Gingerbread

When it comes to baked goods, nothing quite says Christmas like gingerbread. There’s something old-fashioned and cozy about the fragrant treat. It makes a frequent appearance in my Christmastime series, especially whenever children are around.

Christmastime 1939 — at the very end of the prequel, Lillian Hapsey and her two boys, Tommy and Gabriel, attend a neighborhood Christmas party at the Rossi’s home. Lillian has baked a dessert to bring with them.

“She lifted the platter of gingerbread cake she had made the night before along with a container of caramel sauce and set them by the door.” (153)

Christmastime 1940 — the scent of baking gingerbread momentarily links Lillian and the reserved Mr. Drooms.

“That evening, Lillian began some of her holiday baking. The gingerbread loaf she had placed in the oven almost an hour ago now filled the small apartment with its spicy aroma….As Drooms passed Lillian, he caught a whiff of fresh-baked gingerbread pouring forth from her apartment. The old familiar scent flooded him with an unexpected sense of well-being, and made him feel that he could afford a little neighborliness.” (70-71)

Christmastime 1941 — The indomitable Mrs. Wilson organizes a Christmas Day spotter’s party on the roof and invites Lillian and her boys.

“I’ll be sure to bring some Christmas cookies and gingerbread,” said Lillian.

“Wonderful! And we’ll have the radio on – listening to Mr. Lionel Barrymore read ‘A Christmas Carol.’ It should be quite a day.” ( 226)

And at the end of the book, Lillian uses the excuse of gingerbread to make Tommy feel better.

“Tommy was so rarely downcast, that Lillian gave him a quick squeeze to cheer him up. “How about we have our gingerbread tonight? Wil you help me with the whipped cream?”

“Sure!” said Tommy, perking up. “That’ll make Gabriel happy.” (241)

Christmastime 1942 — After work, Mr. Mason enjoys the comforts of home.

“He popped his head in the kitchen and hugged his wife as she directed the children on decorating the gingerbread house, their hands and faces smudged with white icing. Everyone was in the holiday spirit.” (211)

Christmastime 1943 — Jessica and her best friend Shirley have spent hours baking items for the town’s annual Christmas dance.

“We’ll be selling raffle tickets and if you’re lucky, you just might win my date nut bread or Sue Ellen’s famous apple strudel.”

“Or my gingerbread house,” said Jessica, joining her friend.

“Just wait’ll you see it!” said Shirley. “A gingerbread house complete with snowdrifts, a snowman, and gum-drop trees.” (189)

Christmastime 1944 — At an impromptu tree trimming party, Kate offers some holiday treats.

“Kate came to life, providing hot cider and a plate of ginger bread.” (176)

Gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, gingerbread cookies or loafs — a nice touch to add to your holiday season!

(All images from my Pinterest boards.)

An Old-fashioned Christmas Table

In the Christmastime series, baking, preparing meals, setting the table, and having meals  together play a prominent role. Cookies and sweets are made days or weeks in advance, and embroidered table runners, bunches of holly, and candles decorate the table.

Below are images of beautiful and festive Christmas tables (all from Pinterest). Whether traditional, elaborate, or simple, a table set with love and a creative touch forms part of the heart of the holiday season.

Small details at each plate and splashes of red and green enliven the table and add interest.

Colorful fruits such as apples, pomegranates, and oranges add freshness and color.

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Along with fruit, a few sprigs of greenery and pine cones bring the outdoor world inside and connect the holiday to an older way of celebrating the season.

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And, always, candlelight adds a soft inviting glow and contrasts the cold snowy world outside to the warmth and comforts of home.

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Merry Christmas

and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

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The Christmastime Series

Stories of love and family set on the U.S. home front during the WWII years.      https://amzn.to/2PUzM1Y

Christmastime 1939: images

For all my books, I’ve created corresponding Pinterest boards to provide readers with a glimpse into the worlds I write about. The boards for the Christmastime series capture the charm of an old-fashioned Christmas, and a few black and white photographs help to provide a historical context.

Below are images for the introductory book in the series, Christmastime 1939: Prequel to the Christmastime Series. I hope you enjoy them!

1939 street scene

1939 subway map

In the prequel, we are introduced to the series’ main character, the young widow Lillian Hapsey, and her two sons, Tommy (8 years old) and Gabriel (5 years old). Many of the scenes involve Lillian’s determination to give them a happy Christmas.

The theme of transformation runs throughout this book, and I’ve woven in threads of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to emphasize this,

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as well as other Dickensian themes of struggle, home and family, and general Christmas merriment.

Other images evoke Lillian’s recent Thanksgiving visit with her sister, Annette, in upstate New York,

the cupcakes Tommy and Gabriel see in the window of the German bakery,

holiday toys and candies,

1939 train set

and the excitement of New York City at Christmas.

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Come! Step into the world of Christmastime!

The Christmastime series is available on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iTunes, and Google and in libraries by request, on Ingram and Overdrive

Amazon —  https://amzn.to/2xFgnt0

(Christmastime 1945: A Love Story, the final book in the series, will be available in October.)