Pat Wahler

Penning stories to savor.

A Special Occasion Needs…

Christmas sounds have been filling my car since early November, when radio stations started playing songs of the season. Although there are plenty of nice contemporary tunes out there, I’m partial to the old classics sung by people like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Andy Williams, and Judy Garland. Some of them bring a smile, while others leave me misty-eyed. When a friend asked me (in more than a little exasperation) why I listen to holiday music before Thanksgiving, I blurted out my truth. “Christmas songs make me feel good.” And they do.

Me. (

Of course, I’m not completely without boundaries. I don’t set up my tree until just before December 1.  Once the branches have been dropped and de-smooshed, I pull out the ornaments. Unwrapping each one is like stepping back in time. There are whimsical snowmen and  jolly old Santas. Tiny red felt stockings with a fluff of cotton at the top. A lacy-looking angel my grandmother crocheted. Dog figurines – lots of them. Smooth painted wooden ornaments, one of which bears the teeth marks of my dog from years ago. Poor old Schatzi chewed everything she could reach – including baby Jesus, who now sleeps in the manager with a disrespectful puncture hole straight through His belly – damaged, but fittingly not destroyed.

My not-so-MarthaStewarty-tree.

Then there are the sweetest ornaments, with a child’s name scrawled across them – remembrances of the days when my children were young and proudly brought home the treasures they’d crafted at school. Images of toothless grins and wide eyes flood my mind as I hang their ornaments on a tree with no theme or coordinating colors. Yet to me, it’s beautiful, and I don’t care what Martha Stewart thinks.

Once the decorations are finished, I move on to the food. Putting a batch of Snickerdoodles in the oven (my Mom’s special recipe), scents the air with the warm and slightly spicy aroma of cinnamon. If such a thing is possible, the cookies taste even better than they smell. Warm from the oven and practically melting on my tongue, I can almost envision Mom standing next to me. Go ahead and have another one. It’s Christmas.

Why do I love this season so much? I think I’ve figured it out. In many ways, Christmas makes me feel like a kid again. I recreate each sound, touch, sight, smell, and taste of the past, which brings memories of friends and family who no longer walk this earth. At Christmas they can return for a while, much more amiable spirits than Scrooge’s, to remind me of happy times from long ago when I had no bigger worries then wondering if Santa would bring me the Barbie doll I wanted. (He did, too. What a shame I played with toys instead of keeping them as future retirement investments.)

When all grown up, will this little guy crave Snickerdoodle cookies at Christmas?

I don’t think I’m unique in my hunger for tradition. Everyone has rituals related to occasions special to them. In my mind, these are the little moments that firmly connect us to the past. And if we do our job well, they’ll also bind us to the future.

So as you celebrate your own special traditions, whatever they may be, I wish you peace, contentment, and many blessings in the new year. Thank you for being an important part of my life.

Now you must excuse me as I play one of my favorite videos, sip hot chocolate, and stare at my hodge-podge tree while Bing croons White Christmas. Ah, what bliss.


In keeping with these thoughts on tradition, you’ll find a new recipe on the Easy-Peasy tab. I can testify that whenever this little gem would appear on the school menu, I’d leave the brown bag at home and bring lunch money. It’s cranberry cake with hot butter sauce – the perfect blend of tart and sweet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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  1. Beautifully written, Pat! Wishing you and your family a joyous holiday season! ♡

    • Pat Wahler

      December 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you, Sally! I hope you and your family (especially adorable little Desmond) have a magical Christmas.

  2. I love the older Christmas songs as well. There are a few contemporary Christmas songs I like, but not many. I also like the older Christmas movies. I’ve probably watched Christmas in Connecticut 10 times already.

    I hope you have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

    • Pat Wahler

      December 22, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Oh, Angela, I love Christmas in Connecticut! Usually it’s on television quite a bit, but there don’t seem to be many showings of it this year. 🙁

      Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. Great post, Pat. I can smell those Snickerdoodles. Mmmm…. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Pat Wahler

      December 23, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Merry Christmas, Lisa! Hope you and the family enjoy a blessed and beautiful holiday with some time spent relaxing on the beach. 🙂

  4. Merry Christmas! I do love traditions too. We try to do some of the same things every year, just like my mom used to do with me. 🙂

    • Pat Wahler

      December 23, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Merry Christmas, Margo! I love the idea of handing down traditions. It seems like such a beautiful way to connect families.

  5. This was a wonderful post, Pat. :”Images of toothless grins and wide eyes…” and the chewed up baby Jesus… this is a delight! Merry Christmas. Stop by and see my present.

    • Pat Wahler

      December 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks, Linda! T’is the season, and, as you may have guessed, one of my very favorite times of the year. Merry Christmas!

  6. What would Christmas be without traditions??? I connects us to our family and friends near and far, alive and passed.

    • Pat Wahler

      December 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      You are so right. I visited your blog and loved looking at the pictures of your new house. It’s beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  7. A belated Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year. I always love getting out the ornaments or putting them away with a trip down memory lane.

    • Pat Wahler

      December 28, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      I agree, Ann. Memories are one of the most important parts of Christmas.

      I hope you and your family had a most wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year to you!

  8. Pat–I’m sorry I’m so late in reading this and replying to it. I love “hodge podge” trees, too. Those trees that are are all matchy-matchy are boring (in my opinion).

    I hope 2018 is a wonderful one for you… and it will be, because you have two books coming out this yea, right?

    • Pat Wahler

      December 28, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      It’s hard to believe 2018 is almost here, isn’t it, Sioux? Yes, if all goes as planned, two books are on the horizon.

      Fingers crossed all goes as planned. 🙂

  9. I loved the Hallmark movies, the snow, the hot drinks, making cookies and bread.

  10. Lynn Obermoeller

    January 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I think I need to hang out with you next Christmas!

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