Holiday Cheer with Judythe Morgan

by Anna on December 31, 2013

Thanks so much for having me on your HOLIDAY CHEER 2013 blog, Anna.

It’s a busy time of year, but I’ve so enjoyed reading the guest posts throughout December. I’ve even tried a recipe or two. Yummy!

I hope all your readers will enjoy reading about my holiday traditions. One lucky reader, who comments and leaves contact information, will receive a free copy of Love in the Morning Calm.

10.       What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Every year my husband makes what we call cereal mix, which is actually the Chex mix recipe from a hundred years… well, maybe not a full hundred years… but it’s the recipe that came with the free tin I ordered off the Chex cereal box many, many years ago. He also makes pralines from my Irish grandmother’s recipe. They’re sweet, sugary, and delicious. You’ll find the recipe at the end of the blog.

9.       What is your favorite holiday movie? I’m a sucker for any holiday movie. You’ll find me glued to the Hallmark Channel the entire month of December. I love them all. If I have to pick, I guess I’d choose “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas.” Did I mention I’m also a sucker for old flicks?

8.       What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with family and remembering the true reason for the season is Christ’s incarnation that night so long ago in Bethlehem.

7.       What do you do on Christmas Eve? Being of German descent through my maternal grandfather, we open gifts on Christmas Eve. Santa would leave the BIG kid’s gift on Christmas morning and fill the stockings.

Our Christmas Eves were a noisy, fun time with all twenty-two family members gathered. The number swelled to almost forty when extended family joined the fun. This year we celebrated with one daughter and her family. The evening seemed very quiet with only seven of us.

The best part of our Christmas Eve tradition is attending the Christmas Eve service. There’s something so special about singing “Silent Night” and lighting candles.

6.   Do you have a real or artificial tree? Before this year, my answer would have been artificial. That changed this year, our first Christmas in our new location in the Rio Grande National Forest. We purchased a permit and cut our own tree from the forest that is our backyard. It was such fun trooping through the snow hunting for the perfect tree. I think we’re going to forego the artificial tree we’ve used for years and cut a fresh tree every year.

5.   What’s your favorite holiday quote? “Bah-humbug” from the Dickens’ Christmas Carol! I even have a battery operated doorknocker with Scrooge’s face. He says “Bah-humbug” when you press the knob. Don’t get the idea that I don’t love Christmas. I do, I do. But, I must admit there are days when the rush of the season overwhelms, and I press the Scrooge doorknocker myself!

4.   What color lights do you put on your tree? I like the white lights. Their sparkle and glow remind me of the starlight that guided the shepherds to the manger in Bethlehem where they found Jesus.

3.   Do you wrap as you go or do you do a marathon wrapping ‘party’?  I buy gifts all year long and have a special gift box high in a closet where I put the gifts. Then when the Hallmark channel starts their Countdown to Christmas movies, I set up a gift-wrapping station where I watch movies and wrap.

It’s not exactly a marathon ‘party’ — rather a slow, but sure process. I should really do the wrap-as-I-go and relieve the stress of getting everything wrapped, especially now that I have to mail packages for family and friends from Colorado in time to arrive for Christmas in Texas and Illinois.

2.   Do you have a favorite holiday decoration? I’ve collected White House Ornaments since my sister-in-love worked as President Reagan’s appointment secretary and sent us the first White House ornament as a Christmas gift. I love the history behind each specially designed ornament.

1.   What is your favorite holiday treat (pie, cake, cookies, etc.)? My favorite holiday treat is fruitcake. Yes, you read correctly. I love fruitcake. I try not to think about the gazillion calories.

Of course, I’d love to taste those fruitcakes made by my little Irish grandmother, but she’s been gone for years. I still remember helping her bake them up after Thanksgiving and pouring the Jamieson over the tops then sealing each little loaf in aluminum foil until Christmas. They were so delicious.

Now I settle for Collins Street Bakery’s fruitcake, which aren’t bad.

Jerry’s Pralines

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons dark corn syrup

1 cup canned milk (Carnation or Pet)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups pecan halves

Butter sides of heavy 3-quart saucepan. Combine sugars, corn syrup, and milk.

Heat and stir over medium heat till sugars dissolve and mixture comes to boiling.

Cook to soft-ball stage (234 degrees), stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, cool slightly, and add vanilla.

Beat by hand about 2 minutes before adding pecans then beat until mixture loses its gloss.

Drop by heaping tablespoons on buttered foil or waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. (If candy becomes too stiff to drop from spoon, add a teaspoon of hot water.)

Makes nine 3 ½ inch pralines.

Judythe Morgan bookcover


While on temporary assignment to South Korea in 1966, Major Ace Cabot meets Lily Reed, a Department of Army civilian at Eighth Army Headquarters. 

A high-potential career officer, Ace knows he should resist the temptation of any woman, but Lily stirs feelings he can’t ignore. 

She’s a firm supporter of the budding women’s lib movement with no room in her plans for any man. No matter how captivating his smile. 

In an uncertain time, yielding to temptation changes both lives forever.


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