** GIVEAWAY ** GRETCHEN ANTHONY celebrates the holidays with us **


Gretchen Anthony headshot, photo cred M. Brian Hartz (2)

Gretchen Anthony is a new author for us, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to Thoughts on This ‘n That. This month her debut novel, EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS (ParkRow) arrives just in time for the Holidays.


Dearest loved ones, far and near—Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners!

Violet has opened her annual Baumgartner holiday letter the same way for over three decades. And this year, she’s going to throw her husband Ed a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of 200 guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a secret.

Delightful, surprising, and full of heart, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners brings to life a sparkling cast of characters whose struggle to understand one another illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family, no matter how dysfunctional they can get.


Gretchen shared some Holiday cheer with us.

1. What is your favorite Holiday?

Every holiday is a chance to celebrate something, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Christmas is my favorite.
Christmas Stocking Fireplace Decoration Ideas 53 - Robinsuites.co with regard to Christmas Stockings Fireplace

2. What do you love about the Holidays?

I love the anticipation of Christmas. Watching my kids guess what’s under the tree. Turning the numbers on the Advent Calendar.
Listening to our boys laugh as they tear open their gifts. Even more, though, I love peaceful Christmas moments. The midnight candlelight service. Sitting with my husband on Christmas Eve after the kids have gone to sleep. At its heart, Christmas is light, a peaceful promise — and that’s what I try to carry with me throughout the year.

3. What is your fondest Holiday memory?

One year, my husband and I planned to surprise the kids on Christmas morning with a trip to Disneyworld.
This was something we’d always wanted to do and I was crazy excited. We had their bags all packed and our flight was booked for ten o’clock on Christmas morning. None of the kids suspected a thing. Then, at Christmas Eve dinner, I had to suddenly excuse myself and run for the bathroom — Oh, no! I knew I was in serious trouble and, sure enough, I spent the whole night throwing up. But even though I felt horrible, at least I felt some relief that my husband was fine. Then, at about three o’clock in the morning, he came down with the same bug and we were both in the bathroom together, miserable, and groaning, and panicked. Not only had we opted out of trip insurance, we didn’t even have any gifts for the kids to open the next morning. Our family trip was the gift. We were up a creek. And yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years as a mom, it’s that we parents can pull off incredible feats when given no other option. So, the next morning, my husband and I did just that. We picked ourselves up off the floor and powered through — all the way to Orlando where we could finally collapse again at the hotel. Amazingly, we were fine by the next day and were able to hit the parks as planned. It may not have been the smoothest family vacation ever, but it made for memories none of us will ever forget.

4. What are your wishes for 2019?

2018 was a wonderful year for our family, but a scary year for the world. My wish for 2019 is that we can find ways to unify — as families, as communities, and as a nation.

Gretchen Anthony is a Minnesota-based writer and humorist.

After a career in management consulting and corporate communications, she left the cubical world for the writing life. As a ghostwriter, she has been the voice for some of the best brands in the United States, from CEOs to doctors and start-up superstars to BBQ pros.

We’re lucky to have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us your fondest Holiday memory. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

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29 thoughts on “** GIVEAWAY ** GRETCHEN ANTHONY celebrates the holidays with us **

  1. So many memories! Midnight mass, decorating Christmas cookies with my grandkids, receiving a Barbie Christmas morning, buying a tree during the coldest day of the year, and my wedding day the week before Christmas!


  2. As kids Santa always came to our house on Christmas eve. In the evening we would always go to my grandmothers house for a visit with our mom and then dad would stay at home. When we got home Santa had been there and we were so surprised. Took us awhile to figure out why dad never went with us. He was busy putting out the santa stuff


  3. My fondest holiday memory is spending Christmas at my grandmother’s house. She made the best chicken and dumplings and homemade yeast rolls.


  4. When I was young we lite the menorah, sang songs, ate latkes and received little gifts. It was meaningful and was a very special time.


  5. My fondest Memories are of being at my Grandparents and all of us together at her table eating Christmas dinner.


  6. my favorite tradition is when my 21 year, dark haired son hangs his Baby’s First Christmas frame Ornament on the tree…the one which I never put his picture in, it still has the original picture that came with it.. He rolls his eyes and comments on “his” picture – a towhead blond toddler. Second child syndrome. Happy Holidays to everyone.


  7. A favorite holiday memory is from many years ago. One year when I was about 6 or 7 years old, my grandmother gave me this tacky litle plastic gumdrop tree loaded with edible gumdrops. I was so thrilled and could not wait till Christmas morning to start eating all of them. When we woke up Christmas morning, I was devastated to find that our dog had eaten all of my gumdrops. Tears came and went and I forgave the dog.


  8. Lots of great memories. One fun one (for my sister and me, anyway) is the year the kids were small and my husband dressed as Santa and went outside to rattle sleigh bells and ho ho ho. We got so enthralled with the kids’ reaction we forgot he was outside until we realized what that loud knocking on the sliding door was!


  9. My favorite holiday memory is when my family went on a road trip from Dallas to Las Vegas! It was fun and very dear =) Loved the interview!


  10. The year my husband and I decided to go on a Panama Canal cruise. It was so relaxing and the ship was decorated so beautifully. Thank you for the chance.


  11. All the Christmases my large extended family spent together. Mom, grandma & aunts in the kitchen. Cousins inside & out. Everyone sleeping everywhere.


  12. Way too many to choose from! My fave? The feeling in the room when my entire extended is all in my home, safe and content and happy. We sing too loud, eat too much, and cry when they all leave.


  13. Besides now as a Mom watching my children enjoy Christmas
    My favorite memory was the year that I got my strawberry shortcake trolley I loved it so much 💖
    Thanks for the chance 😍🍯🐝😍


  14. When I was growing up, my parents and I went across the road to my grandparents. Aunts and uncles came and we opened family gifts then ate breakfast. Back home and dressed. Back to grandparents where adults helped with Christmas dinner. I opened my Santa presents as soon as I got up. Other family members stopped by during afternoon just to visit.


  15. My fondest memory is the year my sibling and I receive bicycles/tricycles for Christmas. We were excited, even though there was too much snow to ride them!


  16. My fondest Christmas memory is Christmas 1985 when my first child was born. He wasn’t due until January 9th but decided he wanted to arrive a little early. Best Christmas ever!


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