The Gift of Family Traditions By Kelly Irvin

Amish Christmas GiftWhen my two children were growing up, we had a series of traditions that make Christmas special for the Irvin family in those years when we were unable to travel to be with our extended family. We started on Christmas Eve making cut-out sugar cookies and frosting them. I made small dishes of frosting in red, green, blue, and white, and provided half a dozen kinds of sprinkles to add as well. In the early years, more frosting got eaten than lavished on the cookies, but with time they learned how put their special touches on the cookies. The house smelled of cookies baking and the kids loved picking out an angel or a Santa or a reindeer from the pile of cookie cutters. In the evening, we went to the candlelight Christmas service at church. I have vivid memories of Nicholas falling asleep in the pew; he was so tuckered out from the excitement. I also remember worrying about one of them accidently starting a fire in their excitement of holding a lighted candle. Fortunately, no incidents occurred!

Afterwards, we each opened one present while watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” or another Christmas movie. Then we read “The Night Before Christmas.” and put cookies and milk for Santa on the coffee table. Off they went to bed, too excited to sleep, but anxious to go to bed so Santa could come.

Of course, that’s when my husband and rushed around putting out the gifts and filling the stockings. If toys had to be assembled, Tim got busy. Invariably we stayed up too late and ate too much candy. The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed so he could throw on his robe, tromp down to the living room, and turn on the silly Christmas music like Alvin and the Chipmunks and “All I want for Christmas are my Two Front Teeth.” He turned up the volume and the kids would race down the stairs.

Paper and ribbon flew. Ohs and Ahs resounded. When it was all said and done, Tim and I turned to the traditional Christmas breakfast of pancakes with chocolate chips. We always had movies under the tree so we slipped those into the machine and enjoyed lounging in our PJs and watching movies together while the kids played with new toys. Because Christmas in South Texas can be balmy, I remember standing out on the cul de sac, watching and encouraging as both kids learned how to roller blade in their new skates. Other Christmases, it was remote control cars zooming along the sidewalk, and once, a remote control airplane. Times to remember and cherish.

Bishops SonI never thought too much about these traditions or even thought of them as traditions until my children were grown. Now my daughter is in Norfolk with her husband, who is a sailor in the U.S. Navy. They have two children of their own. This is Brooklyn’s second Christmas and Carson’s first. They are coming home for the holidays, and my daughter has specifically mentioned a number of these traditions. She wants to make sure we’ll decorate cookies on Christmas Eve Day and go to the church service in the evening. She’s talking about the movies we’ll watch and the pancakes we’ll eat. It seems that she has lovely memories of these Christmas traditions, and she can’t wait to share them with her children.

Those family times are truly in the spirit of Christmas. It must make God smile to see us laughing and talking together. It makes me happy to think that my daughter has good memories of those special family occasions. They’re the true gifts of the season. That we get the chance to share those traditions with another generation is even a greater gift. Celebrating the birth of Christ with family is the best gift of all. I wish a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to each and every one of you.


GIVEAWAY TIME! One person who leaves a comment will be picked to win a copy of An Amish Christmas Gift AND The Bishop’s Son (The Amish of Bee County). For an EXTRA chance share this post and leave a comment if you do.

Giveaway starts today, Monday, December 7th and ends Monday, December 14th.

*Giveaway is only open to US residents*

Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin  is the author of the critically acclaimed The Beekeeper’s Son, called “a beautifully woven masterpiece” by Publishers Weekly. The book is the first of three in The Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. Kelly also penned the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishing. She has also authored two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She wrote nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty-one years. She is a member ofAmerican Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and serves as secretary of the local chapter, Alamo Christian Fiction Writers.



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50 thoughts on “The Gift of Family Traditions By Kelly Irvin

  1. Amish fiction is my favorite! i need hubby to build me a library for my collection! these look great!

  2. I would love to win this for Christmas .I love reading Amish Christian Books in the cold nights here in the back woods of Maine

  3. I would so love to win this!! I adore Amish stories and the Christmas ones even more!! 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win, Sarah! Merry Christmas!!! 🙂 Oh and I shared it on FB too! And Pinterest. lol

  4. It would make my Christmas complete if I were to win these books. Amish fiction is my favorite reading. These books are religions mainly and it renews my faith as I read.. I really like the slower pace the Amish live, would be nice if all of us could step back into time to live a smoother life and without all the hate and killings going on in The English world. Thank You.

  5. Christmas traditions are the BEST, aren’t they? I enjoyed reading about the cookie tradition. My late husband and I didn’t have children, but I do have traditions with my family and my 3rd graders. I’d love to own these two precious books. Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. Would love to win The Amish Christmas Gift and The Bishop’s Son. Amish fiction is my favorite books to read. Love hearing about your family traditions at Christmas. We always decorate cutout sugar cookies every year too. When I was a kid my parents would always hide our gifts and we would love looking for them. Now I do this with my own children, and they just love it. My two boys are teenagers now and they still want them hidden, sometimes we have clues to were they would find them so it’s like a scavenger hunt. They love this and I’m sure one day they will pass these traditions on to their own children.

  7. I have a collection of all Amish novels, I enjoy reading them. I always keep a list of new novels coming for sale with me. I would love to add these to my current collection.

  8. I love to read amish stories !!! They are the only books that really make any sense to me.. I hope I can be one of the winners… I will definantly be sharing this !! Merry Christmas !!!

  9. Sharing on fb. Btw, enjoyed reading your traditions that you didn’t realize would eventually be traditions.

  10. I love to read your amish books, reading today of your traditions for Christmas and how everyone in family was involved, this is how it used to be and now has got lost along the way in many homes. thank you for sharing.

  11. I love Amish books they are my absolute favorites…. Thank You, God Bless you and Merry Christmas !!!

  12. My very good friend passed on her love of Amish fiction to me. Sadly she’s passed on, but her love lives on in my collection. I would love to win this giveaway.

  13. Christmas memories are so precious. We were a military family and spent most holidays away from family so created our own traditions. I love books and Amish fiction is my favorite. Sharing.

  14. I love to read Amish fiction. They are my favorite to read. I would love to win one of these books. Thank you for this contest and the chance to win a book. God bless you.

  15. I so enjoy my own children, now carrying on some of our traditions with their own children. It began Thanksgiving Day with the Macy’s parade and putting out one Christmas decoration that evening. One daughter has carried on the cookie baking each weekend of advent with her children. Another has chosen to carry on the tradition of watching certain Christmas shows/movies and opening one gift Christmas eve. 2 other daughter’s have carried on the tradition of putting up the tree on my birthday. It will one day be interesting when my son’s have children to see what they carry on. But most of all, I Love, that each continues to attend some type of Christmas eve service..those who are married with children, those married with no children and the ones who are still single.

  16. These books would be an awesome addition to my reading collection. Amish Fiction is so relaxing to me. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Blessings and Happy Holidays!

  17. I would LOVE to win this gift. I never get tired of reading the Amish novels. Good luck to me and many blessings to you!

  18. Love traditions and excited for you to share them with your grandchildren. We never know what or how our actions affect others and yours have done so in a very positive way! Thanks for the opportunity to win. Merry Christmas!

  19. am looking forward to all the new and old books, love the amish way of life, sometimes i even wish i had been born Amish. I do try to do things the Amish way sometimes even though i am an englisher. Keep up the great books coming. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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