank you for sharing.

  12. One of our fav traditions was after dinner and the dishes were done, out came the cards and we would play Euchre, or maybe we would be finishing the game of Trivial Pursuit we started before dinner. Have a wonderful Christmas season.

  13. Welcome Jodi. Oh but this sounds like a delightful book. I love the cover. Yes this Christmas will be a bit different. On my husbands side people have broken down into three groups this year. Sigh I understand I really do. On my side we are still meeting whoever wishes to join in. So far everyone. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  14. Oh, Jodi, you said it so perfectly! We are going to have a wonderful Christmas, because we will make it wonderful despite everything in turmoil around us. This story sounds like the perfect escape and I look forward to reading it. Have a wonderful day!

  15. We try hard to make every Christmas a memorable one. I love traditions and my side of the family usually has a special thing we do every Christmas for fun. A few years ago everyone was gifted a nerf gun and we then proceeded to have a two hour war!! We all still talk about that one.

  16. My husband says I’m a Chrismaholic so this is a hard question. I tried getting my children “Holiday” PJs, but every one of my five handed them back to me when they saw my oldest, saying “NO WAY.” I can’t wait for the new anthology ! Have a great holiday!

  17. Hi, your book sounds like a very Warm and Great read! I Love the book cover , it is Beautiful and it looks very inviting! We usually stay home for Christmas and our 2 now grown children with their own little families come over. We have 1 grandaughter and 2 grandsons. Our daughter and her little family (husband, our grandaughter and our grandson) live in the same town , and our son and his little family(his son and our daughter in law) live 6 hours away, so more than likely will not be here for sure. We have been decorating Gingerbread house kits either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and it is always alot of fun doing it, I usually get a Gingerbread house per family. I love doing that. We usually have Christmas dinner here at our house. This year we just have to make the Best of Christmas and Enjoy the birth of our Savior. Have a Great weekend and stay safe. Thank you so much for the chance of your Great sounding book.

  18. Your book sounds like a great read. Our Christmas traditions include tamales for Christmas Eve. It started when several years in a row different customers who had bought pigs from us to make their Christmas tamales brought us some of theirs. Now if a customer doesn’t bring us a gift of tamales one of our daughters buys some from a local market. No matching holiday pajamas but my sister in law made matching flannel nighties for our three girls until they were in college. I keep thinking of so many other things, especially foods, that have become a part of our Christmas. And, yes, Hallmark movies are one of them. I haven’t started watching them yet but our daughters tell me they have. Thanks for stirring up happy memories.

    • I am loving reading about all the Christmas traditions and have started enjoying tamales for part of our Christmas meal. I’ve already started watching the Hallmark movies for this year too.

  19. Hi jodi, my christmas story is this.
    Growing up, it was this 1st christmas that my parents were divorced. My mom worked a full time factory job but we still didnt have much. I watched my younger siblings to help out. Mom was gone alot. I really wanted a nintendo 64, but i knew mom couldnt do it. So on xmas morning when i found it under the tree i almost cried. Later i asked her were she had it hidden. She said she had put it on lay away months before and a week before christmas she brought it home and hid it in the dryer. ( the dryer hadnt worked in months) we had walked past it all week and never knew. I’ll never forget that christmas.

  20. This sounds like a wonderful story! We don’t do matching PJs or anything like that. Our traditions all seem to revolve around making sure both sets of grandparents get their fair share of time with the kids. Everyone requests my garlic jalapeno cheese grits and cheesecake every year and my mom’s cornbread dressing is a must.

    • It’s fun to see how many different types of food become part of our traditions at Christmas. I loved reading about your cheese grits and cheesecake, especially since I’m not really a fan of pumpkin pie! Great idea!

  21. I’m heading to NC next week, where I’ll be spending the next couple of months with my oldest son and grandkids, who will be 2-1/2 years and 9 months at Christmas. We haven’t made firm holiday plans, but MAY be able to visit my mother in Florida if everyone’s health is good. It would be Mom’s first time meeting her great granddaughter, and she hasn’t seen her great grandson since he was 7 months old.

    My favorite Christmas memory was when my oldest was about 10 years old–and on the fence about whether or not Santa is real. I never lied to my kids about Santa, but when they occasionally asked me if he was real, my reply was always, “Well…what do YOU believe?”

    Anyway, my son told me he had a sure-fire way of finding out whether Santa was real or not. When I asked him how he planned to do that, he said that he was going to ask Santa for something that he KNEW I would NEVER be able to find! It was a very limited edition Transformer toy that was “no longer available”.

    Enter eBay (this story happened nearly 20 years ago)…I found the exact toy, new in package, in Hong Kong. I purchased it–and rather quickly forgot all about it as the rush of the holiday season approached. Around 4 o’clock p.m. on Christmas Eve, my mailman delivered a small package to my front door–the Transformer toy! The wonder of Christmas magic!

    I wrapped the box and placed it beneath the Christmas tree that night. Imagine the reaction from my son when he opened that coveted you the next morning! I will never forget his words, “I guess there really IS such a thing as Santa!”

    I still believe!!! ???

  22. I have really enjoyed reading all the wonderful Christmas memories and stories that everyone shared. I hope those will carry us through even if we are doing something different this year. Thanks to all my readers for making me smile!!

  23. Hi Jodi – Our family tradition is getting together with family to celebrate…this year is still a question mark. We also go to the local nursing homes & help with the gifts the residents have requested on their Christmas tree slips. It’s sad to see so many who don’t have anyone show up or give them a gift. We try not to disappoint them on their special day.
    My husband’s favorite food for Christmas is date pudding. I try to make it for him like his Mother did to honor her memory.
    Have a blessed Christmas to you & all the fillies!!!
    Your book sounds Awesome. Thanks, for the chance to win a copy.

    • Loved your letter, Lois. Maybe this year everyone will be starting some new traditions, but I sure don’t want to forget our favorites. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas too!

  24. Jodi- I LOVED LOVED your blog. Your book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it.
    I love Christmas and I’m planning on going to Stephenville to see my family. I’m with you on washing my hands a few more thousand times if I have too, what ever it takes to get back to the Lone Star State.
    Love you and I can’t wait for you girls & Rob & I to meet up. .

  25. Oh Jodi I can’t wait to read this, sounds like just what we need right now in these hard times . I can just imagine the adventure in transporting 5 girls , Father Goose is definitely going to have his hands full. I will definitely be reading this book ????

  26. Good morning! Your Christmas book sounds great and I can’t wait to read it! We have a big Thanksgiving at my parents, Turkey, ham, dressing, tons of sides, pies and various desserts. For Christmas we have finger foods and don’t think that is a small thing we always have enough food to feed an army! Several years ago we started having Chinese Christmas and I love it. We all get gifts for my parents and kids but the adults only participate in Chinese Christmas. (Well for the most part) When you have a large family buying a gift for everyone is just not possible especially when several are single females with kids. I hope you have a very Blessed Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Oh, unless Covid gets even worse we plan to spend Christmas with family. My parents are older and we never know how many we have left with them. I lost my mother in January so I plan to enjoy my Daddy and step-mom as much as I can even though I am immunocompromised.

  27. I’m looking forward to reading this book. I made my kid’s stockings when they were little. They are put up every year. So when my son got married, I wanted to make one for my daughter-in-law. I couldn’t find the kits I used anywhere. I finally found one and started cutting our pieces and sewing it etc when I realized it was a lot bigger than the other stockings. It was three times bigger. ?? my girls kept saying we knew you liked her better. When my granddaughter was born, I made one for her in a regular size but also got a huge six foot long one to continue the fun.

    • Love this story that will be retold for a a long time and especially that you were able to find an even bigger stocking. May you continue to have fun this Christmas!

  28. Not funny, but memorable, was when I was a teenager we moved out of state and into a house on Christmas Eve. The tree was one of the first unpacked items. We celebrated Christmas surrounded by boxes but with a decorated tree.

    • Reminds me of my first Christmas when my husband came home from the army. We made our ornaments and decorated a very sparse tree, but one of the best memories ever! Hope you have a great Christmas with decorated boxes this year.

  29. It’s me again…after reading your blog this morning, I added a trip to Barnes & Noble to my list of shopping errands today. I was very fortunate to have found “The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas”…as well as “A Texas Kind of Christmas”…the only two books there (AND the last copies!) that were written by you. The hardest part is that I must force myself to pack the books for my upcoming trip, as I have far too many other items on my “To Do List” that must be completed before I leave! But, OH! the temptation may be too great!!!

  30. Hello Jodi I Love the cover of your book and it sounds amazing My Daughter bought us matching PJ’s last year for Christmas and we always make homemade hot chocolate with little marshmallows and watch Christmas movies while we are waiting for the grandchildren are opening their Stocking stuffers! Blessings To You and Yours Jodi!

  31. Hello Jodi. It is very nice to meet you. I love the cover of your books. This sounds like such a great book. We usually have an open house style Christmas. I fix ham, mashed potatoes, vegetable tray, onion and beef cheeseball, relishes, cookies, pumpkin bread and a birthday cake for Jesus. We do not have any children of grandchildren. I will be blessed this year to spend Christmas with my Mom and my Dad.

  32. I really look forward to reading this anthology. I have so enjoyed your books. The premise of the story is a favorite and it lends itself to the holiday season.

    We too are in the “danger zone.” I have a compromised immune system and my husband was just diagnosed with cancer and will start treatment in the next few weeks. He has don the grocery shopping and errands. I have only gone out for doctor appointments – his and mine. Since March 11, that adds up to leaving the house less than 10 times. There will be no family get togethers this Thanksgiving or Christmas. We haven’t seen one of our daughters and her family since last Christmas. Like you, I am watching the Hallmark channel. Christmas movies are helping.

    Now that our children have their own families, we get together for Christmas dinner and open gifts afterward. When our daughter’s family comes from out of town, they stay with us. I look forward to the time to talk, play Scrabble, and spend time with our granddaughter – who usually wants to work in the shop with her grandfather to build something.
    We all look forward to stuffing. I always make extra since we like it for leftovers. There are a few sweets we make only at Christmas. Bourbon balls are a big favorite and there are several other cookies I avoid making except for the holidays because I would eat way too many of them. I have a sour cream roll recipe that is delicious and melts in your mouth. Everyone loves them, but the calorie count is off the charts. Everyone looks forward to them.

    We will be sad to be so isolated this Christmas, but we have each other and can talk to them on the phone as well as set up a zoom chat. We will take it easy, watch Christmas movies, and read. We will be making up for lost time when things open back up and he is healthy again.

    Stay safe and healthy. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    • Patricia, I can totally understand your situation and like you, I am looking forward to when the world opens back up again. I hope you both will stay safe and well!

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