Like a lot of other families, our family has developed quite a few holiday traditions over the years. We go to church on Christmas Eve, ‘Ernie’ the elf brings them new ‘Christmas pajamas’- (even now, when my kids are in their 20s!), and we usually watch a late night movie together after church.
But as I was looking through old photos, I realized that we have a new, more recent tradition. That’s cooking Christmas dinner together. While I still make a lot of everyone’s favorite recipes, I also love to try out new things. I also love to have my kids, in-laws, guests, (whoever is there) join in.
It’s kind of a holiday free-for-all. We’re in sweats and old jeans and slippers. Dogs run around and get in the way. My husband Tom is constantly shaking his head about the mess I make, and Christmas music is played. Last year, in honor of our daughter’s fiancé and my son’s girlfriend, I served champagne.
As you might imagine, the dinner always runs late, too. But, boy, do we have a good time. The making of that meal has become my favorite holiday tradition. Now, if I could only find some Christmas elves to come over and clean up the mess? That would make things perfect!
Here’s a little about my newest release, An Amish Family Christmas—a great stocking stuffer for the reader in your family!
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…
Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.
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Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church. Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities several times a year.
Her latest book, An Amish Family Christmas, is available now!
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