Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Friends at Christmas - Amber Stokes

Hello everyone,
This is Wednesday, midweek, the hump you've got to get over, right? Well, I'm hoping that maybe this post will add a bright spot to that not so great day : )

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend."
- Albert Camus

I want to have an underlying theme of friendship today. I am feeling so, so grateful for everyone who participated in my blogfest and for everyone that followed, who commented. You made me laugh and be thoughtful during this month. So I thank you so much for that!

Now Amber...what is there to say about Amber? I am SO glad that I stumbled across her blog on that fateful Thursday in May : ) Glad is a terrible word to use, though, because it in no way expresses how happy I am that I've met Amber. Amber is a kind and gentle soul, always there to give advice, listen, laugh, and love. I'm proud to know this author in the making because I just know we'll be freinds for a long, long time (here's hoping!). So now before I gush too much, we'll get onto the interview ; )

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."
- Anonymous

Hannah: What is your favorite part(s) of the Christmas season?

Amber: Well, the best part of Christmas is that we’re celebrating Jesus’ birth and the amazing gift God gave us in His Son! Besides that, it’s really hard to choose a favorite part of the season, because I love it all! I love spending extra time with family and close friends, and now that I’m an out-of-state college student, going home for Christmas is even more special.

Hannah: I'm so glad you get to head home for the holidays, Amber! It just couldn't be the same otherwise and I'm sure you feel the same way. Are you a big celebrator of Christmas?

Amber: For sure! I LOVE Christmas!!! I love the decorations my mom and my grandma put up; I love the Christmas tree in our house full of gorgeous and fun Hallmark ornaments; I love listening to Christmas music; I love all the food, like the fudge my mom makes every year; and I could go on and on!

I think my friends at college have noticed how much I love all the different holidays. ;) My mom sends me packages with window clings and decorations (etc.) for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day…you get the idea! I love being festive!

Hannah: That sounds so fun! My roommate put some up in our window, but otherwise we don't usuallky get into the wall clings. They are fun though :) We've got other things though like our Santas and our nutcrackers. I'm trying to get my camera to work so I can show you some pictures! LOL! What are some of your traditions? (i.e. food, gift giving, family traditions, etc)?

Amber: One of our small traditions that I’m currently observing is getting and enjoying Advent calendars. My mom sent my roommate and me Advent calendars that have chocolate pieces you open and eat every day from December 1st through December 24th. Yum!
We also keep a German tradition involving pickle ornaments. My mom hides a couple of pickle ornaments in our Christmas tree for my sister and me to find, and when we find them we get an extra gift. And then my grandparents hide a couple of pickle ornaments in their tree… So we’re doubly spoiled! ;)
If anyone would like to learn a little more about this tradition, I share more in this post on my blog:
We also have other traditions, like opening gifts sent from out-of-town on Christmas Eve and then our gifts for each other on Christmas. Christmas is so special in our household, especially since my grandparents and one of my uncles live so close to us!

Hannah: I love this! How fun to have a tradition involving a pickle shaped ornament, rofl! Do you have a favorite Christmas themed book/recommendation? Movie?

Amber: I have several! For Christmas-themed Christian romance, I recommend Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy and A Currier & Ives Christmas by DiAnn Mills, Lynn A. Coleman, JoAnn A. Grote, and Deborah Raney. I have a hardcover version of the latter, and it is a really sweet collection! I don’t think it’s as easy to find anymore (my mom got it for me years ago), but if you ever do see it anywhere, it’s really good (from what I recall)!
As for movies, where do I begin?! I recently watched The Christmas Card, which was really cute. (You can find my review here: I absolutely LOVE The Polar Express, as well as Jingle All the Way, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2, and more!

Hannah: We STILL haven't seen this movie, Amber. I know you recommended it to me and we've seen it in the store, but we're still yet to actually watch it. have your Christmas traditions changed since you were a kid now that you are at college?

Amber: Good question! I think the biggest change is that I don’t get to be home until halfway through December, so I miss out on helping to decorate the Christmas tree, singing in (or even watching) the Messiah choir’s Christmas concert, etc. There’s so much that leads up to Christmas that I miss being a part of. I just found out that I’m going to miss my younger sister’s Christmas play at school by one day! Such a bummer. :(
But other than that, I still get to be a part of our family’s main Christmas traditions. I still get a stocking! And I’m so thankful that I still get to be with my family for about three weeks. I love them so!

Hannah: I can understand how that would be difficult. Alicia and I still do stockings also, so you're not along there. By this point I'm starting to get a little excited for Saturday, especially hearing you talk about all these traditions! If you had to pick one “symbol” of Christmas (i.e. ornaments, the tree, the lights, the nativity set, etc.), what would you pick as your favorite?

Amber: Hmmm…it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think I’m going to have to go with the Christmas tree. As I mentioned before, our Christmas tree is covered with ornaments, particularly Hallmark ornaments. I love seeing the memories decorating our Christmas tree, and I love looking at the beautiful Disney ornaments. And some of the ornaments make noises when the lights are turned on, so it’s always funny to hear them go off all at once! The Wizard of Oz ornament lasts the longest, and the last line it says (after the cacophony of other noises has ended) is, “The Great Oz has spoken.” ;)

Hannah: I LOVE that Wizard of Oz ornament!! It sounds phenomenal ; ) What did you ask Santa for this year? *wink*

Amber: There are three specific things I asked for this year:
1. The first season of the new PBS Masterpiece version of Sherlock on DVD
2. How to Train Your Dragon on DVD
3. Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

Hannah: Well those seem pretty doable! I hope you get them : ) What was one gift that you always wanted, but never got?

Amber: I’m having a hard time coming up with anything… I am so spoiled! My parents and grandparents have been so sweet and given me so much! Ummm…I really want a trip to Prince Edward Island in Canada, and I haven’t got that yet. Of course, I’m saving that for my honeymoon if I ever get married, so I don’t think that counts. ;)

Hannah: Oh Amber, I don't think that does count, lol!! But how cool to want something like that! Ambitious :P

These are some bests. Just fill them in with your favorite/the best.

Christmas present as a child?
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but for a long time I loved Disney princesses (guess I still do!) and one year Santa brought me a “magic carpet” (a lovely rectangular, patterned rug with tassels sewn on each end) and a Jasmine doll. So special!

Favorite Christmas? Oh, dear! I have to pick a favorite? I don’t know if I can!

Christmas song? Another hard question! I love so many different Christmas songs. One really fun one is “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” (as sung by Perry Como). ;)

Character in the Christmas Story (maybe you played them in a church pageant one year? Lol!)? If we’re talking about the Christmas story from the Bible, I’d have to say Jesus. ;) But as far as a character I’ve been, I just loved taking turns being the manger angel standing on stacked hay bales above a live nativity scene at our old church!

Place to spend Christmas day? My house! You should see the way my mom decorates! As for Christmas Eve, that would be my grandparents’ house. :)

Christmas food? Fudge!

Amber, I can't thank you enough for finding the time somewhere to do this for me : ) You are a very, very special person and I'm lucky to have found you! Lol...I look forward to the years to come, being included on the big events in your life. Thank you so much for being such an amazing friend.

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you."
- Winnie the Pooh

Today Amber is kind enough to offer up one $10 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner! Please make sure to leave an email to be entered and let us know what you might use it for!
Extra +1 Entries:
- Follower of my blog
- Follower of Amber's blog

"Friends are the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life."
- Anonymous

This would be Amber and I if we had known each other as kids! LOL! That's her on the right and me being dumb on the left :P

Okay, we've got two songs today. They're both not sad, but have a saddish vibe to them lol...Here's the FIRST. Think Glee Christmas...singing around the Christmas trees ; ) And the SECOND. Think The Polar Express!

Thank you to everyone for making this December so fun! No, we're not quite done, but almost. And a very special thank you to Amber too *hugs* Have a great Wednesday, everyone,


  1. I'm with you there Hannah, Amber is a great friend and one I have loved getting to know over the internet. A sweet personality, humble heart for Christ and a true spirit of friendship. I feel honored to know her. :)

    I am a follower of her blog. And hmmm, what I would get with the gift card IF I won...I have a huge wishlist on the site, so probably the book by Cara Putman and Erica Vetsch I have set aside. :)

    Thanks ladies!

    Email in profile.

  2. Hannah,

    Oh, I am so honored by your kind words! :D Thank you so much for your friendship--YOU are the one who has been such a great friend to me! I've been blessed to know you, and I can't wait to continue our friendship into 2011 and beyond. ;)

    I love all those pictures and quotes you picked! I especially love the Winnie the Pooh quote, and of course the bacon one! ;) And that picture that could have been us as cute!

    Also, great song choices and sound effects! What a fun day!!!


  3. Casey,

    You are so sweet!!! Thank you so much for your kind words--I feel honored to know you! :D I have certainly been inspired by your encouraging heart and blessed by your friendship.

    Thank you for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing! And I think a book is a great choice... ;)


  4. The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas movie and that's my favorite song from it!!!

    I love Amber, and I'm so fortunate to know her in person as well as through her blog :) She's such a sweetheart!

  5. Ariel,

    I love the Polar Express!!! My family and I are saving it to watch tomorrow night, closer to Christmas. :)

    Thank you so much for your sweet words! I'm so glad I get to know you in person, as well! You've been so kind to me, and I appreciate all of your support and your friendship. :)


  6. I love that song from the Polar Express, Hannah! I might have to play it again when I'm done with this comment . . .

    Great interview with Amber! I love following both your blogs and reading about your family traditions and favorite things. And Amber, here's a great BBC series to check out: Larkrise to Candleford. Renee Steeler Girl likes it, also!

    If I won the Amazon gift card, I'd have to use it for . . . well, I have a huge wish list of books and movies both for myself and for my family. But it sure would be fun picking something off the list and getting it . . .

    Thanks, Hannah and Amber! Blessings!

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  7. I was just going through the blogosphere of Christian authors and somehow came here. I have never heard of the pickle ornament but I think that is very creative and fun! If I won the giftcard I would probably get Julie Klassen's newest book. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

  8. Ooooo fudge!!!! LOL I love that too for Christmas Amber!

    If I won the gift card I would use it for a movie! YES I know booklover Renee just said she'd use it for a movie! Considering it isn't even Christmas yet and I just got 6 books from my friends I need to add to my bluray/dvd collection....maybe something featuring Richard Armitage? *wink*

    I hope Santa brings you Head in the CLouds Amber because you will LOVE it!

    Thank you Amber and Hannah for being such great friends!

    Extra entry:
    I follow both your blog and Amber's blog!

    Merry Christmas to all!
    Renee C.

  9. Yes Renee Steeler Girl recommends Larkrise to Candleford ;-)


    XOXO~ Renee

  10. I would get a couponing book for a friend from HS!

  11. Follow Amber's blog via gfc!

  12. Follow Hannah's blog via gfc!

  13. Renee Ann,

    It's a great song, isn't it? So sweet! :)

    I'm so glad you liked the interview, and thank you for the kind words about our blogs. :) And thank you for the movie suggestion! I am definitely loving the BBC movies, so I'll have to keep this series in mind! (If both of the Renees love it, it must be good!) ;)

    Thank you for stopping by, and merry Christmas!


  14. Adge,

    So glad you found this blog! Hannah is so great, and I hope you come back often to visit her! :D

    I love the pickle ornament tradition. Apparently it's a German tradition, and for some reason we started it in our household and have really enjoyed it. :) It's fun!

    Good luck in the drawing! I don't think I've read any books by Julie Klassen yet, but hopefully I'll fix that sometime! ;)


  15. Renee,

    Oh, I just LOVE fudge!!! We've been eating so much of it lately that my mom had to make another batch for us today... ;)

    A movie sounds like a good choice, especially one with Richard Armitage! ;) I'm hoping to show my parents North & South while I'm home, if we have time!

    And I know! I hope I get a chance to read Head in the Clouds, as well, because I LOVED A Tailor-Made Bride. :)

    Thank YOU for being such a great friend, Renee, and merry Christmas!!!


  16. Tracie,

    Oh, that's sweet! :) Thank you for stopping by, and have a merry Christmas!


  17. Hannah,

    I thought of something else I have asked for Christmas...another Murder Mystery Party kit!!! ;) It's becoming a winter-time tradition, and I hoping I can throw this kind of party before I head back to school. Love it! ;)

    Anyway, thank you again for hosting me today, and have a very merry Christmas!


    P.S. I looked up the first day we "met" on my brought back such sweet memories! Can you believe it's been almost 8 months since you first left that comment?! I'm looking forward to the next 8 months of our friendship! (And the 8 months after that, and the 8 months after that, etc...) ;)