Monday, December 10, 2007

The 12 Authors of Christmas - Donita Paul

Please welcome author and friend, one time mentor, Donita Paul. I met Donita in a critique group years ago and she was a great help to me. In fact, she critiqued my first published book, "Lambert's Pride."

Welcome, Donita.

Tell us about your first Christmas memory?

I had three brothers older and wiser than me. In our house, we were allowed to open one present Christmas Eve and we'd spend weeks deciding which would be the one to open.

I had zeroed in on a box that rattled deliciously. My brothers, of course, had guessed it was a puzzle, and kept enticing me with other gifts. I don't know why they didn't want to open the puzzle, but I was stubborn and opened it.

Then we got out the cardboard table, and sorted pieces. I was happy, and my big brothers soon fell into the spirit. We had the border done and one huge chunk before we went to bed that night.

(rh: Those are the best times!)

Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

We were allowed to go in the family room and get our stockings before mom and dad got up. Then we carried them up the stairs to their bedroom and unpacked them while our parents laughed and carried on about the presents from Santa we revealed

When do you put up your tree?

We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving as many people do and take it down on New Year's Day. When I was little we hung those wonderful, crinkled tinsel on each branch. It was heavy and hung just right. They don't even make that type anymore. Now, I just watch my daughter and her husband and the grandsons decorate. My job is to unwrap the ornaments. It is a very cushy job.

(rh: Sounds good to me.)

What is your favorite Christmas song or album?

Every year one of the local tire stores had a Christmas album on sale. I believe it was the Firestone Store. We would go get one and wear it out.

I can still sing the Steve Lawrence rendition of The Night before Christmas.
I wrote a very simple Christmas program for the church where I was Children's education director. I happened to find a copy this year. Tears came to my eyes as I remembered the young people doing their parts.

(rh: Something about Christmas time and music touches the soul.)

Tell us about your Christmas setting?

We live in Colorado but that doesn't guarantee a white Christmas. We moved into a new neighborhood this summer. Here they do a lot of decorating, and it is fun to come home and see the lights. We've had snow and the displays are even prettier with a white background.

Shop on line or at the mall?


Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

Jesus, family, generosity.

It's Christmas day, what's for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

We have turkey, bread/sausage/sage dressing, cranberries, pumpkin pie. Sounds just like Thanksgiving, doesn't it?

We make Gingerbread men. Here is the recipe: (yum!)

Gingerbread Men

3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey

1 cup buttermilk

6 1/2 cups sifted, unbleached flour (can use half whole wheat)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps. ginger

4 tsps. baking powder

3/4 tsps. baking soda

2 Tbsp. orange extract

Mix melted butter, molasses, and honey until smooth. Add buttermilk and orange extract, then flour sifted with salt, ginger, baking powder and soda. Mix to a smooth, stiff dough. (In the end, you will be kneading with your hands.) Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut into shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes. Cool on racks.

(rh: Oh, this sounds so good!)

Here's one of those Christmas question lists that go around the internet:

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both

Real tree or artificial? Artificial

Do you like eggnog?

Favorite gift received as a child?
A miniature Grandfather's clock

Do you have a nativity scene?

Hardest person to buy for?
My daughter-in-law

Easiest person to buy for?
My grandsons, they want everything and enjoy everything.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A box of candy designed to curb your appetite. (rh:
LOL. Who gave you that?)

Mail or email Christmas cards?

Favorite Christmas Movie?
Miracle on 24th Street

When do you start shopping for Christmas?
At the after-Christmas sales

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Hmmm? Well, . . . Yes.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie

Clear lights or colored on the tree?

Favorite Christmas song?
Serious: Oh, come, oh come Immanuel; Stirring: Joy to the World;
Fun to Listen to: Carol of the Bells; Most meaningful personally: I Heard the Bells on Christmas day; Children's: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Travel for Christmas or stay at home?

Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Commercialism. In fact here is a song from the play I spoke of earlier -
Sung to We wish you a merry Christmas:
We wish you a lot of money. We wish you a lot of money.
We wish you a lot of money to spend in our stores.

What I love most about Christmas?

Spending time with family, drawing closer to God, remembering Christ's humble entrance into our lives, picking out just the right present to please someone I love.

Merry Christmas!!!!

The Official Word on Donita Paul

Donita K. Paul enjoys writing, but she enjoys her readers more. Her web site is place where she can interact with readers, young and old.

Mrs. Paul is a retired teacher but still spends a great deal of time with young people. Although she lives in the shadow of Pikes Peak, she does no mountain-climbing, preferring more sedate hobbies such as knitting and stamping. She prefers to make things she can give away.

Still surprised by the popularity of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles, she is writing on three projects: dragon readers for emergent readers, picture books about a dragon and his best friend, a turtle, and the next novel about Amara.


Ausjenny said...

Thanks Donita, I am one who loves a jigsaw and normally gets on for christmas to start that night.
I am so glad imnot the only one to recycle gifts. (i only do it with things i cant use or am alergic to etc)
Thanks so much for sharing.

Will H. Donaldson Family said...

This is for Rachel.....


ok, I'm a little late....

Love ya