Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome Linda Andrews!

 Today I'd like to welcome the fabulous Linda Andrews !


What signals the start of the Christmas Season for you?

I'm not talking about the store displays that go up before Halloween. Or even the piped in holiday Muzac that oozes through speakers. I'm talking about the tradition that has somehow managed to survive from your parents' house to yours.

For me, it is bringing out the spinning Nativity. Somewhere in the midst of my dad making his cracker stuffing and filling the house with the scent of sautéed onions and celery and augmenting it with sage, my mom would go to their closet, lift down the spinning nativity, and set it in a place of honor at the dining room table. It always smelled of sandalwood, cinnamon and pine.
No doubt from the red candles.

There were scorch marks on the blades from the flames, but I loved to watch the heat make it spin. Of course, it was only lit during Christmas breakfast because it was made of wood (even the candle holders) and, uh, wood likes to burn.

Not that I needed candles to make it spin.I had hands. And as a child, I'd always take time from preparing whatever was my job for the meal and spin the thing so fast the blades went flying. Remember that scene from Christmas Vacation when Eddie does the same thing while Clark Griswold is serving him a cup of eggnog? That was me, sans the delicious nog.  Every year.  Until I was twenty and then got married.  My mother would sigh, then tell me to put the blades back in. Which was part of the fun:-) 

Moving into my own house, I had to visit my parent's house to get  my spinning nativity fix. Then during my second Christmas, my parents moved from the Valley of the Sun to the City by the Bay. Christmas just wasn't the same and I couldn't find the blessed spinning nativity anywhere (Scrooge had recalled them for being a fire hazard). 

My husband tried to compensate by buying me a carousel from Avon that played Christmas carols. Okay, it moved but alas it just wasn't the same. By our fourth year, he'd hit up the ceramic houses and pewter figurines by Department 56. The pewter figurines were so my children didn't smash and break them, too badly. Each year, I was treated to different things until my collection expanded to Halloween and Spring, eventually inspiring my books The Christmas Village and Some Enchanted Autumn. 

To my children, the swapping of figurines and buildings signals the changing seasons. I spend the day cleaning then set the scenes the way I want, then my children come along and rearrange them. It's not hard to tell who was at work. My oldest moves the people into porches and corrals the animals. My youngest clumps everyone together in one giant group. My son builds Lego monsters that clutch people and topple buildings and figurines. I think messing with mom's stuff is genetic.

Over the years, I grew content with what I had until one year I went to Goodwill and low and behold there in the beam of a rainbow and a sprinkle of glitter a spinning nativity. My heart stopped. It didn't actually spin as the metal rod was bent and pieces were missing--fan blades and candle holders, but otherwise it was intact.
And it was beautiful. My husband picked it up. "We can fix it."  And we did.

Every year at Thanksgiving, I set it on the dining room table.
And the cats come and swat at the blades sending them crashing about.
And I go to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner (they've returned to the Valley) and spin the nativity until the blades fly off.  
And my mother sighs. 
Don't you love family traditions?

I'd like to thank Linda for sharing with us today and I hope our visitors will take time to comment and maybe tell us about their own family's favorite tradition. 

You can learn more about Linda Andrews and her other books at

The Christmas Village is available at  Amazon  and  Barnes & Noble


  1. Thanks for having me today, Sandra.

  2. Hi Linda,

    I enjoyed reading about your special spinning nativity and how your Mom tolerated your mischievous antics with it. I'm glad your persistence paid off and you found one for your family to enjoy. Funny how childhood memories stay with us forever, undiminished by growing into adulthood :)

    My fondest childhood Christmas memories center around cooking and baking. My dad was Italian and cooked like a dream. All of my mother's extended family who hailed from Colombia and lived in Miami would gather round our abundant table and feast on the banquet he'd lovingly prepared. He passed away when I was 19 years old, but the memory of his warmth and generosity expressed through his cooking remain forever in my heart.

    Now I'm off to get a copy of your book, The Christmas Village - sounds wonderful!

  3. Linda that was great. So true how are childhood memories hold our heart. Great that you found another nativity and your hubby fixed it for you.

  4. HI Sophia,

    My uncle was Italian and I have some memories of those Christmas memories of those as well. I have his Italian cookie recipe that I make only this time of year. Yum. Now I want Rigatonis:-)

    Hi Renee.

    Thanks for stopping by. The smell of baking bread always bring back memories of my family and of driving by the Holsom bakery on the way to the airport!

  5. What a cool story. We didn't have anything like the spinning nativity. Most of our traditions revolve around favorite foods made each year and ornaments for the tree.

    The kids both check the tree for ornaments they made over the years, plus ones we've bought from the various places we've lived. Each one brings back memories of other Christmases and friends from that city/state.

    The Christmas Village sounds like a fun read. Will it be offered in e-book format at a later date?

  6. Hi Carol,

    Every year my oldest sister compiles a cookbook of those we've shared. It's about an inch think and my adult children and planning on stealing it when they move out.

    The Christmas Village is supposed to be released sometime in December and should be up on kindle and nook, but right now it's only available in ebook from fictionwise.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I enjoyed your post, Linda. When I was growing up, my dad always played the Chipmunks Christmas albums right after Thanksgiving dinner; now all my family has the music on CD's and no matter where we are, we all listen to our respective CD's Thanksgiving afternoon. It brings us all close together even though we're far apart. Weird, I know, but it works for us. I look forward to reading "The Christmas Village!"

  8. Lovely post. At my house, I do what I want. My Ex and my daughter didn't get into decorating. I have all the decorations from Mama's house and the MIL's tree and decorations. I spread them all over my house from Thanksgiving 'til Christmas Day.

    My daughter did set up 5 trees last year at her house. Hmmm. I still have the decorations she made as a kid.

  9. Thank Pam. Elvis and Jonny Mathias are our Christmas music.

    Mary, I can't believe your daughter has 5 trees and am glad to hear you decorate. With my kids getting older I sometimes feel the spirit of Scrooge sitting on my shoulder as more and more of it falls to me to do.

  10. Linda, I really like your cover. My favorite tradition as a child was my parents' open house on Christmas Eve. I had so much fun.

  11. Linda,
    I really enjoyed your post. father read the story of Jesus' birth in the Bible before we opened gifts. He wanted us to remember why Christmas began.

    Also, all the women in my family (aunts, grandmother, cousins, etc) got together and made fruitcakes. Fruitcakes take a hard rap, but I happen to like them.

    Thanks so much for being my guest today.

  12. Ohhhh Goosebumps... I love this story. I haven't seen a spinning nativity. Will definitely have to check it out. I do have the growing village. Have never had room to put it all out and even thought about selling it this year. You have changed my mind. I'll add it to the pile for storage (will take up at least 1/4 of that room...) but I will have it for future use.

    LOVE the cover of your book and now I can't wait to read it. Am headed over to Amazon right now.

    Thanks Sandy for sharing this!!!

    And thanks Linda for blogging about something so dear to my heart. :)