Blending the Old with the New
By Tracey Bateman

The whole season of Christmas perks me right up! My kids can get away with just about anything because my Christmas tree makes me really, really happy. I get this warm, fuzzy, probably unrealistic feeling of well-being this time of year. I think I might still believe in Santa.

Traditions--old and new--mean so much to me. Memories of my family huddled around a tiny TV watching RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, not to mention getting to stay up for the 10:30 pm late show on Sunday night and watch WHITE CHRISTMAS. Anyway, the point is that I really, super duper miss that whole "We might be poor but look at all the fun we have" feeling.

My mom was just so cool about making us homemade cookies and hot chocolate during those special times. I, on the other hand, buy Nestle tollhouse break apart dough and Swiss Miss hot chocolate with fake marshmallows.

I do my best to instill traditions my four kids can carry with them into adulthood, like: we put up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend and each kid gets a new Hallmark ornament every year. Some day when they're decorating their trees with their families and see all their old ornaments, memories of watching ELF or JINGLE ALL THE WAY in the background while we decorate will MEAN something. Those movies will be to them, what WHITE CHRISTMAS and Charlie Brown are to me. I just bet anyway.

There's a lot to be said for progress and I'm all for computers in every home, iPods, cell phones, and TiVo (thank you, Jesus), but I don't want my children to ever forget the true reason our family celebrates this time of year: the birth of Jesus and, as the Nativity becomes harder and harder to find, I'm determined to keep alive the most important tradition of all: Jesus, born in a manger.

When the kids were little, our decorating focus was on Santa Claus pretty exclusively. This year, I have a nativity out with all the Santa stuff and we're making sure the oldest and most precious tradition of all isn't lost in piles of paper and bows and family and turkey and pumpkin pie.

One more thing, and this one is super important...not as important as baby Jesus, but definitely ranks way up there with the Red Rider BB gun movie. I thank God for this Christmas season as I think about blending the old with the new and the chance to write Historical romance (OLD) for Avon Inspire (NEW).

It's truly been a blessed year and I feel like I've made new friends as I partner with this company to bring Inspirational romance into the hands of new readers and faithful (didn't want to say OLD) readers as well.

May God grant each of you peace as you walk through this season in whatever way you celebrate Christmas.


Blogger Lynette Sowell said:

Hey, we love the Swiss Miss with fake marshmallows. Just add water. :) Isn't it funny we don't remember ALL the presents we got, but we sure remember the times and traditions? :)

1:52 PM  

Blogger Tracey Bateman said:

I know! I do remember a record player I got one year that folded up so I could carry it around. It was denim with a pocket on the outside. Wonder what ever happened to that!

1:58 PM  

Blogger Janelle said:

Man, I remember the fun we had decorating for Christmas. Must have driven Mom nuts to have eight kids all clamoring to put on the bulbs and then throw tinsel all over the tree. I think back and wonder just how gaudy that tree must have been, but it was beautiful to us...especially when we turned out the house lights so only the Christmas lights shown and then stuck our faces so close to the shiny globes to distort them. LOL. I tried to pass that fun on to my boys, but now that their older, they don't seem to care. Ah well, I still have fond memories.

Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

5:16 PM  

Blogger Julie Carobini said:

I know what you mean, Tracey. Our fam sat around the tv the other night watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, snickering at the ancient animation. Yet the room fell silent when Linus told the story of Jesus' birth, just like it did when I was a kid. How fun is that?

And by the way, you MUST try marshmallows from William-Sonoma with your hot cocoa. To die for, I tell

10:58 PM  

Blogger Cheryl Wyatt said:

Your book sounds so wonderful, Tracey! I can't wait to read it, and many, many more!

Great blog by the way!


Cheryl Wyatt

11:24 PM  

Blogger Myra Johnson said:

Christmas just isn't the same without those special traditions. After 35 years of marriage we talk about tossing some of our old, worn-out decorations and ornaments, but doing so would be to discard precious memories. Even as "empty-nesters," we still put up a houseful of decorations and remember . . .

10:32 AM  

Blogger Tracey Bateman said:

Hey Guys!
Thanks for hanging around and sharing memories with me. Julie, I'll be looking for the Willian Sonoma marshmallows. :)

12:45 PM  

Blogger Wally Banners said:

madly hot layout You got my Battle of the Blogs vote :)

3:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm looking forward to reading DISTANT HEART, Tracey! Thanks for the Christmas memories blog. Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday. We still have to cruise Manhattan in a limo on Christmas Eve. Don't forget! :^D

Love you,

8:57 PM  

Blogger Linore Rose Burkard said:

Hey, I'm SOooo with you about traditions, Tracey! We've started a new one called "Nineteenth Century Nights" which we try to pull off now and then, to the delight of the younger kids and the disgust of the older. Disgust turns quickly to tolerance and then the thought of "Hey, this isn't so bad, after all. I really CAN survive away from my computer screen!" Even reluctant teens can't resist the beauty of the season. Great blog. I have a Christmas one, if you want to learn more about holding your own "19th Century Nights."

10:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I know what you mean about traditions. My husband Dan makes a schedule every year of all the Chrismas movies. So every night after dinner, we look at the list and see what we're going to watch that night. Last night was The Muppets' Christmas Carol. Those little mice just crack us up.

The great thing is I can see those traditions being passed on to our girls. Jennifer is at college now but she holds Christmas show nights in her dorm room so every one can get together and watch Charlie Brown Christmas or Scrooge.

Love ya and Merry Christmas,
Patty Smith Hall

10:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Thank you for the memories, Tracey. Made me think of many Christmases past when our children were young. Now we look forward to spoiling grandchildren and watch them start their own traditions!

And I still haven't seen any Avon Inspire books here in Australia yet. I do hope the Avon distributors here will include them - perhaps as a christmas present?

Mary Hawkins

6:32 PM  

Blogger Pammer said:

I can't wait to read your new book, Tracy, it looks great. Exciting news. :)

I wanted to recreate the Christmases I had for my children. But somehow our society has commercialized it so much. Has the world lost it's innocence to the point that God being with us doesn't send chills up and down the spine? I don't think so. But times do change. And you have the right idea about blending what you remember with what we are blessed with.

I have to admit, I do make cookies and hot chocolate from scratch about half the time, and the other half? Give me the chunk dough and the fake marshmellows. It's the memories that matter, not whether you slaved over a hot stove or not. Your kids appreciate that.


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