CC1The Christmas Chronicles is a blog hop between 5 historical romance authors. Our desire is to bring you joy through these letters, grounded in the true spirit of the season, and written from the fictional viewpoints of each book’s heroine. We’re so glad to have you join the event. Each day this week, a new Christmas Chronicles post will go live, complete with a letter and a new ornament giveaway for that blog post.

To read more about the project and enter for a chance to win the fresh evergreen wreath which represents the gift of eternal life, click here.

To find your way to the other four blog posts and enter each of the five Christmas Chronicles individual giveaways, read on! We have a list for you at the bottom of this post.

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A Christmas letter from Abby Fischer
Out of the Ruins
Santa Clara County, California, Dec. 4, 1904
(Eight months before the book begins)

My dearest Great Aunt Mae,

Merry Christmas to you, to Cousin Gerald, and to all the aunts, uncles and cousins!

Thank you for the early gifts! Davy was so excited to read a chapter from The Marvelous Land of Oz, he agreed to go to bed early if Papa would only read one more chapter. Can you imagine? I must confess, I kept my lamp burning late reading Helen Keller’s, The Story of My Life. I only closed it because I was worried about the light disturbing Cecelia’s sleep. pinkpills3

We’re disappointed not to be celebrating with you in San Francisco this Christmas, but Cecelia is still feeling poorly. Dr. Greene says it’s just a weakness of the blood. He’s prescribed the ridiculously named, “Pink Pills for Pale People,” and Mama is cooking plenty of liver—much to my sister’s dismay.

Now, I know what you’re thinking . . . that Papa and I are probably relieved not to be traveling to the city. In a way, you’d be right. You know how Papa hates to leave the farm, and he only does so for Mama and Cecelia’s sake. They so enjoy shopping on Market Street and reveling in all the fuss and fervor of the season.

I must confess, thoChristmasChroniclesPeachesugh I miss seeing you, my feelings echo Papa’s. I find my greatest joy strolling in the orchard, even this time of year when the peach trees’ bare branches long for spring. It is here I feel an inkling of God’s love, of which you always speak. In the city, my thoughts rattle with the sounds of delivery wagons and the clatter of hooves against the cobblestones. Among my trees, I can almost hear the angels singing. Perhaps it’s appropriate we celebrate the Lord’s birth in the depth of winter when the everything seems bleak and godforsaken. The angels break through the darkness with “Good tidings of great joy!” and life springs back into the world.

Please send Cousin Gerald our love. Even though Doc Greene isn’t concerned, I’d feel better if Gerald could offer an opinion on Cecelia’s condition. It’s nice having a prestigious physician in the family. He wrote to me of a bright medical student he’s considering taking on as an assistant. I believe Gerald could benefit from the help, and I know he’d be an excellent mentor. Please tell him my baby brother misses his big cousin, terribly. We all do. ChristmasChroniclesPeachBlossom

Aunt Mae, my fondest Christmas wish would be for you to come stay with us in the spring. You should see the peach orchard when the trees put on their finery. The acres of pink blossoms always put me in mind of a gaggle of fine ladies adorning themselves for a dance. And when the winds blow…dance they do! Though Mama doesn’t agree, I think it’s prettier than any holiday gown.

As you enjoy the festivities in the city, I hope you’ll remember my request. I realize the angel’s “good tidings of great joy” were in reference to the Christ child, but I’m hoping you’ll send me good tidings about an upcoming visit. Think about it. Christmas blessings to you, dear Great-Aunt. And also to Cousin Gerald and all the family. We miss you dearly.

With Love,

Abby

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Thank you for reading Abby’s letter and for sharing this Christmas celebration with us.

To keep the IMG_4023celebration going we’re having another giveaway. One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of OUT OF THE RUINSa handwritten copy of Abby’s letter, and this Father Christmas/San Francisco-themed ornament.

To enter, please comment below. Since we’re celebrating Christmas Chronicles by giving away ornaments inspired by our stories, I’d love it if you’d describe one of your most treasured Christmas ornaments. To start us off, I’ll share that I have a tiny papier-mâché pumpkin on my tree every year. When my husband and I were first married, we only had enough money for the tree–not for ornaments. I decorated with items from my craft basket, including the tiny pumpkins left over from a fall centerpiece. Now they remind me to be grateful for every blessing–no matter how small.

Share the giveaway on social media with the hashtag #christmaschronicles for an extra entry (comment again, below, so I don’t miss any entries). Don’t forget to enter the main giveaway, for a fresh evergreen wreath delivered straight to your front door, by registering at the Christmas Chronicles page. It’s not too late to go back and read the previous letters and enter those authors’s giveaways as well, as the drawings take place on December 7, 2014. The links are below. We have one more stop this week as we hop through cyberspace and history, gleaning the love and joy of the Christmas season from each heroine’s journey.

  • Monday, December 1st: Regina Jennings (Heroine: Abigail Calhoun, A Most Inconvenient Marriage)
  • Tuesday, December 2nd: Joanne Bischof (Heroine: Sarah Miller, This Quiet Sky)
  • Wednesday, December 3rd: Amanda Dykes (Heroine: Aria St. John, Bespoke)
  • Thursday, December 4th: Karen Barnett (Heroine: Abby Fischer, Out of the Ruins)
  • Friday, December 5th: Sarah Sundin (Heroine: Grace Kessler, Where Treetops Glisten)

Christmas Blessings!

Karen
 
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157 Responses to “Christmas Chronicles: Abby Fischer” Subscribe

  1. Rhonda Gayle Nash-Hall December 4, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    My favorite ornament is painted on a real sanddollar and is a picture of the first dachshund that we owned, Lady, and her name is on it as well. I collected ornaments every year and give an ornament to my daughters and grandbabies every year too.
    Rhonda
    rhonda_nash_hall@comcast.net

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      How sweet, Rhonda! We have a dachshund named Mystery. Love those doxies!

  2. Marilyn Johnson December 4, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    I have lots of favorite ornaments. But to pick just one would also go back to when my husband and I were celebrating our first couple of Christmas’ together. We too had no money so we went to a tent sale and they had some Hallmark ornaments on a huge sale and we bought a Santa looking in a fridge, you plug it into the lights and the fridge lights up. We thought we hit the jackpot 😉

    I also #ChristmasChronicles on my Christian Romance Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianRomanceReview

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      That ornament sounds cute, Marilyn! I love those clearance sales. I’ll make sure to mark you down for an extra entry for the FB share. Thanks!

  3. Caryl Kane December 4, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    I enjoyed reading the sweet letter from Abby. I also agree with her sister regarding liver. 😉

    Thank you for this incredible giveaway. Blessings

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks, Caryl! Yes, I’m not a liver fan either. Does that show? Hee hee!

  4. Caryl Kane December 4, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    I shared on facebook:

    https://www.facebook.com/caryl.kane/posts/10152398782756637

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Great! I’ll mark down the extra entry. Thanks, Caryl!

  5. Gail Hollingsworth December 4, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    My daughter made an ornament in elementary school that I loved. A white satin ball was used to make an ornament that looked like a dog. Floppy ears, google eyes, Pom nose. She named it “Bow Wacky”. When she got married she inherited it for her Christmas tree!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      That ornament sounds adorable! Was it tough to see “Bow Wacky” go off to its new home?

  6. Kandi Turner December 4, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    I don’t have just one favorite ornament. My favorites are the handmade ones my children have made over the years and still adorn my tree every year. There’s just something heartwarming and extra special about handmade things.

    • Kandi Turner December 4, 2014 at 7:10 am #

      Oh yes, and I shared this on facebook so all my book loving friends would know about the giveaway. 🙂

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      I agree, Kandi! Now that my kids are 15 and 12, those sweet handmade ornaments are some of my favorites, too.

      • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:05 am #

        Oh, and I’ll mark you down for the extra entry, too. Thanks for sharing on Facebook! 🙂

  7. Dawn Janis December 4, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    My favorite Christmas ornament is probably the Pooh Bear in a wagon of toys. It may have been a Hallmark one, I don’t remember. But I’ve had it for just about forever!

    Another more recent favorite is the glass ball filled with the cut up credit cards from the Financial Peace University course I took 4 years ago.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      I love Pooh Bear, Dawn! And the cut up credit card ornament is a very clever idea. Such a good reminder to keep the focus on Jesus instead of shopping. I love it!

  8. Chris Batman December 4, 2014 at 7:31 am #

    I have several ornaments that my kids made when they were little. One of my favorites has a picture of my son with puzzle piece around it. He has the sweetest and most mischievous smile on his face. 🙂

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Chris, I think I have one of those puzzle-picture ornaments, too. Though mine has a different boy’s impish smile. 🙂 Those are the best.

  9. Deanna S December 4, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    My favorite ornament is the handprint my daughter made me when she was in kindergarden 25 years ago 🙂

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      I love those handmade ornaments!

  10. Sparksofember December 4, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    We’re pretty picky with our ornaments, so they are most all treasured in one way or the other. One of my favorites is a tiny nativity scene made from olive wood. Back in college we were involved with World Relief – every Friday we would drive down and spend time with the many refugee kids there. We worked closely with a YES team that had been there a year. They gave me the ornament from a little shop they worked at that sold items made by Christians around the world. It reminds me of my love for international ministry. (Plus. I love the scent of the wood!)

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      That sounds beautiful! Isn’t it wonderful when ornaments have special memories attached to them? I’ll mark you down for the two extra entries (FB and Twitter). Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sparksofember December 4, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    I tweeted!

  12. Sparksofember December 4, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    And I shared on Facebook!

  13. Julie Christianson December 4, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    My favorite ornaments are the 4 I have from my grandmother.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      That’s wonderful, Julie! I have a few from my grandmother, too. They’re always some of the first to go on the tree.

  14. Rebecca Maney December 4, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    My most treasured Christmas decoration is not an ornament but a nativity scene that my mother and my grandmother both used. It’s beautiful and was a family tradition for many, many years and I hope it will continue through my family.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Nativity scenes always bring me joy, Rebecca! I remember being a young child and staring in wonder at our Nativity set, imagining the whole scene in my head. My mother gave me her set a few years ago. I treasure it!

  15. MS Barb December 4, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    I have wooden ornaments-hand painted in 1973, by my now ex-husband-it was our 1st Christmas–I still love the ornaments! ☺ AND, I have a lamb, made from fleece, that was a favorite of my daughter’s Siamese cat! (the cat thought that ornament was her special toy!)

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      I wish we could share pictures in the comments. I’d love to see those hand painted ornaments. I’m glad they still hold a special place in your heart. And those cats! One of my kitties likes to curl up on the tree skirt. I’m just thankful neither of them have taken to climbing the tree.

  16. Sharon Schoepe December 4, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    My favorite ornament is a heart with a photo of my oldest daughter that she made for me when she was 7

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      I love those photo ornaments. Our kids’ school did those every year from Pre-K through 8th grade–so we have quite a few! They’re all precious.

  17. michelle delp December 4, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    My most treasured Christmas ornament is an old glass ball from my grandfather’s tree.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      What a treasure! I imagine you’re very careful when you pack it away each year. 🙂

  18. Victoria Langdon December 4, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    My favorite “ornament” wasn’t always my favorite. It is a simple yellow ribbon tied to a branch. I first put it on the Christmas following my father’s passing. It was there in remembrance of him. The sting of the death of my father no longer hurts as much since happy memories of him have squeezed into my heart and mind pushing out the sharp pain. Every year when I tie it on the tree I pause to remember each person who has touched my life and is no longer with me to celebrate this awesome season.

    • Victoria Langdon December 4, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      PS Reposting on FB. Your book is so worth sharing with everyone! VPL

      • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:03 am #

        What a lovely idea, Victoria! It sounds like a wonderful way to remember those who’ve touched your life. Thanks for sharing on FB–I’ll put you down for the extra entry.

  19. Sharon Timmer December 4, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    My favorite ornaments are a set of Grandma & Grandpa ornaments that my Daughter bought when we went to Silver Dollar City for Christmas as a family after our 1st Granddaughter was born

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      That’s so sweet! Being a grandparent is a great honor and privilege!

  20. Connie R. December 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    My favorite ornament embarrasses everyone in my family. I bought a plastic angel baby for my husband’s and my first Christmas tree. It’s like a doll, sort of, and she doesn’t have any clothes, I can’t remember if she ever did! Well, when the kids got to their pre-teen years, they got embarrassed to see her on the tree, so I stuck her in a “Christmas Tail” stocking. Those are her clothes to this day, and she never fails to make an appearance on our tree. I smile every time I look at her.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      I love it when ornaments have special memories and stories attached to them. And those pre-teens are so easy to embarrass! 🙂

  21. Connie R. December 4, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    Also I don’t know how to get the FB url, but I will share on FB about the contest.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks, Connie!

  22. Patty December 4, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I always enjoy pulling out the ornaments from years gone by… I really enjoy seeing the handmade ones from my Grandmother who has since passed on. She would make ones out of plastic canvas and colorful yarn.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      How sweet, Patty! My grandma made some of those, too. I have one that looks like a little mailbox.

  23. Amanda Dykes December 4, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Karen, this letter was so beautiful. So much hope woven in, especially in Abby’s symbolism of the trees waiting on life and spring– I love that! You are so gifted, and your heart just shines through each of your words. I loved your pumpkin ornament story, too.

    My ornament story is one that doesn’t actually live on our tree, but one in the hills. When my husband and I were dating, I surprised him one year by decorating a tree in his favorite hills, and then bringing him out to see it and find his gift underneath it. As we pulled each of the ornaments off afterwards, we decided to leave the topper up– it was a plain white pearlescent ornament, to symbolize the moon, which as special meaning to us. A few years later, we drove out there to try and find the tree again– and topper was still there, nestled in the leaves on the ground near the tree. I wonder if it’s still out there…

    Thanks for the joy of your letter, Karen! You are such a gift!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      You have such wonderful ideas, Amanda! How awesome to think of that tree and it’s topper still out there in the woods. If trees have feelings–and I was one of those odd kids who were sure they did–then I’m sure this one felt very special, indeed.

      • Amanda Dykes December 4, 2014 at 11:33 am #

        Aw, thanks, Karen! Like the Giving Tree! Only I hope never to chop this one down. 😉

  24. Tara Marshall December 4, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    My favorite ornament is my daughter’s 1st Christmas ornament. She was 5 months old at Christmas and she is my gift from God. I hang the ornament in a prominent place on the tree every year. One of these years, I will let her have it (she is now 21)….but not yet.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      I love those first Christmas ornaments!

  25. Deanne Patterson December 4, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I shared on facebook as well Karen. Oh goodness, reading the letter from the ecerpt really makes me want to read this book.
    My favorite ornaments are very special to me. These ornaments were gven to me by my mother in law. The years I would have a baby my mother in law ordered hand painted wooden sled ornaments that were personalized with the childrens names. Sadly that company went out of business but I wasn’t done having babies, no. The rest of the babies got gold plated engraved with their names sled ornaments. We have 12 children altogether so the tree looks festive with everyone’s names and the children love seeing their sleds on the tree every year !

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Twelve children–you have been blessed! I bet the tree looks amazing with all the precious sleds.

  26. Jeri Wilson December 4, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    My favorite is actually several! I can’t choose, but among those would be little wooden ornaments my kids made in school with their name on them. And my other favorite would be a small nativity ornament that a dear friend gave me from a trip she took to the holy land. It is made of cedar wood and I love it!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Beatiful, Jeri! Those precious child-made ornaments are the best.

  27. Pauline Welsh December 4, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    After reading the letter would really like to read your book sometime. My special ornament is a pink bell that was on my parents Christmas tree when I was a child.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      It’s neat that you have an ornament from your childhood, Pauline! My mom has offered me some from her tree, but I still like to see them there.

  28. Shanna Lewis December 4, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Great letter, another book to add to my reading list.

    My tree is up right now & I just tried to pick out a favorite. I don’t have a favorite ornament. I love looking at the ornaments my kids made over the years, especially the ones with their pictures. I love ornaments that represent a time in our lives, such as the ornaments my husband bought when he was stationed in Germany without me.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      It was hard for me, too. So many special memories!

  29. Regina Jennings December 4, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Such a fun letter, Karen! I really enjoy this prequel to your story.

    If I had to pick a favorite ornament I guess it’d be one we got at our wedding. It’s an “Our First Christmas” ornament with a Victorian couple dancing on it. We too had a miniature Christmas tree those early years. Even if someone would have given us a big one we wouldn’t have had anywhere to put it.

    Thanks for the memories and the great letter!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Thanks, Regina! It sounds like your early years of marriage were a lot like ours. 🙂

  30. Chris December 4, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Hard to pick one ornament . . . I guess this year it would be our 1st Christmas Hallmark ball. It was $5 28 years ago and so very special. We just celebrated our anniversary on Nov. 29th. I have separated our ornaments so the kids (25, 21, 19) have their own ornaments in a box and they take out (& put away the ornaments they want to put on the tree each year. This year will be unusual as my husband and daughter are away but God is with all of us where we are. Immanuel. Blessings this Christmas to you.

    • Chris December 4, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      I tweeted the contest today.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Oh, it would be tough to be apart over Christmas, but I’m glad you got to celebrate your anniversary together!

      • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

        And I’ll make sure you get the extra entry for tweeting. Thanks!

  31. Karen B December 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    My favorite is a little handmade angel with my oldest son’s picture for the face. He is now 21 and it is from first grade.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      And I imagine that face has changed a little over the years! What a special ornament!

  32. Beth Gillihan December 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    My favorite ornaments are the ones my kids made when they were little.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Yes, those really are the best, aren’t they?

  33. Melissa Alexander December 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    My favorite ornaments are ones made by my mother; counted cross-stitch. She’s in heaven now, but I have the ornaments to remember her by; her love, sacrifice, & talents! She is still LOVED & MISSED!!! Merry Christmas, MOM. Enjoy the presence of JESUS!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

      How wonderful that you have those ornaments to help remember her. Such a blessing!

  34. Melody Amis December 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Karen, first let me say, what a beautiful letter! I love when Abby refers to almost hearing the angels singing in her orchard. I’m sad to say I’ve not read any of your work, but can promise this will be a Christmas treat for myself.

    My favorite and possibly most treasured ornament is one my grandson made when he was 4 or 5 at a library Christmas event. It is a short clear plastic cup with fishing string run through the bottom, has the cutest little candy candy suspended by same string, cotton glued to a round piece of thin cardboard and glued to the opening of the cup. It hangs upside down so that the candy cane dances over the snow. I can still see his sweet face when he gave it to me. Precious memories!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      Thank you, Melody! I relate to Abby in that moment. I’m not overly fond of big cities or shopping, either. 🙂 Your grandson’s ornament sounds lovely, but that image of his sweet face is even more precious!

  35. Brittany McEuen December 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    My favorite ornaments on our tree are the ones that have my children’s pictures in them, the ones that represent when they were born, and definitely the handmade ones that are added each year!

    I enjoyed your letter and thank you for the opportunity to win it, the ornament, and your book.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks, Brittany! It looks like the handmade ornaments with pictures seem to be many people’s favorites! I love those, too.

  36. Liz Willis December 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    My favorite ornaments are the ones that my daughter has made in school. They each have her picture on them and I love looking back at how much she has grown over the last few years.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Isn’t it fun watching how they change over the years? My kids are 15 and 12. It sometimes makes me tear up a little when I look back at their little faces in the photo ornaments.

  37. Melody Durant December 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Rather than have 1 favorite – every year I would buy each of us (6) an ornament, with the goal of only $1.00 each. As the kids married off, they took their’s with them. I shoulda not let that happen and kept them all myself!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      I’ve wondered many times if I’ll have a hard time letting go of those special ornaments when the kids move out on their own. It’s hard for me to even consider the possibility. 🙂

  38. Melody Durant December 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I shared on facebook!

  39. Melody Durant December 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I tweeted!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks, Melody! I’ll mark you down for the two extra entries for FB and Twitter.

  40. Lisa Fletcher December 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    My very favorite ornaments are of course my children’s sweet little creations. But equally special are the few ornaments my husband and I received as wedding gifts. We were married on Dec. 21 so that first Christmas together was extra special as newlyweds. Each year we both really enjoy reliving those sweet memories.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      An almost-Christmas wedding! I bet it was beautiful.

  41. Pam K. December 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I can’t pick just one favorite ornament. Many of my ornaments were given to me by others so that makes them special. I also really enjoy the ornaments made by my children. Now that my son is 18, he doesn’t really like to see the ornaments he made in his early years of school, but I like looking at his sweet face from years ago!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      I just had this discussion with my 12-year-old. She was trying to hide away all the old picture ornaments from her younger years. I told her, “They’re not up there for you!”

  42. Jodi December 4, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    My favorite ornaments are the baby’s first Christmas photo frames of each of my 3 children. They are all grown now, but those 3 ornaments still hang on my tree!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Aww! I’m sure they are precious pictures! Wish I could see them.

  43. Deb McClanahan December 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    One of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a plastic silver bell that I always wanted to put on the tree each year as a child. My parents could never remember how they came to have it but it was there. Years later, my mother gave me a box of ornaments that she and Pop had used their first Christmas in 1953. I was so excited and just knew the bell would be in the box. It wasn’t and when Mom realized how disappointed I was, she told me to find it in the box of decorations and take it. I was thrilled! When I found it in the box; it was in pieces. Nothing else around it was broken-just the bell. And it could not be repaired. I still miss that bell and think of it each Christmas.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      Oh, that’s heart-breaking, Deb! I remember always enjoying a little Christmas elf ornament on my parent’s tree. I’d be sad if it got broken.

  44. Judy Mayhak December 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    My favorite Christmas ornament is a not an ornament but a nativity set I bought the year my husband and I got engaged 55 years ago. Now my granddaughter is engaged and her wedding is next summer. I am trying to decide if I should give it to her to start her married life.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      What a sweet idea, Judy! Do you think she’d treasure it, also?

  45. Peggy December 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    I have several homemade ornaments that was given to me over the years a Sunday School teacher.,that the children made. Every year I remember the child as I put their ornaments on the tree. .what sweet memories. .then I have the on
    s my children made.
    Peggy

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      What wonderful memories, Peggy. The children must have loved having you as a teacher!

  46. Kerri December 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    One of my favorite ornaments is the sterling silver castle which I purchased in Scotland as a Christmas gift for my husband. We were on a second honeymoon and had recently found out we were expecting our first child. It brings back wonderful memories each year as we hang it up and see it on the tree.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland!

  47. Shonda December 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    My favorite ornament is only the size of a quarter. It has a picture of the old saint nick on it and is ceramic. It was my great grandmothers and it has been passed down to me. I have had it since i was a little girl. Its at least 100 years old and in great shape. Ive taken good care of it and is hanging on my tree right now. I was very close to my great grandmother.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      What a treasure!

  48. Rita Spratlen December 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    I have a block from my second sons first Xmas. We lost him at 18 so it is so precious to me. I also have 2 angels glass ornaments that my son bought me when he was little. I cherish them also.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      I’m sorry for your loss, Rita. The ornaments must be a sweet way to hold his memory close this time of year.

  49. Sandra Lester December 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    we have a charlie brown tree, it has become our favorite over any ornament. we won the tree one Christmas and refuse to part with it.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

      I’ve always loved the Peanuts Christmas special. I heard the music on the radio just awhile ago and it made me smile!

  50. Kathie Blackett December 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    I love your letter, it gets to my heart and the mention of Spring when winter is here, lights up the promise of more beauty to come.

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks, Kathie! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve always been a bit of a nature nut and that carried over into Abby’s character.

  51. Kathie Blackett December 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    I love your letter, it gets to my heart and the mention of Spring when winter is here, lights up the promise of more beauty to come. My favorite ornaments are what the grandkids make.

  52. judy nevius December 4, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    I have collected ornament from our travels but I think one of my all time favorite ornaments is a snowman that was made by one of our children from paper sack material and slightly stuffed. It is about 3 times as large as a normal ornament and always gets hung front and center!!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      Neat, Judy! I love those handmade ornaments. 🙂

  53. Pauline Osborne December 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    I enjoyed reading Abby’s letter and the words made images appear, it was heartfelt.
    We have a small santa doll that was given to my first born who was born in 1962, that we put on tree each year as he has grown.
    I have not read all the chronicles but have stopped by some on FB, I will share this post there..

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Thanks, Pauline! Abby’s story is very dear to my heart.

  54. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House December 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    After a surgery as a child, I was given triangular green pills to build up my blood. I sucked on them and they were white underneath.
    My favorite Christmas tree ornament was the angel at the top of the tree when I was a child. The bottom tube slid over the treetop and the body was round heavy cardboard a little smaller than a baseball. It was blue and had sparkles all around it. There were thick gold shiny wings. Through the years I have hunted one like it but it lasts in my memory.
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House December 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Shared link on my Facebook news page #‎ChristmasChronicles‬ Day 4 ~ don’t miss out on these special letters! and on twitter ~ https://twitter.com/LaneHillHouse/status/540728338093199360
      Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

      Kathleen, you got my curiosity up! I went to google and found “Feosol” iron supplements that were green triangles. I wonder if that’s what you had? They still sell them. My parents had a star with an angel in the center, holding a tiny light. I loved that angel, too.

      • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

        Thanks for the shares, Kathleen! I’ll mark you down for the two extra entries.

      • Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House December 5, 2014 at 8:51 am #

        Hi Karen, That sure looks like it ~ I don’t know what the brand name was called. I looked too and thought it was Carter’s Little Liver Pills I took ~ but no, it was an iron supplement. We also got one round brown iodine supplement at school. I would beg the other kids for the tablets if they didn’t like them ~ I sure did; let them melt in your mouth. I would say the teacher didn’t know I was doing that! (whew, just checked and 1-4 tabs a day, ok)
        Kathleen

  55. Kristie Truett December 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    Karen thanks for the wonderful letter. I would have to agree with Abby, I love to visit the city but prefer to be in the wide open space of the country.

    I have many ornaments that I adore simply because they’re family heirlooms given to me by my grandmother. However, my favorite piece of decor to pull out is a sock snowman my now 17 (almost 18) year old son made when he was in Kindergarten. It’s a snowman made out of a tube sock and the cutest little blobby thing. Lol. The cutest part of it is that both his younger sister have carried it around during the Christmas season as a baby every year I pull it out. As much as I cherish it I don’t have the heart to not let them rock the snowman to sleep.

    A very Merry Christmas to you and your family Karen. God bless!!!

    • Karen December 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Oh, that is SO sweet, Kristie! It sounds like that sock snowman has been well loved. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  56. Jennifer Essad December 4, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    when we were married one of our gifts was a Hallmark ornament, a round glass ball w/Snow White and the 7 dwarfs dated 1981, the year of our marriage. I never imagined how hanging this each year would remind me of my cousin and his wife. I still picture us talking the day after, speaking on the driveway of my parents home. They had invited every one over for brunch. My cousin Kathy had 4 boys & we were talking about how quickly we had all grown up. Times have changed we not able to see each other as they now live in Alaska and I’m in Florida. I really appreciate the hand written note she wrote on the ornament box. All cherished memories.

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      You don’t get much further apart than Florida and Alaska! I’m glad you can keep them close with your special ornament.

  57. Jennifer Essad December 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    I shared on twitter

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll mark that down as an extra entry.

  58. Jill December 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    One of my favorite ornaments is a soft, fuzzy candy cane that was on my parents’ tree from my first Christmas as a baby. When I was on my own and had my own tree, it was given to me. I always put it in the front of the tree. Also, my parents had a nativity scene with a hole in the back for a tree light to go through that always sat under the tree since I was one year old. Several years ago the topic of inheriting things came up. I told my mother that there was one thing I really wanted, the nativity scene. That Christmas I opened a present from her to find the nativity scene. Now it goes under my tree with one of the big, old-fashioned lights through the hole to light up the figures.

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      How sweet of your mother to pass that along to you! I love Nativity scenes and this one sounds beautiful.

  59. Carrie S. December 5, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    One of my most treasured ornaments is a bell my grandfather made for my husband and I the Christmas before we got married. My grandfather died 3 months later, 7 months before our wedding. It was the last gift I ever received from him & the last thing he ever made to my knowledge. I still get a little teary-eyed when I put it on the tree each year. I had wondered at the time why he didn’t just wait and give it to us the next year, the Christmas AFTER we were married, but I’m so glad he didn’t <3

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      The best ornaments are the ones that hold a special memory, or the memory of someone special. It sounds like this one has both!

  60. bn100 December 5, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    the angel on the tree

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      I love our angel, too.

  61. Vicki Wurgler December 5, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    my most treasured Christmas ornaments are clips my grandmother had-they would put candles in them

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      I’ve always wanted to see a tree lit by real candles. I’m sure no one does it anymore, but I think it would be a beautiful sight.

  62. Britney Adams December 5, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you for sharing this lovely letter and giveaway, Karen! One of my very favorite ornaments is one my grandmother gave me when I was little. It is a little, yellow velveteen horse with a white mane.

    I shared #ChristmasChronicles on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      I loved horses when I was a little girl (still do, really). I’m sure I would have loved an ornament like this. Thanks for sharing the Chronicles. I’ll mark you down for the extra entries!

  63. Doris Reedy December 5, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I have three ornaments…a lion, mouse and panda bear….my daughter made in Girl Scouts when she was eight years old. These have hung on my tree every year now for 33 years. These hold a special place in my heart..

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      Those handmade ornaments are the best, aren’t they? Especially when they’re made with love.

  64. Joanne Bischof December 5, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    “Perhaps it’s appropriate we celebrate the Lord’s birth in the depth of winter when the everything seems bleak and godforsaken. The angels break through the darkness with “Good tidings of great joy!” and life springs back into the world.”

    Wow, Karen, what beauty! This is a beautiful letter for a beautiful story. I can think of all that’s to come and I hope readers will be snatching up your book to finish the tale!

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks, Joanne! This means the world to me. You know how much I admire your beautiful books. 🙂

  65. Danielle Hull December 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    One of my favorite ornaments is a Noah’s Ark ornament from my husband. He stood in line before work at a local gift store on Black Friday to get it for me 🙂

    • Karen December 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      He sounds like a keeper, Danielle!

  66. Traci Myers December 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    My mom started buying my sister and I ornaments when we were small and I still have most of them. My favorite is a tiny plate that has a Precious Moments nativity picture on it. My Mom died of breast cancer in 1996 and decorating my tree is one of the things I love to do each year because it brings me so close to wonderful memories of her.

  67. Susan December 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    My favorite ornament would have to be the one of my husband and I for our first married Christmas together. We were so young. Just a good, happy memory.

  68. Janna Boersma December 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I love that you were decorated your first Christmas tree with crafts! it makes it more personal 🙂

  69. Loraine N. December 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    My favorite ornament is a blue diamond shaped bulb that is older than I am. It was my favorite ornament to put on the Christmas tree as a child and I was honored when my mom passed it on to me as an adult.

  70. Ladette December 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I have two favorite ornaments:

    #1- my John Denver ornament. It plays Annie’s Song. He is one of my absolute favorite musicians.

    #2- a little soldier in a cupcake with sprinkles on it. It was an ornament that was my dad’s before he married my mom. 🙂

    I tweeted this post. 🙂

  71. Melissa Romine December 5, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    I have a tiny nativity set ornament left that my mom bought when I was a little girl. The price tag on the box said it only cost 9 cents! I love hanging it on my tree every year.

  72. Donna EHD December 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    I hate to admit it, but we haven’t put up and decorated a tree in about 5 or 6 years. So it’s been that long since I’ve looked at all my ornaments.
    I do know I have several made by the children when they were young. And we have ornaments we bought when we were stationed in The Netherlands, and then in Germany.
    And I do know some of my favorites are nativity ornaments.

  73. Bonnie Roof December 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Thanks for that beautiful, touching letter from Abby, Karen!!

    I”m looking forward to reading “Out of the Ruins” – it sounds like such an exciting and emotional historical romance!! I would love to learn more about the earthquake also.

    I loved your story behind the pumpkin ornament and Amanda’s ornament story, also!! I don’t have any special ornament stories, however – the ornaments my children made and those given to me by friends are my most treasured.

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

  74. Bonnie Roof December 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    P.S. I shared about the Christmas Chronicles on my Facebook timeline – with the hashtag!!

  75. tammy cordery December 6, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    My favorite ornament on my tree is a gingerbread lady. It has been on my parents tree since I was little. My mother gave me the ornaments from their tree when they got a smaller tree. I love all those ornaments.

  76. tammy cordery December 6, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    I pinned here is the link http://www.pinterest.com/mommystuck1/

  77. tammy cordery December 6, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    I facebooked too

  78. Renee Jackson December 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    My favorite ornament is the box of glass ornaments from the 1950’s that my mother gave me. At first I didn’t want them because I was in my early 20’s thinking I needed new ones, but am so glad I took them. I grace my tree with them every year and love them so because they remind me of my mother!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours and many blessings!

  79. Kiersti December 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    I don’t need to be entered in the drawing, since as I already have my own special copy of Out of the Ruins I don’t want to take a chance away from someone else, but I wanted to drop in anyway. 🙂

    What a delightful treat of a letter to read, Karen! I love how you captured Abby’s personality, and getting this peek into her Christmas before Out of the Ruins begins was very poignant to me, with Cecelia and all. And the Pink Pills for Pale People…wow.

    Favorite Christmas ornament…that’s hard. I can think of a few…a little ice skater doll one of my close childhood friends made me out of a clothespin, a styrofoam ball stuck with sequins my sister made when she was very small, and a delicately carved wooden snowflake my family bought in Germany. It’s always so special to unpack and hang them on the tree each year!

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