Can you share a favorite memory from the holidays?
We don't get much snow in West Texas, but a few years ago, we had a beautiful white Christmas. It started snowing on Christmas Eve and snowed all night, leaving a storybook scene to greet us in the morning. The kids made snow angels and miniature snowmen (it was only a few inches deep), but my favorite part was simply looking at it through the window; so peaceful, untouched, and pure. It had melted by the end of the day, but for a brief time, we had our own Currier and Ives moment.
What is your favorite Christmas song/hymn?
Oh my. I'm a music lover, and my husband can tell you that I sing Christmas carols from the day after Thanksgiving straight on through New Year's Day. If I had to narrow it down, I'd say my favorite contemporary carol is “Mary Did You Know?”; my favorite traditional carol is “O Holy Night”; and my favorite kid's holiday song would definitely be “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”
Does your family have any holiday traditions?
Everyone opens one gift on Christmas Eve. We always eat pigs-in-a-blanket on Christmas morning (because those little piggies are mobile and won't slow down the package opening). And, of course, we read the biblical account of Jesus' birth.
But my favorite tradition is the stockings. I'm a cross-stitcher, and after my husband and I married, my first priority was to get a pair of Christmas stockings stitched. And when my three children were born, I made sure they each had a stitched stocking done in time for their first Christmas (thankfully, none were born later than May!). Mrs. Santa does most of the stocking stuffing, but Santa is in charge of hers. And now that the kids are getting older, there is an elf that usually adds a surprise or two as well. The kids are allowed to open the stockings as soon as they get up on Christmas morning, while the packages have to wait until everyone is awake. Although in our house, Mom is usually just as excited about her stocking as the kids are about theirs, so they aren't alone in the living room for long.
What is your favorite holiday movie?
Hmmm … another hard choice. I love the classics. It would have to be a tie between Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life. Although there was a made-for-TV movie back in 1986 that I remember loving. (Now don't laugh!) It was called A Smoky Mountain Christmas, and it starred Dolly Parton and Lee Majors. Maybe I liked it so much because it was a play on Snow White, with orphaned kids instead of dwarves, and a rugged mountain man instead of a charming prince. Or maybe it was because I was fifteen and didn't know any better. Who can say? But it stuck with me all these years, so there must have been something magical about it.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
We don't have a particular story that we read every year, but I've always been fond of The Polar Express. We have both the picture book and the movie, but I think I like the book better. There is something inside me that wants desperately to hear that bell ring. It's a great reminder of the power of childlike faith.