I was looking for ways to remake Christmas memories from the past. I found inspiration in Tammy Maltby’s The Christmas Kitchen to create new Christmas moments with love that last.
When I peer into my bag of childhood Christmas past, it is filled with wonderful holiday flashbacks in school and church settings. The season was colorfully punctuated with singing in Christmas cantatas, playing slightly out-of-tune school orchestral concerts, and participating in a marathon of church programs.
Back home, though, my Chinese Ah-Ma never really “did” Christmas. I don’t remember having a Christmas tree until later years, when a family friend gave us one as a gift. I was blessed with true Christmas in my spirit, but experienced it in the body through dreamy movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and post-Christmas reports from friends returning from winter break.
Even though I was born and raised in the good ol’ US of A, I finally tasted my first slice of Christmas ham, alongside Grandpa Gray — sitting across the table from my future in-laws.
Remaking Christmas Memories
Since then, I’ve developed my own take on Christmas, happily, steadily collecting boxes worth of this-and-that to make the season bright, come December.
So, imagine how crazed I was with excitement to get my hands on Christian author and speaker, Tammy Maltby‘s newest heart child — The Christmas Kitchen: The Gathering Place for Making Memories!
My path crossed with Tammy’s when I read her earlier written book Lifegiving: Discovering the Secrets to a Beautiful Life. It was a life-defining experience, that freed me to embrace a new journey to live a beautiful life for Christ.
Little did she know, remaking my Christmas memories was one of those deep seated childhood dreams I longed to come true as an adult. I want to create a gathering place in my home, where the true Christmas inside me is expressed as love and appreciation to my family and friends.
The heart of this desire to love through one’s home is the goal of Tammy’s book, The Christmas Kitchen.
“I encourage you to embrace the principle of true hospitality — not performing for others or impressing them or ‘entertaining’ them, but using your life and your home to communicate to people how much you value them.” – Tammy Maltby
Practical Yet Inspiring
Now, you might think my home is swimming in winter wonderland bliss with such high hopes, huh? Far from it. I haven’t a clue on how to get from cloud 9 dreaming to reality. Hello! … You’re talkin’ to a mom of two boys, both under five years of age (there’s a reason why they don’t allow kids to start kindergarten until then!).
Tammy does the incredible job of painting countless visions of Christmas to inspire — for a wide range of “personal taste, heritage, pocketbook, where you live and your stage in life.”
I especially like the book’s practical approach to keepin’ it real, you know? I laughed and appreciated her tip to use a hot glue gun to pre-make the gingerbread house, so that everyone can actually have fun decorating the thing, rather than trying to keep it together!
Some of my faves in the book include:
– The Delicious Decor chapter, that got my creative juices flowing with ideas to personalize the home to create an atmosphere of care, comfort and warmth (I just used an idea tonight to put together my first make-shift Advent centerpiece).
– Christmas Central: The skinny on making holiday dreams come true stress-free (I zoned right into that chapter fast!).
– Ways to give the Gift of Yourself (I’m actually going to attempt one of the ideas for my girlfriends).
– Tons of easy recipes to host a gathering that look gorgeous, already tested on Tammy’s family and friends (I love cooking and baking during the holidays!).
Christmas represents the most joyful and intimate place inside me that God has made alive, despite the struggles of an imperfect childhood. Reading through this book inspired me to keep expressing that joy and passing on my heart.
So, if you’re looking for an inspiring and practical Christmas book to have or to gift, I am happy to recommend The Christmas Kitchen: The Gathering Place For Making Memories. It’s brought me cheer, helping make some dreams a bit more real.
How does home and Christmas play a part of your dreams?
By the way: You can get in on Tammy's recipes and tips on hospitality, by joining her Facebook Group at Loving with Your Life, as well as shoot the breeze with Tammy on Facebook. Feel free to drop your comments below. I love connecting with you through them and post my reply at the end of the day or thereafter. SUBSCRIBE NOW to get updates from FaithBarista hot and fresh directly in your mailbox via email (click here) or RSS (click here) news reader.
so much fun!!! I have such fond, wonderful memories of Christmas growing up too 🙂
My favorite part of Christmas is the memories and traditions. Last Christmas was our first Christmas for the newly wedded couple of me and my wife. The hardest, yet most fun thing about last year, was making our own traditions for the first time. We got some new ones and mixed in some from our family as well, but my point to all of this is that I’m loving the Christmas memories from just last year as well as from my childhood. 🙂
Growing up, Christmas always meant just my family at home together.
When I got married, I wanted to create similar traditions and memories for my children.
My wife, however, is one of seven siblings and so it is very rare that we have a Christmas morning with out a dozen or so others in the house.
I’m sure my kids are going to have wonderful Christmas memories later in life but they won’t be what I want them to be… and it’s all about ME, right?
i like that warm cozy at home stuff. we pretty much relax and hangout, maybe visit neighbors, read books, cook, etc.
i am following you on twitter.
i had a good time at the tweet speak poetry party last night.
Later in life it is so nice to be back with family and to unplug from everything for a few days to focus on the real excitement of Christmas, Jesus.
Bonnie, I love the kitchen as a gathering place, and I don’t mind cleaning it. But I seem to use up all my creativity with writing. I’m not much for cooking and decorating. I leave that to the daughter who loves baking and decorating, who put up our tree, who is at this moment playing her violin.
That’s what Christmas is for me. Music, music, everywhere, in any expression, praising God for Jesus. This year, it includes dance for me. And somewhere, I’ll find an excuse for carolling.
Since I can listen to the music year round, Christmas never really leaves my heart or home.
Sigh. I need to get my kitchen into the Christmas spirit! I think it’s still stuck on Thanksgiving pie.
Thanks for sharing your Christmas memories with me. You can bet I’ll be thinking of you, as I create some with my family. Aaahh.. I feel warm and cozy already.
@Maureen: I hope they’ll continue to bring you joy in remembrance.
@Brett: You are so blessed to have both memories and traditions. And so sweet a time you have now with your new bride. May this Christmas bring more blending – as you reap in the childhood and the newlywed cheer.
@Peter: It sounds so festive and cheerful with so much family to share. And such blessed kids you have. They’ll carry it into the next generation.
@nAncy: Hi nAncY! I had a lot of fun being “abducted” yesterday to tweet speak poetry party. Warm and cozy home stuff — sounds simply delectable! You guys are easy going and laid back. That’s a blessing!
@Bonnie, I think you just wrote our Christmas cards in your reply. Thanks! 😉