We never had a live Christmas tree when I was growing up. Some might pity me yet I have such fond memories of the tree we had and the family time we had putting it together.
The tree had various sizes of branches, labeled from A to F. Or, maybe G. The trunk was put together in pieces and then the branches were inserted starting with the As on top, going down alphabetically. It was a family event each year as we sorted the branches by size and then stuck them into the base. Next the lights went up. Then our lovely ornaments, some homemade, some purchased at the store. It was an eclectic mix and I looked forward to seeing them again every year. I can still remember the ones made from styrofoam balls with sequins and ribbon pinned in — they were quite fancy.
Ironically, one ornament I can remember quite well wasn’t even pretty. It was wooden and colored in using a marker. My younger sister made it. And it was mostly just scribbles because of how young she was when she made it.
We don’t have any of those ornaments any longer. Or the tree, due to a garage fire that occurred when I was eighteen. Yet those memories live on.
A few years ago, I helped a single friend decorate for Christmas. She had the exact same kind of tree we did growing up! I was so excited to help though I confess I was a little disappointed to discover that the tree I had always remembered as being enormous was really only around five or six feet tall at most!
A Cowboy Christmas: Western Celebrations, Recipes, and Traditions
by Shanna Hatfield
Published by Two Dot Books
Publication Date September 17, 2019
Genres: Entertaining, Decorating, Cookbook
Written for: Adults
Through photos, interviews, 15 how-tos, and 75 recipes, this book offers a guide to creating your own Cowboy Christmas and a celebration of the style, traditions, food, and family celebrations unique to the lifestyles of American cowboys. Featuring ranch families, rodeo cowboys, and communities with western-style Christmas celebrations, this book will highlight the things that make a Cowboy Christmas special. Each chapter will feature traditions, recipes, decorations, and stories from the interviewees.
I would like to thank Shanna Hatfield for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
I have loved Shanna Hatfield‘s fiction and now I am glad to say that she also writes great non-fiction.
A Cowboy Christmas will appeal to a number of different tastes.
First, those who want to entertain but don’t feel they are very good at it. Not only will you get tips for how to successfully host a gathering, you will also get encouragement about the point of entertaining – as a hint, it isn’t about you! With oodles of ideas on how to make your guests comfortable and how to make your tables look great with a minimal effort, these tips alone make it worth the purchase.
If you want ideas for recipes, there are many in here and not just the traditional ones you would expect. While some use mixes, most do not. I was surprised to find a recipe for meatloaf that doesn’t use tomato products and am very excited to give it a try. Those who need to avoid gluten will find some you can make as well.
The craft ideas are also great. Some look simple to make; all are creative.
One of my favorite sections is the gift giving one. Not only are there hints on how to wrap a package beautifully, there are also many gift ideas for those more difficult-to-shop-for people on your list.
I really enjoyed the stories in there as well. Several families shared their Christmas traditions. It was interesting to see their involvement with the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, which is no surprise considering the author’s love for this foundation. The fact that they had been helped by the JCCF was simply part of their story and it was not mentioned in a way to make you think they are soliciting funds. Given that a portion of the proceeds of this book (and all others by Shanna Hatfield) will go to the charity from now through December, it is appropriately mentioned and subtle.
I plan to purchase a copy soon because I find a hardback book much easier to use than an ebook for this type of resource.