Please welcome Trish Perry and
1. What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?
Trish: My family members are always so busy all year and simply don’t get enough time together. But at Christmas we drop everything to be together. Those who need to fly home, do. Even at my age, I’ve only experienced one Christmas when a sibling couldn’t join us. So I associate Christmas with family time—and never enough of it!
Debby: Like Trish, I associate Christmas with family, no matter where I live. We've had some additions to the family over the past few years with my daughters getting married and grandchildren coming on to the scene, so the joy is compounded.
2. Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?
Trish: My immediate family always tries to attend the evening Christmas Eve worship service at church, after which we go out for dinner at a lovely restaurant. And on Christmas morning, up until recently my father has always played “Santa,” in that he handed out each present under the tree, one at a time, with great fanfare about who was giving the gift to whom. A few years ago, my son took up that mantle, which I assume he’ll wear for years to come. And not a single gift is given without the receiver getting up and giving a hug and a thank you to the giver. (We really know how to spread out the event.)
(Jenny here My dad use to give out the gifts under the tree also and when he died my brother took over)
Debby: My family attends Christmas Eve services, and then we go home and have pizza. Most of the time we open at least one gift before bedtime. It's getting increasingly difficult to maintain traditions with one of my daughters living so far away and the other likely to move soon.
3. Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?
Trish: “O Holy Night” makes me want to cry every time I hear it or sing it. The emotion and drama at that first chorus—“Fall on your knees”—just blows me away. Such a perfect image of how best to react to the birth of Christ.
(Jenny again this is one of my favourites also ever since I first heard it on Young and The Restless many years ago)
Debby: I love "Silent Night" because it's such a peaceful song.
(Jenny again I love this song also its special)
4. If you could spend Christmas anyway you could how would you celebrate?
Trish: On a selfish level, it might be fun to relax and be catered to by a full kitchen staff, freeing me and my siblings up from dashing about preparing food and trying to time everything well. On a more philanthropic level, I remember a few decades ago when I belonged to a young professionals civic group. We raised funds from local businesses to give toy-shopping certificates to kids whose fathers and/or mothers were in prison—they wouldn’t otherwise receive anything at all for Christmas. I’d love to do that again, to get a chance to watch their excitement on Christmas Day.
Debby: I would have all my family together in a secluded cabin or on a cruise, without the distractions of work or anything else that pulls people's attention from what's really important.
5. Do you have any special memories of Christmas?
Trish: I had a sister who passed away nearly 24 years ago. As a child she had a lot of physical health issues, and when she was nine (and I was six), she had a serious surgical operation shortly before Christmas. We thought she would spend Christmas in the hospital, but they let her come home just for the day. She was so frail, but she was so happy, as were we. When she passed away as a young adult, it was mere days before Christmas—she had even bought us gifts. Those two Christmases are my most memorable and poignant ones.
Debby: My favorite memories are those from when my children were small and with my granddaughter who was one and a half last year.
6. What is a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas day for you.
Trish: My parents still live in the house they bought when I was an adolescent. We all gather there, most of us bearings not only gifts but partially prepared contributions to the big meal, as well as fun hors d’oeuvres we’ve each experimented in making (or, for the cheaters, in buying). Both of my kids have other places they need to be after our celebration, so our tradition has become a late-morning celebration that stretches into the late afternoon, followed by a relaxed unwinding while people slowly depart for their other obligations. I’m always amazed at how quickly it’s over!
Debby: We attend church on Christmas Eve and eat without worrying about diets. The children play with their toys, and we watch Christmas specials on TV.
7. Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see
or read each year?
Trish: I’m still a sucker for It’s a Wonderful Life. Considering how lonely people can get on holidays, I think that movie’s message—about the importance of every individual in the lives of others—is very uplifting. And my church’s Christmas Eve service usually involves a reading of parts of Luke’s gospel to retell the story of Christ’s birth through scripture. That, of course, is my favorite Christmas “book.”
Debby: I'm with Trish on It's a Wonderful Life, which has always been a favorite in our household. I also like to pick up the latest Christmas books and novellas to relax before I go to bed.
(Jenny again Debby I love reading the Christmas novellas also.)
8. Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?
Trish: Answering your other questions has brought my mind in this direction: I pray that you all enjoy a blessed, beautiful Christmas, surrounded by loving family and friends. But I know all of us have times in our lives when holidays remind us of whom we miss; sometimes we can even feel alone. I pray that this Christmas you feel a strong, deep connection with our loving Savior who was born on this day. And I pray you know you are always loved, forever precious, and never alone.
Debby: I also pray for a blessed Christmas for all of you. Cherish your family and enjoy your children. Never take anything or anyone for granted, and stay focused on the Gospel as you enjoy this Christmas season.