I love Christmas caroling!
One of my favorite activities at Christmas is Christmas caroling. What fun to bundle up so tight you can’t move and see your breath hanging on the air as you and other enthusiastic members of the makeshift choir belt out “Silent Night” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” The best caroling parties is when we’ve gone to nursing homes. The smiles from the residents are worth it all! It’s a high infusion exchange of joy!
I’ve been on the receiving end of a Christmas caroling party too. It seemed that for several years in a row, I was always sick with bronchitis from the Monday after Thanksgiving till the week after Christmas. Bummer. That cut out caroling parties, Christmas cantatas and solos at Christmas Eve service. One year, as I sat home feeling sorry for myself, my doorbell rang and I could hear the faint echo of singing voices on my lawn. I pulled the collar of my bathrobe around my neck and opened the door. There stood our youth group caroling to me. No wonder people smile with such happy faces when carolers land on their lawn! Caroling means someone thought about me.
I’ve also been on the third angle of a caroling party. After our youth group at another church finished their rounds, they all trooped into our home for hot chocolate, cider and homemade cookies, dumping jackets, hats, and gloves on the floor everywhere. My house was filled with happy voices and cookie stuffed mouths as the teenagers cheerfully complained about how cold it was and devoured my cookies. What a pleasure to serve those who had served. Cleaning up half-filled Styrofoam cups, wadded napkins, and cookie crumb the dog hasn’t found yet never bothers me. They’re tell-tale signs of a home full of life, goodness and contentment that some young people have brought joy into other people’s lives.
Here’s my recipes for hot chocolate and sugar cookies:
Hot Chocolate Mix
8 to 10 cups dry powder milk
2 cups coffee creamer
1 pound Neslie’s Quick
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all ingredients well. Store in air-tight container. Use 1/3 cup dry mix to 1 cup warm water.
Karen’s Almost Famous Sugar Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and extracts. Stir in dry ingredients until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Press cookies with fork dipped in sugar in a crossed pattern (like peanut butter cookies). Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
I wonder what kind of cookies the character in Kathy Rouser’s story,” Special Assignment,” served a certain little boy. And I wonder what they were doing when they drank that steaming cup of hot chocolate?
Kathy’s story appears in the Christmas Anthology, Christmas Treasures: A Collection of Short Stories, coming soon in ebook and paperback format. In Kathy’s story, Detective Lucy Meriwether has already found life tough enough on her own. When a little boy is handed off to her on Christmas Eve by a mysterious social worker, things are about to get tougher. Caught in a blizzard with a flat tire, she finds God works in most surprising ways.
Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl. Her debut novella, The Pocket Watch, is part of Brave New Century, a Christian historical romance anthology, published in 2013 by Prism Book Group (Inspired Romance). Kathleen has also been published in Homeschool Digest and An Encouraging Word magazines and the Oakland Press. She contributes regularly to Novel PASTimes, a blog devoted to promoting mainly Christian historical fiction. She is a long time member in good standing of ACFW and a former board member of its Great Lakes Chapter. A former homeschool instructor, Kathleen continues to teach children through the ministry of Community Bible Study. She lives in Michigan with her silly cat, Lilybits, and her hero and husband of 33 years, Jack, who not only listens to her stories, but also cooks for her.
You can find out more about Kathy here.