*GIVEAWAY ALERT!* My Favorite Christmassy Things!

********Giveaway of GLORY ROAD advance copy is CLOSED—the WINNER is Erin, who was the very last to comment! Erin, please send your mailing address to Lauren(at)LaurenKDenton.com. Congrats!! And thank you to all those who left comments—boy, some of you have had some wild Christmas experiences! Thank you for sharing such sweet and funny stories. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!



Hi Friends! Welcome to My Christmassy Things, where twelve authors share our favorite Christmas memories and stories and YOU, dear reader, have a chance to win one of several gift cards or the *grand prize* of 12 print books—one from each of us! (And pssssst…at the very end of this post, you’ll find a separate giveaway for an advance copy of my novel GLORY ROAD that releases March 19!!)

Today is my day to share…

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Disaster isn’t exactly synonymous with the word “favorite,” is it? It’s hard to call a disaster your favorite anything (favorite terrible moment, maybe?) but in the spirit of My Favorite Christmasy Things, I’m going to tell you about my most memorable, if not favorite, Christmas disaster.

Decorating my own Christmas tree was something I was always really excited to do once I got married and had my own home. I imagined warm twinkle lights, hot chocolate, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire coming from the speakers. Maybe some snow drifting down outside. (Ha! We live in Alabama!) My husband and I lovingly hanging ornaments side by side.

And it was that way for a few (childless) years.

Well, not exactly that way. There were twinkle lights, and ornaments, and my husband was usually around somewhere. But mostly it was me hanging ornaments on the tree while watching Christmas Vacation. But still, there was always the moment when the tree and mantel were all decorated, everything sparkling and colorful. I loved seeing the ornaments we’d both accumulated over the years—crafty things we made in preschool, ornaments picked up on vacations over the years, a yellow tennis ball my childhood best friend gave me when I was ten or so, the key that Matt’s parents gave him when he bought his first home after college. Everything hanging on our tree was somehow a part of who we’d been and who were were going forward.

Once we had kids, the decorating of the Christmas tree changed. Our first child, Kate, was born in November, so that first Christmas with her remained pretty much the same as it always had been. She slept in her rocker while we/I decorated. Going forward though, and especially after her sister Sela came, decorating became a game of keep-away. Let the girls have fun and experience the joy of Christmas, but for the love, keep them away from all things breakable and covered in glitter.

Several years ago, when Sela was about two and Kate was five, I attempted to decorate the whole tree while Sela was napping and Kate was having quiet time in her room. Matt helped me wrap the tree in lights then I started in on the decorating. Box after box of childhood ornaments and a host of paper/popsicle stick/cotton ball/candy cane ornaments the girls had made. All of it out of hiding and hanging on our tree. When I was putting on the finishing touches—hanging those last awkward ornaments that didn’t have a hanger, looking for a sturdy branch for the heavy jingle bell—the tree fell over.

That’s right. Fell. Over. On the floor. Needles and sap and ornaments everywhere. I did what most people would do in that situation—I cried. Yelled. My husband came running down the stairs, wondering what in the world had happened. He lifted the tree and got it standing again and I began to assess the damage. Somehow, the painted sand dollar ornament Matt’s grandparents gave him in 1981 survived but his tiny two-year-old handprint in pottery didn’t. I think we still have that little broken hand in a drawer somewhere. I lost several ornaments I’d gotten at an annual ornament-swap party I used to go to, along with a gold star I’d always loved for no particular reason.

Once I picked up the broken pieces and attempted to hide the bent and twisted branches, I realized what had happened. As I’d been hanging ornaments, I only hung them on the three sides facing out into the room, because why put ornaments where no one will see them? It’s easy to think ornaments don’t weigh very much until you hang a tree’s worth of them on basically one half of the tree. Do that and you’ll soon have a big mess on your hands.

It’s been several years since that debacle and we’ve accumulated many more of those paper/popsicle stick/cotton ball/candy cane ornaments, as well as several more I’ve bought for the girls’ collection and a few I’ve picked up just for fun. We have plenty. But I still think about Matt’s little hand print and those fragile snowflakes that lost their arms.

Oh and we now secure the tree to the wall behind it. Pull on it and it won’t come down. No more toppling trees for us.



Be sure to visit each stop so you don’t miss the fabulous daily giveaways!

Dec 13: Ronie Kendig – My Favorite Christmas Movie

Dec 14: Jody Hedlund – My Favorite Christmas Food

Dec 15: Elizabeth Byler Younts – My Favorite Christmas Ornament

Dec 16: Beth K. Vogt – My Favorite Christmas Decoration

Dec 17: Rachel Linden – My Favorite Christmas Service

Dec 18: Courtney Walsh – My Favorite Christmas Memory

Dec 19: Rachel Hauck – My Favorite Christmas Book

Dec 20: Susan Meissner – My Favorite Christmas Vacation

Dec 21: Catherine J. West – My Favorite Christmas Gift

Enter by midnight on 12/21/18 USA Eastern time! Winners will be drawn on 12/22/18 and posted on Catherine West’s site.

Draw open to US addresses ONLY, with apologies to our international readers.

Major Prizes:

1st: All 12 Print Novels
2nd: $50 Amazon gift card and $20 Starbucks Gift Card
3rd: $50 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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To be entered to win an ARC of GLORY ROAD, just leave a comment here on the blog and tell me YOUR favorite Christmas (or Hanukkah!) disaster. Or if you’re lucky enough to have not had any kind of holiday disaster, tell me your favorite holiday tradition. This contest ends at midnight EST on 12/23/18. (US residents only.) I’ll post the winner here!

Good luck on both contests!




  1. Dorothy Schwab on December 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I haven’t had any disasters ! My favorite tradition is attending church on Christmas Eve with my family!

  2. Jan Laney on December 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    My favorite tradition is my family’s annual night before Christmas Eve dinner, gift exchange and spend the night party at my Moms. We have breakfast pizza for breakfast on Christmas Eve and spend the day relaxing.

  3. Perrianne Askew on December 12, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    My Mom had recently remarried and they let me get a kitten. He climbed to the top and down it crashed! Vintage oranaments and all were cleaned up and salvaged. We made wooden ornaments for the next year. But the cat always loved the Christmas tree. In his old age it was always a favorite place to sleep. He lived a good long life (nearly 20j so the memories are good.

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Perianne, We had a cat who loved the Christmas tree too!

  4. Melissa Romine on December 12, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    We’ve had some interesting Christmases. When I was in the third grade, the clock radio in my parents’ room caught on fire. It said contained, but our entire house was covered in smoke – including the Christmas tree and ornaments and gifts. I remember helping my mom clean ornaments one at at time in the kitchen sink because she didn’t want the cleaning company to do that. We laughed together because when we were finished all of our formerly blue and red bells were now silver – we cleaned the color right off!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Of all things to catch fire, a clock radio! So glad it wasn’t worse!

  5. T. on December 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    We went to Chattanooga for a day trip around Christmas with Ruby Falls and Rock City Enchanted Lights on the list of activities. We bought a package deal for both and were assured the package would cover the holiday Enchanted Lights at Rock City. Low and behold when we got there we were told we didn’t have the right ticket and that we’d need to pay extra $ to go. Kids are eager, the weather is cold, the lines are long, etc. This is the time my sweet husband, who is usually non-confrontatonal, decides to stick to his guns and won’t pay the extra because we were told wrong. I think he thought they would honor our ticket since the staff person made the mistake of telling us wrong. Nope, they wouldn’t let us in. And my usually non-stubborn husband decided not to back down. So we packed back up in the car and drove two hours home. No Enchanted Lights. Lots of disappointment for the girls. It’s funny to look back on, but stressful at the time. And guess what? Now we are Rock City members so no worries on having the wrong tickets! 😆

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      What a story!

  6. Katie Malik on December 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    No diasters! But love baking for the holidays

  7. Chanel Monroe on December 12, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    No Christmas disasters come to mind, very fortunately. My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree while listening to my favorite Christmas tunes! Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Brandi Rawlins on December 12, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Oh my goodness! Similar mishap. My daughter was two and our tree fell over. Turned out one of the legs on the tree stand broke. I lost many “fragile” ornaments. Ten years and two more kids later, our tree is full and brimming with love and ornaments that tell all kinds of stories.

  9. Vada Sherburn on December 12, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Not really so much a disaster as a “joke gone wrong”…husband and I decided to put up a “Charlie Brown” tree as a joke for the kids and hid the nice one outside hidden from sight…the kids were very disappointed at the sight of the little stick tree but when we laughed and said just kidding and he went to bring in the big big tree…someone had stolen it😩😩 we had no choice at that late date to get a replacement!!…Charlie Brown tree it was!!!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Vada, that’s hilarious!

  10. Kassie on December 12, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    No disasters, thank goodness! Love to gather family together, (from everywhere) cook, eat too much, drink eggnog shakes and watch christmas movies all day. Best day of the year 💜

  11. Steph Pogachar on December 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Last year we decided to remodel our kitchen between Thanksgiving and Christmas, not a great idea when you host family for Christmas!! Needless to say we had to rely on others to host and we put up the tree a day or two before Christmas. But I do remember setting my coffee on our plywood temporary counter that morning, listening to the kids play and all felt ok. Happy Holidays all!!

  12. Sharon Timmer on December 12, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Favorite Christmas disaster happened when I was a child. 3 Santa Clauses showed up at my house at the same time. ( My parents had some major explaining to do that year) 😂

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Sharon, that’s so funny!

  13. Cheryl Hart on December 12, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I don’t think I’ve had a Christmas disaster. Some of my favorite Christmas traditions is reading from Luke chapter 2, watching It’s a Wonderful Life, and watching Hallmark Christmas movies!

  14. Joanne Mielczarski on December 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    My memorable holiday disaster was my first Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I thought I preset the oven to start and cook the turkey, then I went back to bed. Well, the oven didn’t go on as planned, so needless to say turkey dinner was very much later than planned. I even threw the turkey into the microwave at one point to speed up the cooking. Never used my oven timer again!

  15. Tricia on December 12, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    No disaters so far.Favorite is always watching my kids open there gifts and now my grandkids.

  16. Abby Breuklander on December 12, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    I’ve had the flu around Christmas so many times it’s not funny, every year I cringe waiting for it to hit. Hopefully this year will be different!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Oh, I hope so too! That’s a tradition that needs to go away!

  17. MJSH on December 13, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Hmm. We broke a lot of ornaments when the kids were younger. Taught us only to get plastic ornaments 😉

  18. Jennifer K on December 13, 2018 at 12:13 am

    One year I had the flu from Christmas to New Years. It was awful.

  19. Martha A. on December 13, 2018 at 12:28 am

    I was sick on year for Christmas. We were at my grandma’s. So not only was at my favorite place, but I was sick. And I only got up long enough to open gives with the other kiddos. and went back to bed. I was sad b/c I could here everyone having a good time.

  20. Jessica on December 13, 2018 at 12:46 am

    I’m not sure I have had a horrible Christmas but my most memorable was when my husband proposed. At first I thought it was horrible and it turned out to be good lol. We’d been together 3 Christmas already and we exchanged a wish list of which one of my things was brown cowboy boots.
    Well when I opened it I was shocked to find the ugliest imitation of Ugg boots from Walmart with a clearance red tag on the box for $7! I was taught to be grateful and I was trying to keep a smile on my face as I fought ungrateful tears. I wanted to run out the room but he insisted I try them on as I kept my fake smile on. Long story longer the engagement ring along with our wedding bands were inside the shoe. As I stared shock not expecting this inside these horrible boots he says, ‘I did not go to Jared but I went to Walmart, will you Marry me’. To which I started laughing, then crying. Then I felt guilty about being ungrateful for the boots that held the simple unexpensive but lovely rings that we still were today in honor of our love.

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      What a funny and sweet story!

  21. Melanie Falconer on December 13, 2018 at 1:07 am

    No real holiday disasters I can think of. My favorite Christmas tradition is reading The Night Befire Christmas on Christmas Eve!

  22. Robin Bowlin on December 13, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Fortunately, I have not had a holiday disaster. Very thankful for that! My favorite Christmas tradition has always been reading Psalm 100 on Christmas Eve. I started doing that as a child on Christmas Eve and look forward to that each year. It might seem like a small tradition, but to me, it’s very important and special. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season! Merry Christmas!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks Robin, same to you!

  23. Marcia Bridgford on December 13, 2018 at 1:14 am

    I’ve been pretty lucky because the worst disaster I remember was the year our tree completely dried out by Christmas. That morning the needles were pretty sparse on the tree but the packages were covered! We ended up putting the tree out on the curb that afternoon.

  24. Dianna on December 13, 2018 at 3:24 am

    One year when my husband and I were poor newlyweds, we went to his family’s house for Christmas — 7 hour drive. We left right after work, stopping by the house only long enough to get the mail and make sure everything was turned off. About 3 hours into our trip, I realized I couldn’t find the cash I’d saved for the trip. We had no choice but to drive on, hoping it would turn up. We made it on hope and love, scraping whatever we had left in our bank account to get there and back. Sure enough, when we got home a few days later, my husband found the cash in our roadside trash can — I’d thrown out the bank envelope with the mail. Luckily the trash hadn’t been collected yet!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Wow, what a story! I bet y’all were happy to see that money in the trash can!

  25. Sharon C on December 13, 2018 at 5:31 am

    My favorite Christmas tradition is candlelight Christmas Eve service with my Niece and great nieces and great nephew and our hubbies and any extended family members that join us.

  26. Ashley Dial on December 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    My favorite Christmas Disaster :
    My son was not normally a shy kid, and he took to strangers pretty well, so I thought he would be the one kid (at 22 months old) who would not have the santa crying photo! So I pick out the perfect Christmas outfit. Cute little bow tie and suspenders, little loafers, he look like a Christmasy baby James Spann! Everything was going so great in line. He was in awes of the tree and the lights. So happy! I just knew it was going to be the best picture. It is now our turn and I sit him in Santa’s lap and start to step back out of the way. He is all smiles and so happy. But then he turns and sees who is holding him and totally freaks out. We still bought the pictures, because you can totally see the moment he realizes someone else is holding him. Each year they make us laugh so I guess it was the perfect picture after all!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      A Christmas baby James Spann!!

  27. Arletta on December 13, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t think I’ve had a holiday disaster – yet. One of my favourite traditions is eating croissants with our girls on Christmas Day while we open our gifts. It’s a tradition that my husband brought from his family and I’m happy to carry it on.

  28. Taylor Metcalfe on December 13, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I can’t say that I have any real Christmas disaster memories but I do remember as a kid being at Grandmothers house with the hole family opening presents and getting a pick of underwear. Super embarrassing 😄😄

  29. Carey on December 13, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Oh my sorry to hear about the tree disaster! All these years my tree has stood. I had to start using artificial trees since 2006 n had one kitten lnock it down lol but only once! Cats learn teehee
    My fave traditions is decorating the tree, make sugar cookies n family on Christmas Day. My mom raised me that way baking cookies loving Christmas and I still do it!!

  30. Caryl Kane on December 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Fortunately I have been spared a holiday disaster! I enjoy attending a Christmas Eve Candlelight service.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you Caryl, same to you!

  31. Melissa Andres on December 14, 2018 at 3:57 am

    I can’t think of a Christmas disaster, so one of my favorite traditions is our church’s Christmas Eve program. Then we go to some friends house for pizza and games afterward. It’s a fun evening!

  32. Merry on December 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    My only Christmas disaster I can think of was right during our family dinner with relatives our son had a huge diaper blow out in an outfit one of our great aunt’s gave him. Every one was laughing!

  33. Lisa Hudson on December 15, 2018 at 2:00 am

    On Christmas Eve, we always go to our Christmas Eve Service at our Church & then have our meal at my parents’ home (we have now inherited the meal at our home). This particular year, we had gathered our two little ones, our wrapped gifts and the dishes we were contributing to the meal. We were dropping the food off on the way to church. Our Church is about 20 miles away & my parents’ home is 12 miles away. As we took a curve on two wheels, the huge pot of highly seasoned green beans that I was holding in my lap, shifted suddenly filling my lap with grean bean juice. I had grean bean juice in places I didn’t ever anticipate! At least I had on black slacks & had a long coat because there was NO TURNING BACK! I’m sure that everyone around me at Church thought I had received some fabulous new perfume for Christmas – Eau de Haricots Verts!

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Lisa, that’s hilarious!

  34. Donna Kersjes on December 15, 2018 at 7:28 am

    In September of 1989, I experienced Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina. In December, we had just gotten our house put back together and then it snowed on Christmas, preventing us getting together with our family. We had the food and they had the presents from our extended family.

  35. Jennifer Rumberger on December 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I can’t think of any holiday disasters, but we’ve had various people sick at Christmas. It’s just not as fun when everyone isn’t healthy and able to enjoy this special time of year.

  36. Cathy on December 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I remember, as probably a 10 year old, that we had a small tree, a live one, that we had in a pot to water and keep fresh, and it was placed on the typically unused dining table. Too much water and it tumbled over!

  37. Sonnetta Jones on December 16, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    My Christmas disaster happened to my sister. We had just finished Breakfast and came into the living room to just chill. My sisters and I were sitting and laughing at something. Suddenly we heard the breaking of glass. My sister had fallen through the glass table. To this day we do not know how she did it. We all lost out it and to this day we still do. She was not hurt but it was hilarious.

  38. Jocelyn on December 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Our holiday came to a halt when the refrigerator, that had all of our food, quit! Thankfully our service man came out on Christmas eve and got it back up and running before everything was ruined.

  39. Carrie on December 21, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    I am positive I have had Christmas disasters (partly because I am a clutz!) but I cannot think of any at the moment. 😛
    So a favorite tradition: driving around looking at lights, listening to Christmas carols, and enjoyimg family and Jesus!

  40. Linda B on December 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    The Christmas that always comes to mind when someone talks about unexpected happenings. It wasn’t a disaster to me, but maybe to someone else.
    When I was growing up, we had a Christmas play at church and sometimes they would have someone dress as Santa to hand out presents to the really little kids. My sweet little neighbor (10 years younger than me) climbed into my lap to watch Santa walk up to the tree. She commented that Santa looked awfully skinny. I told her that he must have went on a diet so he could eat all the cookies, but if he wasn’t careful he would lose his belt. When I said the word belt, his belt went to his knees for a second and then on down to the floor. Luckily the belt wasn’t actually holding his pants up. I’m sure Santa would have said it was a disaster or at least embarrassing.

  41. Erika on December 22, 2018 at 2:35 am

    I always enjoy looking at Christmas lights and going to candle light services

  42. Erin on December 24, 2018 at 2:55 am

    I love creating memories with my children that standout to me from my childhood. Listening to Christmas standards by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra while riding around looking at Christmas lights reminds me of my grandmother. I also love watching "classic" Christmas movies with them like Home Alone and Elf. I also love reading Christmas classics like The Grinch and The Polar Express with them, and letting them take turns reading parts of the book now that they are learning to read. These are sweet, irreplaceable memories for me and I hope my children will look back as fondly on their childhood Christmases as I do on mine.

    • Lauren Denton on December 24, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Erin, you’re the winner of the GLORY ROAD advance copy giveaway! Send me your mailing address at Lauren@laurenkdenton.com. Congratulations!

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