Christmas Traditions: Margaret Turley

Today’s post comes to us from an amazing lady, Margaret Turley. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

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As Nancy drifted off her thoughts went back to last Christmas. They were struggling financially, but otherwise things were pretty normal. It was Robert’s last year of law school and they knew that next year everything would be better. He already had a position offered to him at the law firm where he worked part time as a clerk.
Abby hadn’t asked Nancy or Robert for anything. She made gifts for the family. The purple elephant Sharon kept with her in the hospital used to be Abby’s favorite fleece blanket. She drew the pattern herself, cut out the pieces and sewed them together and then stuffed it with old stockings. Sharon hadn’t slept a night without her purple elephant until those first days in the hospital.
Ben got a monkey Abby made from tube socks. He loved playing with it.  She made a tie for Robert in Home-Economics class. Nancy was impressed with the scented candle Abby made for her. She even made an extra for Phyllis, her adopted grandmother.
The Christmas decorations had been sparse. Abby talked Robert into taking out his electric train that he got as a boy and they put it under the tree. In the afternoon while Nancy was cooking dinner she walked into the living room to check and see what the children were doing and found Ben and Sharon had placed some of the simple hand carved nativity set pieces in and on the cars of the train and turned it on. Like the co-conspirators they were they watched baby Jesus and two angels ride round and round the track in the cargo car, clapping their hands and jumping up and down with glee. They were so happy Nancy didn’t have the heart to scold them for their irreverence.
This Christmas scene is from the novel, Save the Child by Margaret Turley.

Christmas Traditions: A New One for Me and Mine

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So if you didn’t gather from the last post, I love Christmas!! I love the lights. I love the combining smells of cinnamon and conifer. Of course, I love every excuse to bake all things yummy and pretty. But what I love best are the stories. No shock there as I am a writer. In fact, every year that I am able I reread Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and A Cricket on the Hearth. This year I am adding, In the Dark Streets Shineth, if I can manage it, to my grown up Christmas reading.

But more than that I am adding two new Christmas traditions. Before I tell you what they are though, I am going to riff on tradition a bit.

I’m not one who is all for tradition for tradition’s sake. Too often we get stuck doing things just because that’s the way we’ve always done them. But thoughtful, meaningful rituals that mark the passing of the year can have a powerfully positive affect on our lives. Traditions connect us to our heritage. They remind of the struggles of the past, where we came from, and help us keep perspective as we move into the future. When we disregard tradition simply because it is old, we may call it out-dated, we lose the part of ourselves that is humble enough to learn from and honor the past and those that have gone before. And Christmas is a great time both to show reverence to that past and also to learn from its mistakes.

So this year, since my goals for the New Year mostly center on being the kind of mother I want to be, I am starting a new tradition with my kids. I have a pretty impressive collection of Christmas books. It is time they saw the light of day, and lit up my children’s lives. So this year, and I hope every year from now on, I will engage in a kind of literary advent calendar. A Christmas story every night. I do have a few that are a bit longer, and may take more than one night to read. And despite my kid’s young ages, I anticipate miraculous results. We will culminate with the story of the first Christmas read from the Bible on Christmas Eve. I will pop in each week to tell you which books we read and how they went.

For my second new tradition I wanted to start a yearly event for this blog. My favorite blogs have something that they do every year that is either fun or meaningful, so I figured, me too! So every day this week we will hear from a different author about the Christmas traditions they remember from childhood or do with their kids or whatever! Anyone who comments on the post will be entered into a drawing. We have four wonderful e-book prizes: The Anika Arrington bundle including The Accidental Apprentice and Mechanized Masterpieces- A Steampunk Anthology, Tamara Passey’s The Christmas Tree Keeper, Margaret Turley’s Never Again, or Diane Jortner’s Chimmeken Crossing the Delaware: An American Historical Fantasy. Winners will be announced on Sunday Dec. 7th. I hope you will enjoy getting to know how the Christmas Spirit is kept alive in their lives as much as I have. And that it inspires some new Christmas traditions of your own! Good Luck and happy reading!