12 Books of Christmas: Numbers 5 and 5.5 Christmas in Harmony



When it comes to heartwarming series fiction, Philip Gulley’s Harmony is right up there with Jan Karon’s Mitford in my affections. While Mitford’s Father Tim is an Episcopalian priest, Harmony’s Pastor Sam is a Quaker. His long-suffering wife, like many another small church pastor’s wife, has had her share of necessities relabeled as Christmas gifts. In Christmas in Harmony Sam is guilt plagued by the thought that a four-slot toaster is too “extravagant.” So, in the Christmas Scrapbook he sets out to redeem himself as a gift-giving husband by making her a gift from the heart, but as usual, there are consequences. But then what could possibly go wrong for a pastor who must hold his elders’ meetings on the folding table next to the noodle freezer?

Happily, the Christmas Scrapbook is on sale for $1.99 for Kindle right now. It’s barely the length of a novella, so even if you are not familiar with the series, buy it, fix a cup of tea or cocoa, and have a delightful Christmas read today. I know you’ll be hooked on this wonderful series that showcases small town Indiana at its best.

Christmas in Harmony and the Christmas Scrapbook by Philip Gulley.




Also on sale, for $3.99 for Kindle, is Gulley’s newest, A Gathering in Hope, which I will be reviewing in the New Year. Enjoy this follow-up to the Harmony series.


Season’s Greading ;) Tag

 139322a9f4831ea16c9104ae98fff3a3 Source

Thanks to AbbieLu at Cafe Book Bean
for the idea!

Won’t you play along? Post your list!

Favorite book/s to [re-]read during the Holiday season?

It’s a tie!

….and these are just the grown-up books.



Here are the all-age books….a tie again.

See this post for an explanation.


The Christmas Cat by Tasha Tudor


Tell us your best Christmas memory?

 My kids’ first Christmas!


Favorite fictional winter wonderland?


Love the reindeer

Santa Claus the Movie


 Snow Man or Snow Angel?




Cary Grant

 see below

What is your all time favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?

 bishopsThe Bishop’s Wife

If you could spend the Holidays anywhere (fiction or non-fiction,) where would you go?


mistletoeWherever the mistletoe is…..[see below]


To my fictional Amberleigh–or, since that’s where Christmas will be, at Shellborne. I’d love to spend a holiday with MY families.

Who would you like to meet under the mistletoe?

Any of these men.… hey, it’s a kiss under the mistletoe with an over-the-hill librarian…whose wife would be upset by that??

 Mark, Simon, Pierce,  Sam, Sean, Tom, George, Jeremy or Craig.



What is your favorite hot holiday drink?


I stopped buying them cold turkey last year and haven’t had one since, but if I was driving on Christmas day and found a McDonald’s open……


What author from any time would you like to have a cup with?


 Sir Winston Churchill

Yes the Prime Minister–not the American novelist of the same name.

Hence the SIR being specified.

What book are you hoping Santa will bring you?



Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War

See this post for more information

Want to play along?

Post your list and give me a link–and one to Thanks to AbbieLu at Cafe Book Bean


Kindness Calendars for Christmas Time


Money Saving Mom, a blogger who really does a lot to make family life easier and happier, posted Wonder Mom Wannabe’s  post about  Coffee Cups and Crayons SUPER Random Acts of Kindness Calendar recently. I love this idea so much. You can download the actual calendar HERE for use starting tomorrow.

Years ago, before Mommy Blogging was a thing, I stumbled upon an idea like this in a woman’s magazine. I decided to do it just a little differently since my kiddos weren’t really into being told what to do! (And we were broke!) So we all made what I called Kindness Calendars (see below) and we made a mark of some kind to indicate catching each other being kind.

At dinner, when I asked our customary dinner question, “What was one good thing that happened today,” there were suddenly at least two answers. Something good at school or on the bus and something KIND at home. It made a nice holiday season even when the kindness was not really in the spirit, such as “I tried to be kind to [sibling] by telling him/her to pick up their_____” or similar. Normally, though, it was the right sort and that was a good thing for a M om to hear after a long day.



This year I’m doing a version of this on my own. I’m not saying more! Tomorrow, though, I’ll be talking about Advent Calendars of another kind–the ones we used in my childhood and the ones my great-niece’s and great-nephews’ generation are enjoying today. Friday I’ll have my selections, just a tiny bit late (sorry) for an advent calendar of books.

Have you done some version of a Kindness Calendar? Leave me your version in a comment or a link to your own post.

Preparing for Bed on Christmas Eve

I do not get a kick-back, commission, products or usually even a Thank You e-mail for linking to anywhere! I just provide links for your convenience.




A Christmas Eve Box is a new thing, started perhaps, by this service, that sells them. It contains Christmas pajamas and a few goodies to help you wait for the haul of goodies the next morning. Now, my parents only let us open a present early once. That’s all it took. We waited after that, but different families have different traditions. You could do a box like this but with just new pajamas and maybe a new Christmas coloring book or something that isn’t really a Christmas present. Maybe add your own traditions–maybe you get out Great-Aunt Mable’s quilt to help the kids sleep or perhaps you put on a special Christmas cd or dvd. The box could go along with that. Maybe your child received a stuffed Santa or stuffed Reindeer one year and it comes out to snuggle with.only on Christmas Eve? Make your own rules about this! Anyway, this post is about Christmas Eve Bedtime.




 If you are decor-minded you could order one of these beautiful future heirlooms.Or maybe Grandpa or Great-Grandpa would make one as a real heirloom.




For my kids, Christmas Eve was when Grandma came and it was a night they got to sleep in my bed. No arguments on going to bed that night! The cats were good-natured about forced-snuggling and stuffed animals joined the mix as well. It’s a great memory. Like many families, we had a box with slips of paper to draw out each night in December. One kid drew the slip, the other did our Advent Calendar. One the slip of paper was a Christmas book, game, dvd or activity for that evening. And, for the record, of course I rigged it so we didn’t make cookies on a school night! It was a lot of fun for all of us though.

Budget-friendly DIY Christmas Eve Box

Great suggestions to have all the fun, without all the cost. Source.

I am a single Mom, so while a lot of these ideas sound great–they can get expensive. Christmas p.j.s never happened–who wants to wear them AFTER Christmas? Ditto other holiday jammies–not in the budget. Here’s some budget-helpers:

  1. Dollar Tree Christmas Socks instead of pajamas
  2. Dollar Tree Red and Green Gloves–mix and match!
  3. Christmas Breakfast Placemats  Color with a box of new crayons (buy at back-to-school and hide). Use a coloring page and stickers and Christmas cards from charity mailings to decorate the rest of the page. Or copy out the first verse of the Christmas Story–the one Linus tells in Charlie Brown Christmas. (This is a great one for homeschoolers doing copywork.)



Pajamagram is a company that sells matching Christmas pajamas for the whole family–including the dog! If you don’t want to go THAT far, here are some great pajamas to choose from for your children’s, or grandchildren’s, Christmas Eve bedtime, whether they go in a box or not!


How adorable are these? Grinch jammies! [Shame on TARGET For having boys’ Snoopy pajamas, but no matching girls’ set.] (Happily Pajamagram has Snoopy for everyone.]


Boys   Girls  (Long nightgown also available)

Plaid always looks great at Christmas. These are from an online boutique, Best Dressed Child. I’m fairly certain I will be dropping thousands at their shop when I’m a grandmother.



These super-cute personalized brother and sister pajamas are very cute. Who wouldn’t want their name on the p.j.s? Santa could see the names and know he was in the right house! Source.

Hanna Andersson has Star Wars Christmas Jammies for the whole family as well as traditional elf-style, stripes and Nordic prints.

Here’s the budget-friendly DIY way to have no-sew custom p.j.s!


One inexpensive white t-shirt per family member and a few simple CHEAP supplies!



Pillow Cases


Special pillow cases to encourage falling asleep! I’m storing this idea for my future grandchildren. Source


Budget-Friendly No- Sew DIY Pillowcases




You could always make the pillowcase to match the t-shirts or you could use the same procedure but a different design. Otherwise, use an inexpensive pillowcase, cheap fabric paint and left-over ribbon, fabric, buttons, and glue! Make a bib for the baby who can’t yet have a pillow! Or, you can always buy white pillowcases and color them with Sharpies (remember to put THICK cardboard in the middle).





This fun bedding set will remind the kiddos why they need to stay in bed. The comforter is reversible–the other side is just blue with snowflakes. Plaid, again, is always nice for Christmas-time and looks so nice on a bed.


Budget-friendly version

Buy Christmas-themed throws on Black Friday or at a super before Christmas sale! If your office plays stupid Christmas party games try to win one–or  a Christmas pillow! Or, ask Grandma to crochet a Christmas pillow or afghan!


Bedtime Hot Cocoa


Perfect Stirring Tool! Marshmallow, Candy Cane and glittery sugar! (Source Blog is Gone) but they’re just marshmallows!


These beautiful Williams-Sanoma Christmas mugs are really lovely! I have a nephew who collects nutcrackers, though, so these really caught my eye.




Budget-friendly version

Christmas gift mugs from the office or Secret Santa at Church or whereever can get quickly hidden (and hopefully forgotten) to be used in the box next year. OR, Santa mugs from the Dollar Tree are just as much fun. You can usually find these at Thrift Stores and garage sales, too. Or just ask–co-workers maybe glad to pass them on!  Pinterest has countless ways to decorate cheap white mugs. I liked these chalkboard paint mugs best, but the picture isn’t “seasonal.” Go on! Shock me! Click on the link!


Milk and Cookies for Santa


I did this as a kid and my kids did, too. I look forward to this with future grandchildren. There are lots of sets like this on the market, but I thought this was very cute. Source. Many sets also say “Carrots for the reindeer.” We always put these to one side though. I’m pretty sure at least one year, a child of mine put the hose and bucket on the front porch (having been talked out of leaving it on the roof) so the reindeer could have a drink. My brother has horses–the similarities were not lost on my kids!

It doesn’t matter if you use a set like this or just whatever you have. Let little ones dictate the note to Santa–maybe have the bigger kid write it. They can illustrate it, too. Santa loves that. Creativity matters to a guy with a toy factory that employs only elves!

I hope these fun ideas caught your fancy. Whether Christmas is just Santa Claus and gifts or whether it is also Christ’s birth–all of these ideas are just for fun. Enjoy the season.


Budget-Friendly Version

Use your own plate or decorate a paper plate. Santa doesn’t mind as long as it’s bio-degradable.  (You may need to explain this to environmentally sensitive youngsters. Just fyi).



Does your family do the Christmas Eve box? What are you Christmas Eve traditions?

Leave me a comment.