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Merry (Early) Christmas!

Posted by on October 19, 2015

So, if you know me even slightly well, you know how much I LOVE Christmas. I used to say I couldn’t pick a favorite time of year and then one July I realized that just wasn’t true. I  happened to be strolling through Hobby Lobby that day and was surprised to discover they had already begun setting out Christmas merchandise. YES. In July. Normally I would’ve been disgusted at this. I would’ve jumped on my Whatever Happened To Thanksgiving??!! soapbox and started preaching. But that day I just couldn’t because I was too busy being excited over the fact that Christmas was only five months away! And that’s when I knew (no flies on me) that I definitely had a favorite time of year.

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is spending time with family and weaving old and new traditions together. Two years ago, quite by accident, we started a new tradition. It was Christmas Eve and we were just sitting down to open a few presents when the phone rang. Now, when you live in a pastor’s house, you don’t not answer the phone. You answer it during supper, or family game night, or birthday celebrations, or whatever because you never know who may be on the other end of the line and what they might need. Yes, even if it’s Christmas Eve and all the kiddos are nearly bursting to open the first present, and the littlest one has already pulled a scrap of paper off the corner…you still answer the phone. So while Nathanael jumped up and hurried to his office, and all seven children groaned as one, I looked around frantically for something to distract them with.

My eyes landed on a Chicken Soup for the Soul – Merry Christmas! book. Several writer friends had stories in this book, including one of my critique partners, the talented Lisa Ricard Claro. So I flipped to her story and began reading. The kids instantly settled (dare I say nestled snugly?) and listened intently to the stories I read. In true Chicken Soup fashion, some were heartwarming and touching, others were downright hilarious. I think both the kids and I were surprised to discover how much we enjoyed ourselves, sipping cocoa and reading stories while we waited for Nathanael to finish his phone call.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Merry Christmas! book cover

Since then, it has kind of become a tradition. And this year, I’m so excited that one of my stories – The 129-Year Snow – has made it into the Merry Christmas anthology this year! (Because if you know me even slightly well, you also know how much I LOVE snow.) I really enjoyed writing about the year we got our white Christmas while living in Georgia. It was such a special Christmas and I’m thrilled the editors at Chicken Soup thought so too, and chose to include it in their book. Come Christmas Eve, whether gift opening is delayed or not, I know for sure there’s at least one story we’ll be sitting down and reading together.

If you would like to order one of these books (which incidentally, make wonderful stocking stuffers!) they’re available in most bookstores or on Amazon. Visit the Chicken Soup website to read samples and browse all their available titles as well!

Of course, I DO happen to have an extra copy I’m happy to give away. If you interested in throwing your name in the hat for a chance to win, leave a comment and let me know!

Now, I will TRY and settle down enough to make it through Thanksgiving…but no promises.


24 Responses to Merry (Early) Christmas!

  1. Leigh

    Wow! So proud of you. I will be adding this to my Christmas wish list. Hugs and miss you bunches.

    • Debra

      Awww, thanks, Leigh! Maybe I will need to dye my hair purple to celebrate. 🙂 Miss you all, too!

  2. Eileen Tiefel

    Throw my name in the hat, Deb!!

  3. Christine Gerbitz

    Congratulations! How exciting to be have a story published in a well known series of books. May you be blessed with even more opportunities to share your writing!

  4. Cathy Hall

    Oh, yay, Deb!I love that story–makes me want a cup of hot chocolate right now! 🙂

    • Debra

      Thanks, Cath…wish I could sit and have that cup of cocoa with you! (And P.S. I still haven’t shared a Chicken Soup title with you…that’s on my bucket list, you know!)

  5. Louise Mayhew

    Loved it, Debra. Good job–double for the great blog and for being published! And as I sit here typing this what should come on Pandora but “Still, still, still”!

    • Debra

      Thank you, Mom! (And Still, Still, Still is a favorite of mine…it might be time to get pandora going here!)

  6. Traci Thurow

    Congratulations, my friend! I’m so happy for you!! I look forward to winning my Signed copy (ya gotta sign it- even if I don’t win it). And if I don’t happen to win, I’ll have to get my own copy anyway.

    • Debra

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! What an awesome surprise to see your comment. If you win, I will definitely sign it. 🙂

  7. Ann Duncan

    Of course your story is in there! Everyone wants to read about snow in Georgia (or ice on the Interstate). God bless you! Miss you guys so much, but now you can get all the snow you ever wanted. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Debra

      Hahahaaaa! So true, Ann. People love to laugh when an inch or two shuts everything down. I am looking forward to more snow this winter…we really didn’t get that much last year and it was a bummer. 🙂 Love and blessings to you!

  8. Jenny Pennington

    That will certainly be one of my purchases this Christmas. Congratulations, Debra. Sounds like all is well. Give the children a hug for me.

    • Debra

      Hi, Jenny! Thanks for leaving a comment. Things are going well here, though Hope and I were just talking yesterday about how much we miss our friends “back home.” I heard it was 41 degrees in Lawrenceville today, though. I think that’s colder than right here in Sleepy Eye! I will pass your hug along to the kids and we all send our love!

  9. Linda O'Connell

    The reason Hobby Lobby and the other stores out Christmas in July is for the crafters, I was told. Yes, I’d like to be in your drawing.

    One of my stories is on my blog today at It’s about saying a certain word.
    Congratulations on your publication in CS.

    • Debra

      Yes, I was told that same thing at some point. It makes sense for people who are making things like Christmas quilts. By the way, as soon as I got my box of Chicken Soup books I thumbed through it hoping to find your name in there! Maybe next time. 🙂

  10. Louie

    What?!?! Normally you call and let me know good news like this!! Still, I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to read it! Way to go!
    (And, YES, please throw my name in the hat, too!) XO

    • Debra

      Hi, Louie!!! Here’s what happened…I called MOM and told her. And she was like, “What’s the big deal? You’ve done this before!” And then I was like, “Ummmm…” So it was all a tad anticlimactic, if you know what I mean! 🙂 Next time I have this kind of news, I shant be calling mom. Hahahahaa! Thanks for the comment – you made my day!

  11. Desirae Naumann

    You’re famous! Congratulations! May Jesus continue to use your talents to His glory.

    • Debra

      Hahahaa! Thanks, Desirae. I keep telling my kids this means I shouldn’t have to do dishes anymore and they keep ignoring me. 🙂

  12. Lisa Ricard Claro

    Throw my name in the hat, Deb! And thanks for the linky-love. I’m thrilled that my story played a role in your new tradition. That’s way cool, and kind of like a present you just gave me, sharing that. We never know what really happens to our stories after we let them go, so knowing you shared that one on a special occasion is humbling. Can’t wait to get my copy of the new one with your story in it!

    • Debra

      It is so cool for me to see writers I know personally in print, so of course we read your story! I got to brag a bit because you’re my friend! So having you included in our family tradition made it even more special. It’s kind of funny how my kids have really gotten into reading Chicken Soups…kind of like I used to be about Reader’s Digest. 🙂

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