Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas - a Time for Giving

Christmas is not so much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~Janice Maeditere

It's December. Already. How does it get here so quickly? It didn't used to be that way. Do you remember when you were a kid and Christmas Eve seemed like it was three days long? We always had a Christmas dinner and presents at my aunt's house on Christmas Eve. My sisters and I would go over to her house and spend the day. Our aunt, who was like a grandmother to us, pretended we helped her get the meal ready. I did make the punch when I got old enough. Loved that job. Still make the same punch out of orange juice and pineapple juice every Christmas now. But anyway, we'd get everything ready. The presents would be piled under the tree with their enticing promise. Then we'd have to wait for our parents to show up. I don't know what they did on Christmas Eve but whatever it was always took them a loonng time, but it was wonderful when we finally saw them coming across the yard. We could finally eat dinner and get to those presents we were so eager to open.

Gifts of Love

Those wise men started something we all love with those gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We enjoy getting gifts, but we also love giving gifts. And with nine grandkids, I have plenty of chances to enjoy giving some Christmas gifts. I've already been out there shopping and while I was shopping for them, I also went shopping for prizes for a Christmas giveaway for my reading friends.  

Prizes for my Christmas Giveaway

The first prize is a lovely dogwood bloom pillow for the Shaker shop and the winner's choice of one of my books. Second place winner gets three Christmas novellas (pictured above), Melody Carlson's A Simple Christmas Wish, an autographed copy of Sarah's Christmas Miracle by Mary Ellis, and an autographed copy of my Christmas at Harmony Hill. Then for those of you who tell me you "never win" I'll have that extra drawing with the prize a snowman pin and the winner's choice of one of my books. 

How to Enter

You can enter by sending a message from my website, www.annhgabhart.com, or by leaving a comment on my blog here with a way to contact you.  For fun, you can tell me about a gift you gave someone else that was either the best or the worst gift ever. You don't have to share a story to enter, but you can if you want. Remember, you have to say you've never won to enter the extra drawing. The contest is open to USA and Canadian addresses only (sorry, international readers) and you must be eighteen to enter. One entry per person please. Deadline for entries is midnight EST December 30.  

Newsletter and E-Book Sale Prices

I sent out a newsletter today and so I'm already getting entries. I can't wait to start reading all your stories. I'll be sharing a few of them, with permission, here in the next few weeks. By the way if you'd like to get my newsletter and be one of the first to hear about giveaways or discount prices on e-books, just let me know you want to be on my e-mail list. Today I shared the news that the e-book of The Believer was at a reduced price of $2.99 or even lower at Christianbook.com. That may have been only for Sunday. Angels at the Crossroads, the only non-fiction book I've written, is also at a reduced price for the e-book on Amazon. You can read more about both stories on my website.

The Best Gifts

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

Hope you have a wonderful first week of December. And I know the kids don't want this to happen, but I need to slow December down a little to get some of those presents wrapped. :)


42 comments:

  1. I would love to win one of your books.

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    1. Anonymous, to enter you in the drawing I need an e-mail address or a Facebook name, some way to contact you. You can write your e-mail address out like this name(at)emailprovider(dot)com if you want to disguise it. I do appreciate you reading my blog and wanting to take part in my Christmas fun.

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  2. I wondered if you would have a contest! Yay! I would love to have your books on my bookshelf (and in my hands of course). I so look forward to your posts on Facebook everyday and love reading your blog. Thanks for having this fun contest Ann! Have a wonderful day!

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    1. I forgot to give you my email shirley 'dot' d 'at' outlook 'dot' com. Thanks Ann!

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    2. Christmas means giving, so I had to have a contest now. I like giving away books and hearing from all of my reading friends. It's so nice of you to keep reading my posts here and on Facebook. I always enjoy seeing your comments, Shirley.

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  3. I would love to win one of your giveaways i rarely ever win :( anything like this.
    the worst gift i ever give was a shirt to my dad, one day he had it on and i looked and said dad why are yo u wareing a shirt with the play boy bunny on it and i mean all over thye shirt, he said well you gave it too me, i did not see them when i bought the shirt, knew i needed glasses then lol. Shirley B jcisforme@aol.com

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    1. This is so funny, Shirley. Loved your story. Sometimes it pays to unfold that shirt and look at it before you buy it for a gift. LOL. Hope you got those glasses!

      Merry Christmas. I've got you entered in the drawings.

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  4. Love to win as I love to read. Thanks.

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    1. Anonymous, I so appreciate you reading my post and books too, but in order to be in the drawing, I'll need a way to contact you. If you don't want to put your e-mail here, you can e-mail me at annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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  5. I think the best gift I have ever given was when my husband and I surprised my Dad for his birthday, a few days before Christmas. We were attending school several hours away and planned to get into town a day earlier than we were expected. We first went to my grandparents' house and visited with them until they went down to my parents' house. We followed a few minutes later, snuck up to the front door, rang the doorbell and yelled, "SURPRISE!!" when Dad opened the door.
    I'll have to check back and see what other fun stories have been posted. :)

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    1. What a fun Christmas surprise. I'm sure that was the best present your Dad could have gotten. And do check back in the next few weeks. I'm getting such a lot of messages about great gifts and some not so great ones too. For a funny, not so great one, you can read Shirley's comment above.

      Thanks, Amy, for taking part in my Christmas giveaway fun.

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  6. the best gift i gave was something for my moms house collection.i took a pic of her opening it and she told me she was going to kill me.that following february she went to be with the Lord,that is why it was my best christmas ever.i would love to win one of your books.thanks and God bless you . houswife@gmail.com

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    1. Oh, Ida, sometimes joy mixes with sadness. So glad you have the good memory of your Mom and her present and the picture to keep her smile fresh forever. I've got you entered in my drawing.

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  7. I had the pleasure of meeting you this summer in St. Louis, and I have enjoyed reading your books. My story includes this epiphany: The more people I meet in life, the more I realize that I have had a charmed life by comparison. No, not without some loss and sorrow, but in total very blessed. If I were to win one of these copies, I would deliver it to our local women's shelter/safe house. These women and their children have challenges I can hardly comprehend. A pretty book with a hopeful message could make their season bright.
    Nancylohr@charter.net.

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    1. Hi, Nancy. I met so many nice people at St. Louis. That trip was one of the highlights of my year. It's fun to just be able to give away book after book the way authors do at that show. Thank you for thinking of others. I know I have many blessings to count.

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  8. I don't remember a lot about gifts. I remember one year my step mom's mom invited me to go to town with her. Just her and I. No other kids. I was so happy to be singled out for something good. It was the first time I ever heard Silver Bells on the radio. fishingjan[at]aol[dot]com

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    1. I'm guessing that every time you hear Silver Bells now you smile, Jan. What a sweet memory. Sometimes the simplest things can make the best memories and as adults, we don't always know what will touch a child and make him or her feel loved.

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  9. So nice of you to offer the giveaway. The best gifts I have received were from my children and grandchildren that they made in school over the years.
    Thank you .
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail.com

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    1. Handmade kids' gifts are the best, Jackie. I have a little gold glittering box that my grandson made and gave me a few years ago. It was the best gift I got that year and I still treasure it.

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  10. I know you wanted to know one gift that I gave, but I just have to share the gift I was given about 3 years ago. My daughter was pregnant with our FIRST grandchild and she wood burned a Celtic Cross on the outside (I'm Irish) and on the inside she woodburned a baby in the womb and wrote to Nana. (that's what I chose to be called) It is very precious to me and I love it. We now have 5 beautiful grandbabies, our first grandson just born in October. Blessings abound!!!! ~tinaturpin@hotmail.com Thanks, Beverly.

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    2. That is a wonderful story, Tina. And I'm not picky about what kind of story people share with me. I love reading them all. Thank you for sharing your very special gift. Blessings to abound. Enjoy those little one this Christmas.

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  11. Oops! I apologize for calling you Beverly! Thank you Ann. (tinaturpin@hotmail.com)

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    1. That's funny, Tina. Especially so since I had to delete my answer to your comment and do it over because I called you Beverly. LOL

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  12. Best gift I gave my husband was a very good pair of binoculars. We were living in AZ at the time and lots of sky viewing opportunities abounded to see planets, etc.
    He also likes the leather jacket I got him when we lived in NY.
    Love to win your books and pillow. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Sounds like you know things your husband will enjoy, Sharon. I got my husband one of those motion cameras you put out on a tree to catch pictures of wildlife last Christmas and it's still in the box. I think I'll wrap it up again this year. :) Thanks for taking part in my Christmas giveaway fun.

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  13. I have been seeing Facebook announcements about your books and they sound so interesting. Would love to win and read your works. Sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Wishing you luck in the drawing, Sonja. I'd love for you to give one of my books a try too. :)

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  14. I would love to win one of your books. My email is saritawhite@gmail.com

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  15. Merry Christmas Ann, yes they do come around much too quick as we get older and I miss the times of my childhood when it was so much more magical.
    In Ga we seldom have snow and miss that too. we try to get gifts for the small children in the family and cards for the older ones.
    Have you ever rode on a sleigh through the snow pulled by a team of horses? this is one of my dreams to fulfill, hopefully back home in Ky with family around to share it.

    thanks for the giveaway at Christmastime, I would like to be in the drawing.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. No, Paula, I've never ridden on a sleigh in the snow, but I'm hearing jingle bells when you mention it. Maybe I can write a Christmas story about a woman who does just that. I hope you get to experience it for real and that the snow is extra white and the sky extra blue and the horses extra handsome and the furry robe over your knees extra warm. Always enjoy your comments.

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  16. A cheerful, giving heart is a wonderful thing. Thank you for this great giveaway.
    May you and your family be richly blessed.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. A cheerful, giving heart is a great thing to desire at this time of the year and any time of the year, Melanie. Got you entered in the drawing. I'll get Jan's books in the mail to you Thursday.

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  17. The best gift I gave was anonymous money for a single parent to buy something special for herself ~ side-by-side in our cars leaving church after Christmas, I said, "And how was your Christmas?" Her little girl bounced on the seat and said, "Wonderful." I am certain the Mom did buy herself something special because the Lord reminded me I hadn't given her the money yet! I really like that dogwood pillow! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. What a wonderful story, Kathleen, and one that shows you have that giving heart Melanie mentioned in her comment. It's a great time of the year to look around and see how we can help others.

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  18. What a wonderful giveaway! I haven't won one yet, so I guess I qualify. The one gift that sticks out in my mind as being the worst, was when I was in 2nd grade and everyone brought in a gift and we each got one (I don't remember if we drew numbers or names or what) but I remember I got a box of chocolate covered cherries! Now, who gives a gift like that to a 2nd grader at school? Everyone else got a toy, book, games…but me…a box of chocolate covered cherries!! And I don't even like them! That really started my dislike of those type of presents. I honestly can't remember one time I got a good one. Even now as an adult, I always draw the weird present or the can of nuts or box of candy and everyone else gets something nice. I am already dreading our Sunday School Christmas party…I know I'll get a dud again! But, it's the thought that counts, right? Right???? Ha! My kids have inherited my "bad luck" too.
    Thanks for the chance to win such a great giveaway.
    wfbcmediacenter(at)gmail(dot)com
    Debbie

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    1. Your story makes me smile and realize how different we all are. My sister used to get boxes of those chocolate covered cherries for Christmas and I was always envious of them. One of the gifts I likes most as a school girl was those boxes of lifesavers that looked like a book. Can you guess who had a terrible sweet tooth? I think everybody in your Sunday school class should get you something silly so you can keep your streak going. LOL. I'm going to have to share your story on down the road. Love it. Thanks for sharing and taking part in my giveaway fun here.

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  19. Merry Christmas Ann!!
    RW620 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Merry Christmas back at you, RW1010. Got you entered in the giveaway. Thanks.

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  20. Hi, Ann!

    When I entered my first post - I mentioned how hard it was to find gifts for my mother & father, after thinking on it for a few days, I DO remember 2 years that I found gifts that pleased them, & WERE used. One of the years - I had a picture of my father's parents (they were both already deceased, then) professionally restored, & framed. He loves to sit, & look at the picture, & for a long time after I gave it to him - he would show it to everyone that came to visit him.

    Another year - I made shadowboxes for my mother, & her sister. I displayed small items belonging to their parents (both already deceased then, also) in the boxes: glasses, a pipe, a pocketwatch, nylon gloves, wallet, draft card, etc., etc.. I bought a shadowbox to fill with items for myself, but got busy, & never took the time to complete mine.

    I have also wanted, for several years now, to fill frames with coat of arms/history, etc. of all 4 of my grandparents, & give to my parents & my mother's sister (my father's siblings are all deceased). I seem to forget, each year, about doing it - before it becomes too late to order the coat of arms, etc., & receive it in time for Christmas.

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  21. Hi Ann!!

    Wonderful giveaway the pillow is gorgeous!

    Two different gifts stand out in my mind one was given to me and another I gave.

    A few years ago I gave my Aunt a framed picture of her horse with my daughter. My daughter (two at the time) was reaching out to the horse and he was stretching his neck over the fence to her. I didn't realize her horse had been sick and she wasn't sure if he would make it. She loved it and the horse is still alive and well today!

    Last year I got the best gift I have ever received. Growing up we didn't have a lot of money. My Mom got me a copy of Shel Silverstein's Where the sidewalk ends. Inside she had written " sorry it took me so long to get this to you". I had always wanted it, but never mentioned it because it was pricey. I love it and will hand it down to my daughter one day.

    brandyanne_2005 at yahoo dot com

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Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.