It’s Not the Meal

Amish Holidays, Contest Comments: 123


Amish Holiday Tip, It’s Not the Meal

Wow. Holiday meals can be STRESSFUL. Right? We worry about having each person’s fav dish. We worry about whether everything will look good. We worry and work ourselves into a state of exhaustion.

As most of you know, the Amish generally have large families. And I can tell you that they cook some fantastic dishes, but it’s not the meal that counts on Christmas. It’s the birth of our Lord, and seeing family, and spending time together. One Amish woman shared with me that she had 42 grandchildren who visited every Sunday. I asked her how she cooked for everyone and she laughed and said she didn’t! Everyone brings a cold dish.

Perhaps we should give the picture-perfect dinner a rest. Maybe we should refuse to give in to that sort of pressure, and instead celebrate the birth of Christ and the love of our families. Now for this week’s contest.

You all responded so sweetly to last week’s contest, I thought I’d try it again. This week I have a prayer shawl I made — and though I didn’t know who I was praying for, God knew! Maybe, if you win this, it would be something you could give to a family member or friend, or maybe it is something that you need for yourself.

This week’s winner will receive:

Leave a comment below with your email and you are entered!

As always, you have the opportunity to enter the contest more than once by sharing the information from this blog with your friends, posting a link on facebook, or submitting an online review of one of my books. Be sure to leave me a 2nd comment stating what you did. (Only 2 entries per person).

The contest deadline is Tuesday evening 7:00 p.m. (CST), December 11th.



p.s. — You can order copies of my books directly from my website now. I’m still giving away a free calendar with each purchase.

Leave a Reply

123 thoughts on “It’s Not the Meal

  1. Susan Fryman

    Again, another great post. I really love your prayer shawl. If you by chance still have the pattern would you share it here or on FB? I always cooked a big meal when the kids were home, but oddly enough I wasn’t too worried about it being perfect. Some of my best memories were when odd things happened, like the turkey took twice as long or I forgot to get the do ahead mashed potatoes out of the basement fridge to heat. Everyone at our house just chuckles and goes on. Wow that was also amazing about the Amish woman with 42 grandchildren that visited every Sunday. Sounds like she was blessed and a blessing. Merry Christmas and blessings to you, Susan Fryman P.S. I never did hear, are you in pain with your broken foot?

  2. Geri Kelley

    Since I have become so sick with cancer I have learned to slow way down and smell the rosses there can be blessings in cancer….so many other things in life have brought me such joy feeding the cows, sunrises, sunsets seeing the deer pictures in your yard a childs laughter if we all would stop and just LOOK we would all see so many beautiful glorious things in this life it makes me feel sad that so many people are missing out. Our meal will just be the 2 of us and very peaceful thanking our wonderful GOD for all that HE has blessed us with…LIFE thank-you GOD for everything. So I hope you all slow down and enjoy this season each day will never be the same embrace them and enjoy your family <3

    Geri Kelley

    1. Susan Fryman

      Geri, I’m sorry to hear you have cancer and I will be praying. We also take time to enjoy our day everyday, even more so since we’re both disabled as well. What will you be preparing for your Christmas dinner? We piecemeal ours. I believe we’re having ham, possibly with scalloped potatoes and veggies. Blessings and Merry Christmas to you as well. Susan Fryman

  3. Juanita Cook

    I have learned to slow down since I have gotten older. I love seeing the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, looking at the stars at night,and always seem to be watching the sky and all it’s beauty. There is so much beauty in our world and I have been seeing more & more of it as time passes. Our Christmas will probably be just the two of us. And that is okay, can spend time with family another day whenever possible. I love the color of this beautiful prayer shawl and would feel honor to win it and the rest of this great package that you are giving away.. You and your family have a very blessed Christmas and New Year

  4. rdjohnson57

    Love your blog today! We do need to put our focus on Christ & His Birth & family! I love your blogs & I love reading your books. Thank You for all you do to reach to us, your readers, to bless us & minister to us!
    In Christ,
    Debbie Johnson
    Jer. 29:11-13
    101 Fairway Dr.,
    Senatobia, Ms. 38668

  5. Rosemary Foley

    That is a very nice prayer shawl !!! great job !!! my mom was wearing one when she passed last year, it was such a comfort for her !!! she wasn’t afraid, she knew where she was going, and was quite relaxed, and gave us her strength !! Thank you for giving me a chance to win a prayer shawl, that is a wonderful prize !!!! πŸ™‚ thanks for triggering the nice memory !!! have a blessed day !!! Rosemary

  6. Karla Hanns

    I love your message today. We have decided to do just that. We are going out for Christmas dinner, just 6 or 7 of us. Then , I won’t be exhausted from cooking and can sit back and enjoy my day. Please do not enter me in the contest. I feel that there are others who could use that prayer shawl much more than I. I have been very lucky in recent months to be a winner in other contests. It is time to share- it IS Christmas time!! Just wanted to say Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing such meaningful messages.

  7. Mardi Moye

    My family really needs this prayer vest, my son and daughter in law who have a 7month old daughter just found out they are going to have another baby in July…..oh my!!!!!!!! More for grandma to love

  8. Cheryl in WVa

    Your blog hit home this morning, it’s not about what we are eating, it’s who we are eating with..and listening to one of the grandbabies saying Grace before we eat, celebrating the Birth Of Baby Jesus!!

  9. Jane Reeves

    What a beautiful prayer shawl. I would love to win it plus the other gifts. Would you share the pattern? Thanks for the opportunity to win these lovely gift.

  10. Wanda Sigler

    First time I’ve been to your blog. Such a warm gentle site! I’m led to remember that everything I have, which seems sometimes like clutter to me, isn’t really mine, it belongs to God because with His help, I’ve acquired all this “stuff” that I have. Christmas isn’t about what to give, it’s remembering what He gave.

  11. Loretta Susan Cantrell

    Thanks Vannetta for giving us an insight on being closer to God. We are blessed this year to spend Christmas with our children and grandchildren. Its been a long time but we most of all want to spend it thanking him for giving us his son to save us. Have a blessed Christmas and i hope your ankle is doing good. May Gods blessings be yours thru this busy season. Love the prayer shaw and love all your books.

  12. Marie Ferland

    I agree with the Amish that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and spending time with family. My mother-in-law keeps asking what my husband & I want for Christmas and we keep telling her we just want to spend time with family, we don’t need gifts. I’d love to win! Thanks!

  13. Diane Liggett

    What an awesome gift!! I would love to win!! Your books are soooo good, I pray you keep on using the gift of writing that God has given you!! Reading about the Amish has helped me to learn to live more simple, materialism is not so important as I once thought it was, I don’t need or want the “stuff” I used to think I had to have!!!!
    Diana Liggett

  14. Kathy Rowe

    Would love to win your contest packaage. Just returned from a trip to Holmes County, OH. Love it there! So peaceful and quaint. Met some very nice folks and enjoyed spending time with them. Enjoy your blog – thanks for taking the time to do it so we can all enjoy it. A very Merry Christmas to all of the “bloggers.”

  15. Laurie Willson

    I too agree that it is not the fancy meal, but the fellowship and celebration of our Savior’s birth that matter most. I am going through my list of people I pray for to decide who I would share the prayer shawl with If I would win, but decided to leave that to The Lord too. God bless!

  16. Joyce Schmidt

    Just finished “A Simple Amish Christmas” and was sad that it ended! Wanted to know more about what happened to Annie and Samuel!! Just saw that a sequel is coming out next year! Yeah!! So glad you felt there was more to tell!
    Your prayer shawl is lovely! You do good work!

  17. Loretta

    Aww, yes we do want to do the perfect meal and have the house looking perfect when our company gets here but is that really possible? Do our guests care? I don’t think so. We’ve got to slow down the hurry. At least, I do.

  18. Carol Carman

    You did a very nice job on your prayer shawl. I can’t think of a more lovely gift to give than something of yourself. I’m like the others on here…we need to stop our “busyness” and let God’s peace wash over us. He speaks to us in a still, small voice, according to scripture, but sometimes we aren’t listening. The greatest gift is Jesus!

  19. linda vanderweyst

    When our family gets together on Christmas day, Everyone brings a dish to share, We usually have plenty of food and everyone finds something they like to eat. It is very calm and no one needs to be in the kitchen preparing. We just plug in the crock pots and go off and visit with the family. Pre time before eating is 10 minutes to set up the serving line. We always start with pray and now pray is lead by my son who is a priest. We all feel very blessed. I would love to win you shawl. I crochet but usually give my things away. It would be nice to receive for a change. Thank you and take care of that foot.

  20. Joan Gunter

    Since my husband and I are both 70 and retired, our lives are relatively peaceful and we find our prayers directed more and more to those outside of our family. The holidays are a wonderful time to direct our thoughts and actions in that direction. One of our favorite “targets” is treats for our local law enforcement to thank them for their service in our behalf. My husband was a volunteer fire chief for 40 years and our son-in-law is a deputy sheriff. Sweet is the peace that Gospel living brings.

  21. Janet

    Throughout my life it has been the simple things that mean the most to me. My meals are never prefect as I’m just not known for my cooking abilities but what inspires me is that my family eats it anyway, lol! I have loved reading ever since I can remember. To those of you who are fighting cancer or other illnesses may the Good Lord heal you. Merry Christmas everyone.

  22. Melissa

    This year with it just being the four of us in our family, we have decided to do a cold cut Christmas dinner. Very little prep and clean up. My youngest daughter and I plan to make a Birthday cake for Jesus. racky (at) carolina (dot) rr (dot) com

  23. Elaine Fullerton

    I am praying for a Christmas miracle. My sister-in-law needs a liver NOW! This shaw would help me remember to pray more! Love it!

  24. Deidre Elkins

    You are so right and we do need to reclaim Christmas and remember it’s not the meal and it’s not the presents, but His presence in our lives. This year Christmas will be quiet here as my hubby will be working Christmas Eve and Christmas night at the hospital. But, we will have our dinner and we will have our focus on the the birth of Christ and his reason for coming. I would love to win the shawl as several ladies in the church will be getting together in the new year to start this as a ministry, making prayer shawls, praying as they do for the one who will receive the shawl. Entering this contest only once… πŸ™‚ but will share your link.

  25. Nancy Cashwell

    I lost my moma from a tragic accident and this coming week she will have passed four year ago. I still don’t have closer on it and still I am having a hard time.I would like to have this prayer cape I think it would help me to remember she would wants me let go and go one with my life.It is the season to celebrate the birth of Christ and not fell sorry for my self.

  26. Kathy Akers

    I would love to win this package. The book, shawl, bookmarks and calendar. The shawl is beautiful, but if someone was placed on my heart that needed encouragement, I would gladly give it to them. Christmas is for us giving to others, just like Jesus gave the most wonderful gift of all to us, Salvation! Let us not forget what Christmas is all about during this busy time of year.

  27. Jerrilyn(Jerri)

    I am enjoying reading the Amish Christmas stories this time of year. I have caught up on all of your books so am waiting for the next and the next, etc.:) Appreciate your
    “give away gifts”. Jerri

  28. Sue Gaines

    Just started reading your books. Love them!! Also love and use your Amish suggestions, a huge help to me and my family.

  29. Dianna Reidenbach Bupp

    I love your books and would love to win this prayer shawl and one of your books. I really need a prayer shawl at this stage of my life – sure need prayer!!!!
    Thank you Vannetta!!!!! And Merry Christmas!!!!!

  30. Tammy Neill

    I need to cultivate some of the Amish Mentality the “it’s not the meal” for sure!
    Please enter me to win you sweet prize package.

  31. Sandy

    I keep our Christmas meal simple, but I enjoy making something special. We are having Leg of Lamb this year with a Greek salad and baked potatoes. Easy, with no fuss. Lamb is not something I cook throughout the year so that is what makes the meal special for us.

  32. Jane Squires

    I really really loved this post. I remember one Christmas we fixed lasagna because that was what my youngest daughter wanted. I haven’t even talked to her yet about what she wants this year. But since Grandpa and I do most of the cooking, I hope they make it simple. At my oldest daughter’s we celebrated on Thanksgiving it and my grandson’s second b-day and Christmas. So that was three things covered in one meal. It was so special. I love giving and seeing the excitement on my grandchildren’s faces. This year as part of their gift I am taking them Christmas shopping to let them buy so they can experience the joy of giving.
    Enter me please. jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  33. Bernice Pfau Mercier

    Your prayer shawl is gorgeous! My hubby has one from when he was younger, and visited a friend’s church. It’s wonderful for having private devotions as well! I would love to have one. Please enter me to win your prize package. God Bless and keep you well and writing for the Lord’s Glory! Bernice Mercier

  34. malinda

    what a lovely prize you are so right about Christmas, we have gotten away form the true meaning, Christ’s birthday, i stress over the meal, it would be so nice just ot simplfly it, which may be done this year, thank you for your great contest, love all your novels.

  35. Judy Burgi

    Since we have no family near us to celebrate Christmas as a family, ours has really become simple. On Christmas day we go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and then on to see a movie. It is so relaxing. I do miss family gatherings though. My husband John and I concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of the Christ Child. John is excited because as a Deacon he will be giving the prayer at the communion table on Dec. 23rd. He feels so honored to be able to do so just before Christmas.

    The prayer shawl is lovely and I would love to win it. This is the first Christmas without my Mom…she is celebrating in Heaven this year. How nice it would be to wrap myself up in this prayer shawl and thank God for the years he allowed us to have Mom with us.


  36. Joyce Schmidt

    I posted a review on the book I read last week! “A Simple Amish Christmas” Glad to see there is going to be a Sequel!

  37. Jettie Parrish

    Beautiful Shawl, and I’m looking forward to reading some of your books, though yet, I haven’t had the pleasure.

  38. my recent favorite books

    Your crocheted prayer shawl is so pretty! My Grandmother had made me a crocheted shawl when I was younger.. I miss her so much…
    Your books and your blog posts are so inspirational, thanks so much for all that you do!

    Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

  39. pag36

    What a beautiful prayer shawl, have always wanted one. So much turmoil in my family now and am trying to focus on the real reason for the season. Would love to win this. God bless all who are reading this and Blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all. Patti in VA

  40. Nancee

    Thanks for sharing, Vannetta. I’m in complete agreement with you regarding how we need to refocus our celebration of Christ’s birth. I’m going to follow your Amish friend’s tradition and my 4 daughters can bring food! Your prayer shawl is beautiful, and I know of 2 people that could truly use those prayers along with the comfort of a warm shawl to wrap up in. I’m going to have to take up my knitting again. Thanks for offering this generous gift from the heart. You’re a dear friend, Vannetta!

  41. mary ellen ashenfelder

    Such a wonderful giveaway — beautiful prayer shawl — we all need prayer in our lives. I enjoy your blog very much. Please accept my entry. Christmas Blessings to you and your family.

  42. Evelyn Lortz

    I love that more and more people are going back to the simple things. It’s like suddenly a light has gone on and everyone has come to understand that people are more important than things. Thank you for sharing all you do with us.

  43. Ann Fitz

    I to do not believe in strewing over Christmas dinner. My family gets together and everyone brings a dish and my brother- in-law does the turkey.
    I have a person in mind for the prayer shaw if I win.
    Christmas is for THE BIRTH OF JESUS. Family being together also inviting others for dinner who do not have anyone. If the people can’t get out we take a meal to them and spend time with them. It is not about getting a gift or the stress of giving the best or most expensive give.

  44. andrea brooks

    Your prayer shawl looks beautiful and magnificent!!! I have read your books and love reading your emails!!! As for Christmas.. The reason for the Season is Jesus Christ’s birth!!! It is better to give than receive… My blessings to others are the best gift.

  45. Linda D. McFarland

    This time of year I feel sorry for myself as I have no children, no grandchildren and it is lonely but after reading your blog and the inspirational comments I realize I should quit feeling sorry for myself and stop envying others and praise God for His provisions and the Birth of His Son for my salvation. This is a wonderful giveaway. The prayer shawl is beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity. Linda

  46. Jackie Tessnair

    The prayer shawl is absolutely beautiful.You are so talented.I love your books and I would love to win this contest.Thanks so very much for writing such great books,

  47. Elaine Rieder

    Beautiful prayer shawl. Would love to win your prizes. We will be having 2 Christmas celebrations this year. The first will be on the 22nd with our son and all our grandchildren and on Christmas day with another son, daughter-in-law and daughter.

  48. Jennifer Hibdon

    I would love to win a book and prayer shawl. I shared the link on Facebook, also. Thanx ,Vanetta. Merry Christmas, Jennifer

  49. charliesspphireangel

    Vannetta, what touched my heart the most was envisioning you praying as you crocheted the prayer shawl for an individual only known to God. He does have his mysterious ways in reaching those who need him the most at the right time and situation.
    Tammy Lagoski

  50. Wendy Hulbert

    I agree that Christmas is about the birth of our Savior. Every year my children and I bake a cake or cupcakes and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. They have learned that it does not matter what gifts we may have for each other under the tree; the only gift that truely matters is the gift that God has given us – Jesus.

  51. Christine LaValle

    Faith, family, fellowship…and FOOD! The only reason to celebrate Christmas is because of Christ Jesus ! Adding family time, fellowship with other believers(some of whom also happen to be family), and the culinary specialties of the season make this an incredible banquet of love! P.S. If I won this giveaway, I would be extra-blessed!

  52. L

    It would be wonderful to win such a persoal gift as the handmade prayer shawl. I have not felt well for the last few months and have spent hours reading (many are your books) to fill my time. I have placed this offer on my Facebook page.


    It would be wonderful to win such a persoal gift as the handmade prayer shawl. I have not felt well for the last few months and have spent hours reading (many are your books) to fill my time. I have placed this offer on my Facebook page.

    *(this a 2nd entry — I did not have my name on the first one – my fingers stuttered and i entered before I was ready)*

  54. Deanna Riker

    What a beautiful Prayer Shawl, would you be willing to share the pattern??? Your simply the best! I so enjoy following you on facebook, your Wednesday pray is such a blessing. I hope your blessed many times for all the wonderful positive energy you provide us with.

  55. pat blinco

    Loved all your books in that series. I want to read the Miriam book next! Can’t wait to read your next series that comes out. Material witness was my favorite loved the ending & the characters.

  56. Linda Johnston

    Finished reading Material Witness this past weekend. Great book. Hated to see it end. Praying for a quick recovery for you.

  57. Sharon Lewis

    Hello Vannetta! What a lovely shawl you crocheted. I enjoy your postings on Facebook, and now I’ve discovered your blog. I’ll be checking back frequently. Thanks for having the fun contest. πŸ™‚

  58. Lynda Saxon

    Love all your books and would love to win one. Hope you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. Keep the books coming!!!!!!

  59. Julia Thoel

    I agree it is not the meal. Although we all throughly enjoy that. My theory is who knows what I did not get done? Takes the pressure off.

  60. Sarah N. Howard

    I love to read about the Amish,such a simple life. We visit the Amish in Crab Orchard,Ky. and buy from their store. They are a wonderful bunch of folks.
    I would love to win your book. Keep writing and God bless!

  61. Kathy Faberge

    What a nice prayer shawl. Would love to be included in this giveaway. Thank you, Vannetta, for the opportunity to enter.

  62. Georgette Harrald

    I crocheted a prayer shawl for my mentor teacher last year, but haven’t gotten around to making one for me. Yours looks beautiful!! I agree with you about keeping Christmas dinner simple like the Amish do. Thanks for your wonderful books and writing about the Amish! I really enjoy them! Georgette (