2018 Holiday Blog Tour Stop #14

Welcome to Mountain Brook Ink’s 2018 Holiday Blog Tour! We’re so excited you’ve decided to join us on this journey of family, friends, traditions, and memories over the next month. You as our reader have done so much to pour into our lives, and this season we want to give back to you with insights into our lives AND some giveaways. The more days you follow, share, comment, and engage with us, the more entries you’ll have toward a Kindle Fire Grand Prize or one of three Amazon Gift Cards!

Anna Zogg’s Unexpected Christmas Harvest

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Early fall snow in Utah where our kids grew up

During my early-married years when we had three young children and not a lot of money, Christmas became an adventure. Because my husband and I owned little more than a tree and a few ornaments, we had to get creative. Determined to make the holiday special, I came up with two ideas that I hoped would help us focus more on the joy of what we had rather than on what we lacked. Over time, these plans transformed into traditions that we continued long after the kids grew up and moved away.


Our three grown children: Morgan, Leo, Geneva

The first idea involved our very limited decorations. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we put up only the tree. Since it was an evergreen (and fake!), I used it to teach our children about God’s eternal existence and how nothing could separate us from His constant love (see Romans 8:38-39). We added no other ornaments, content to merely bask in the glorious truths about God, portrayed by that tree. The next night, we added some shiny, plastic red apples that we had acquired at a post-Christmas clearance sale. They became a reminder of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden—how sin entered the perfect world God had created. That led to the next decoration—lights—and the need for God’s redemptive plan. The lights symbolized Jesus who is the “light of the world” as He tells us in John 8:12. The star on the tree’s top represented the sign God used to guide the wise men to the Savior (Matthew 2:1-2). Sometime later we acquired an angel tree topper. We used that to discuss the numerous angelic appearances in the Bible, particularly the appearances to Mary, Joseph and Zachariah. Every night from that first weekend until Christmas day, we would add another decoration, homemade or store bought. Each one became an opportunity to speak of God and His Word. Sometimes we had to really use our imagination to tie the ornament to some biblical truth!


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Our Christmas trees grew…and later shrank as we downsized!

The other custom we began involved the gifts we both purchased and received. Instead of putting a name on the wrapping, I wrote a number. On an index card, I kept track of the names and the corresponding numbers. On Christmas morning our three children would take turns selecting one present from under the tree. They would not know whose it was until I checked the “key.” If the package was not for the one who had retrieved it, that child would hand the present to their sibling (or parent). We would all watch as the recipient opened it.

At first, lack of money limited the number of gifts. However, we discovered that our kids preferred not to be overwhelmed with a mountain of presents. Our motto became, “Since the wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh, then we will be content with three gifts as well.” Of course, items intended for the whole family (such as DVD’s and games) as well as packages from our extended family or friends were not included in this rule.

Anna and John

After we instituted these two traditions, we experienced some unexpected outcomes. Christmas morning became an opportunity for the kids to really learn about the joy of giving. They were as excited as their siblings to discover what was in those mystery boxes under the tree. We also reaped some unintended results from our new way of decorating. Instead of enjoying only December 25, we got to celebrate for an entire month. Our family remained focused on the reason for Christmas—Jesus coming into the world to reconcile man to God. Best of all, everyone had fun!

Full Blog Stop Tour List

<p style=”text-align: justify;”>Stop #1: October 28 – <a href=”https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/2018/10/the-holiday-life-of-writer-kimberly-rose-johnson-and-a-giveaway/“>Kimberly Rose Johnson</a>
Stop #2: October 29 – <a href=”http://mountainbrookink.com/2018/10/09/blog-tour-coryell/“>Christina Coryell </a>
Stop #3: October 30 – <a href=”https://marydavis1.blogspot.com/“>Mary Davis</a>
Stop #4: October 31 – <a href=”https://www.angelaruthstrong.com/blog/“>Angela Ruth Strong</a>
Stop #5: November 1 – <a href=”http://mountainbrookink.com/2018/10/09/blog-tour-davis/“>Susan Page Davis</a>
Stop #6: November 2 – <a href=”http://www.amyrognlie.com“>Amy K. Rognlie</a>
Stop #7: November 3 – <a href=”https://www.gaylakhiss.com/blog/“>Gayla K. Hiss</a>
Stop #8: November 4 – <a href=”https://christamacdonald.com/blog/“>Christa MacDonald</a>
Stop #9: November 5 – <a href=”http://dulworthandhanna.wordpress.com/“> Linda Hanna &amp; Deborah Dulworth</a>
Stop #10: November 6 – <a href=”https://www.spillmanrichard.com/blog“>Richard Spillman</a>
Stop #11: November 7 – <a href=”https://annetteirbyreviews.blogspot.com/2018/11/mbi-blog-tour-feeding-our-creative-side.html“>Annette M. Irby</a>
Stop #12: November 8 – <a href=”https://miraleeferrell.com/blog/“>Miralee Ferrell</a>
Stop #13: November 9 – <a href=”https://jeanette-mariemirich.com/“>Jeanette-Marie Mirich</a>
Stop #14: November 10 – <a href=”https://annazogg.wordpress.com/blog/“>Anna Zogg</a>
Stop #15: November 11 – <a href=”http://teresamorgan.com/“>Teresa H. Morgan</a>
Stop #16: November 12 – <a href=”https://www.kelseynorman.com/blog“>Kelsey Norman</a>
Stop #17: November 13 – <a href=”http://mountainbrookink.com/2018/10/09/blog-tour-scott/“>Barbara J. Scott</a>
Stop #18: November 14 – <a href=”http://authorpatricialee.net/a-holiday-welcome/

“>Patricia Lee</a>
Stop #19: November 15 – <a href=”Http://www.lthompsonbooks.com/blog/“>Linda Thompson</a>
Stop #20: November 16 – <a href=”http://janalynvoigt.com/blog“>Janalyn Voigt</a>
Stop #21: November 17 – <a href=”http://authorcynthiaherron.com/blog“>Cynthia Herron </a>
Stop #22: November 18 – <a href=”https://www.trishperry.com“>Trish Perry </a>
Stop #23: November 19 – <a href=”http://www.heatherllfitzgerald.com/“>Heather L.L. Fitzgerald</a>
Stop #24: November 20 – <a href=”http://saradavison.org/“>Sara Davison </a>
Stop #25: November 21 – <a href=”http://taylor–bennett.com/blog“>Taylor Bennett</a></p>

Anna Zogg’s Intergalaxia Series


The Paradise Protocol, The Xerxes Factor, The Terran Summit*

(*Finalist in Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Contest in the Spec Fiction category)


ANNA ZOGG is an award-winning author of six fiction titles and a biographical novel as well as numerous non-fiction articles, devotionals and poetry. The third book in her Intergalaxia series, The Terran Summit, finaled in the Speculative Fiction category in 2018 at OCW. Her historical romance, The Marshal’s Mission (Love Inspired Historical) placed first in its category in 2018.

After traveling the globe, Anna and husband John settled on the Oregon coast to be closer to their kids and grandchildren where she continues to write and take lots of photographs.

Visit Anna at annazogg.com and her blog is at annazogg.wordpress.com


Anna and John’s grandkids, including their special-needs granddaughter (pictured far left)


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6 thoughts on “2018 Holiday Blog Tour Stop #14

  1. I love your Christmas traditions that were intentional about pointing to the real reason of the season! Our family also likes to celebrate for the entire season. We’ve started putting up the tree on Election Day, then we start listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies, then at Thanksgiving, it’s a big tradition to help Nana & Grandpa put up their big tree. Closer to Christmas, we take an evening and ride around looking at Christmas lights, always stopping for hot cocoa. Then on Christmas Eve, we all get to open a small gift and play/use whatever it was, so we make sure our kids get some kind of game or a movie that we all can play or watch for family time. Christmas Day is just the culmination of almost two months worth of celebrating. I would like to incorporate a little more of the gospel, though. I love your idea of the apples on the tree representing the fall, and the lights representing Jesus as the “Light of the World!”


  2. Great traditions. My wife used to use a numbering system. I end up doing most of the wrapping and I started putting names on the wrapped packages.


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