Category Archives: Amish Holidays

Christmas Decorations

Amish fiction, Amish Holidays Comments: 22

Amish Holidays-Christmas Decorations

Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain how the Amish live. After researching and visiting and reading … It’s doubly hard to explain how they approach something as special as Christmas. Do they decorate? Yes, they do. As with most things, they do so simply. I thought this scene from A Simple Amish Christmas, might explain it best.

In order to ignore those moments, ANNIE threw herself more forcefully into the household work. After helping with dinner, she again checked on her father, then sat with her sisters and mother, sewing or reading. Above all, she made sure she was away from the house if Samuel stopped by, which he had again on Friday.

She told herself she wasn’t avoiding him, but she turned down an invitation to go to town on Saturday. Instead she spent the morning in the barn, cleaning off the large, wooden nativity scene they’d created as children.

She paused only long enough to talk to the bishop when he came for a visit. They agreed she would be baptized into the church the following Sunday, since there would be no service the next day—it being their off week.

Annie was grateful she’d have a few more days to prepare. Not that the thought of being baptized and accepted into the church made her nervous; she actually was looking forward to it.

But the idea of Samuel watching? Ach! It made her scrub even harder with the soapy water, rubbing away on the large wooden cut-out figures.

 “I believe the dust is all gone from that one,” Rebekah said, entering the barn and studying the silhouette of the virgin Mary.

 “Ya. I suppose it’s clean enough.” Annie laughed at her own absent-mindedness, then stood and helped her mother carry the four-foot carving out of the barn and place it among the other pieces.

 “Mamm. Tell Reba to keep her mouse out of the infant’s cradle. It’s not proper.” Charity marched forward with an armful of straw and dumped it into said cradle.

 Reba’s screech could have been mistaken for a mouse.

“Careful, Charity.”

 “He’s a mouse. He lives in straw, when he’s not in your pocket, which is disgusting, by the way.”

 “Girls, you both helped build this nativity scene, when you were very young. Do you remember?” Rebekah’s question—calm, wistful, and tinged with only a touch of disappointment––was enough to stop Charity and Reba’s bickering.

 Charity stepped closer to Reba, and Annie heard her ask, “He’s all right, isn’t he?”

 “Ya. Only a little scared.”

 “Maybe you should give him some of that cheese you carry around.”

The two girls turned and walked back into the barn to collect the last of the wise men.

“I remember when we made them,” Annie admitted. “Adam and I practically ran home from school the entire month of November that year.”

“Your dat had the idea. Charity was struggling with the concept of the virgin birth, and Reba was certain the infant Jesus had forced some poor animal to lose its dinner by sleeping in the trough.” Rebekah slipped her arm around Annie’s waist and walked with her back toward the house. “Jacob decided having you children build the nativity scene would help everyone understand the Christmas story a bit better.”

Annie waved to Jacob who was sitting on the porch, wrapped in blankets. “I’m glad he’s well enough to sit outside and watch. That’s nothing short of a miracle, mamm.”

“Never doubt the Lord. He will take care of your dat, and he’ll take care of whatever’s bothering you too.”

What decorations around your home have the most meaning to you?


ps-I’m in Texarkana at the Lifeway Bookstore today from 11-1. If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you!

Christmas Shopping?

Amish fiction, Amish Holidays, Amish view Comments: 29

Amish Holidays-Christmas Shopping?

How was that black Friday shopping? I don’t want to discourage anyone, as I realize that our economy depends on those after-thanksgiving purchases … and yet–

So often I see folks purchasing what they can’t afford, then worrying about it afterwards. Yes, I’ve been guilty of that a time or two myself. Often enough that I usually stop myself now … it’s not worth the late night stress! : )

So what is the Amish way? Do they purchase Christmas gifts? From the folks I’ve talked to, they do, but in moderation. The gifts are usually practical and one or two does it! Many gifts are still handmade.

When I bring this up, the reaction is usually … my family would never put up with THAT. What do you think? Is it even possible to try to simplify our Christmas consumerism?


ps-You have until tomorrow at 6:00 to sign up for last Tuesday’s contest. Just arrow back 2 posts and you’ll find it. : )

Amish Cookery

Amish Holidays Comments: 12

Amish Holidays-Amish Cookery

While we’re learning from the Amish, I thought it would be fun to exchange a recipe. A sweet friend of mine collects cookbooks (thanks, Connie). She was going through her boxes recently and found a very old paper cookbook from Nappanee, Indiana. The following is one of the recipes.

Brown Sugar Pie

Fill unbaked pie shell a little more than half full with a mixture of brown and white sugar. Add 2 tbsp flour and 1/2 tsp salt, mix with fingers. Add enough milk to dissolve sugar, allowing enough room for it to boil up while baking. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pecans on top are good. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Anyone brave enough to try it? My goodness! If you do, I suggest a small piece so your blood sugar doesn’t go too high! lol.

So tell me the NAME of your favorite Thanksgiving food. : )


ps-Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray and I finish our Amish Country Holiday Tour today in Lancaster, PA. Thank you to everyone who has come out on the tour stops and all of you who have followed us here and on facebook.

Being Thankful

Amish Holidays, Amish view, Shipshewana Series Comments: 7

Amish Holidays–Being Thankful

I’m in Shipshewana, Indiana this morning, but still wanted to post about the way Amish celebrate the holidays. I do believe there are a few things we could learn from their culture that would lessen the stress and anxiety we sometimes feel.

For instance, I learned from Wanda Brunstetter’s site that Amish families have a time of devotion on Thanksgiving morning. This is totally in line with what I have seen and read.

I’ll be honest. I have a hard time pulling my family together by the time the meal is on the table … let alone in time to have a devotion in the morning. But I still think there’s something from this simple practice that I can learn. Definitely I can slow down, take the time to be grateful, and even tell the members of my family how thankful I am for them.

What do you think? Would it help your holiday at all? I’m hoping everyone is having a lovely November.


ps-Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray and I are on our Amish Country Holiday Tour. All details of the tour, including locations and times, can be found here. I’m also running a daily contest on my facebook page during the tour.

Family over Food

Amish Holidays, Amish view Comments: 10

Amish Holidays-Family over Food

For the next few Saturdays I wanted to look at the way Amish celebrate the holidays. Maybe there’s a few things we could learn from their culture that would lessen the stress and anxiety we often feel.

While visiting with an Amish family in Shipshewana, the grossmammi admitted she sees her grandkinner every Sunday–all 42 of them. I asked her how she cooks for so many. She smiled and said, “Oh I don’t. Everyone brings a cold dish. The important thing isn’t the food. It’s that we see each other.”

I do love holiday food–honest. But I’m wondering as we spar over who will cook what, if perhaps we could learn something from this darling Amish woman. I have no doubt, she’ll be with all her grandchildren and children on Thanksgiving day. Probably no one will pay much mind to what they’re eating.


ps-Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray and I leave on our Amish Country Holiday Tour this Friday. All details of the tour, including locations and times, can be found here. We’d love to see you.