Interview & Book Give-Away with Author & Speaker Linda Gilden; And Who Won Cindy Sproles’ Book?

Yep, you read the calendar right. It’s NOT the 1st or 5th Tuesday and it’s not the 5th Thursday, but I just had to share my friend Linda Gilden and her new book with you this week! Linda’s been with us before here at The Christian Writer’s Den, but I want to let you know she has another book out–a Christmas book!

I’ll let Linda tell you about her book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, but I do want to remind you to leave a comment and you could win a free copy–just in time for Christmas!

Welcome, Linda. Let’s jump right in. We just finished Thanksgiving weekend. But the retail world has been focused on Christmas for months. Despite all the commercialization, how can Christians keep the focus on Jesus, the real meaning of the season?

Well, I hope my latest book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, will help with that! But the bottom line is that if you are not focused on Him all year long, you will probably not make Him the center of your Christmas. So the first step is a personal relationship with Him. Then, your heart’s desire will be to keep Him at the center of your Christmas.

A few tangible things – Display manger scenes in your home. Put an advent wreath on your table. Joyfully attend Christmas programs. Give to help others. Teach your children to recite the Christmas story. Plan ahead but be flexible (yes, there will be surprises in the schedule!).

Why did you write Mama Was the Queen of Christmas?

Christmas is a very special time of the year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. But it shouldn’t be just one season. The older I get and the more children and grandchildren I have, the more strongly I feel the responsibility of encouraging them in their faith. I grew up in a home where Christmas was talked about, thought of, planned for, and celebrated all year long. My mother was indeed the “queen of Christmas!” I want the same experience for my family.

I know Mama Was the Queen of Christmas isn’t your first book. Tell us about your other writing.

I’ve written six books and ghostwritten, compiled, or edited dozens. My writing career began with writing articles and I really love that area of writing. I still write several articles every month. Articles are a great way to increase awareness for your books and to establish your expertise in the subject area of your book. At the moment I seem to be focused on books, with one recently released, a new book deadline the middle of this month, and another deadline January 30, 2013, for a book called Becoming a Writer on Mission.

What is one of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions?

When all my children were at home, I think one of my favorites was the cousins orchestra. On Christmas Eve my children and their first cousins, ranging in age from 20 to 3, brought their instruments and played Christmas carols. The three-year-old played the triangle and the one cousin who didn’t play an instrument was the narrator. Even practices were entertainment worthy of videoing!

What would be your best holiday tip for busy families?

Don’t stress unnecessarily. There are things that are important to celebrating Christmas but none more important than being together as a happy family. Create memories but be sensitive to the needs of your family. If your only family time is around the dinner table on Christmas Day, that’s where memory-making takes place. Plan a dinner table game or create directed conversation that will draw your family closer. Eat the same foods. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.

One of our favorite traditions is “reading the plates.” Several years ago my husband gave me Christmas china called “Bethlehem.” The Christmas story is written around the rims of the plates. When our family gathers, before we put anything on our plates we read the Christmas story from the plates. The plates are on the table in random order so you have to know the story to read your plate at the proper time. This tradition has not only been fun but has driven us to keep the Christmas story the focus of our mealtime.

Any parting thoughts for writers at Christmas?

Try to have your writing projects to a point that you can put them aside for a few days. Decide now that you will enjoy the holidays with your family and put celebrating Jesus first. Gather writing material for the next Christmas season as you enjoy family time and worship Jesus together. Thank God for our freedom to celebrate and honor God’s greatest gift to us in everything you do. Merry Christmas!

Bio: Linda Gilden in a freelance writer living in SC. Her recent book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, shares her love for Jesus’ birthday season and how it really should be a year-long celebration. Linda is also a speaker, editor, and writing coach. She has written hundreds of articles as well as the Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, and has ghostwritten or contributed to over three dozen books. As Director of the CLASS Christian Writers Conference, she encourages others to clearly communicate God’s love to the world. Linda’s favorite times are those spent with family – a source of tremendous blessing as well as speaking and writing material! www.lindagilden.com www.queenofchristmas.com

Thank you for sharing your new book with us, Linda. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for your own copy! Don’t forget to come back next week to see if you’re the winner.

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And speaking of coming back to check on winners…

The winner of Cindy Sproles’ book, New Sheets, is Comment #23–Cynthia Lott Vogel! Cynthia, just contact me with your mailing address and we’ll get that book right out to you!

Thank you for stopping by, dear friends. What a joy to have you with me each week. You bless me more than you know!

Vonda

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  • Yvonne Ortega

    Linda and Vonda, thank you for the wonderful interview. It brought back precious memories of baking a birthday cake for Jesus and singing “Happy Birthday” to him. I have Nativity set cookie cutters, and my son & I baked Nativity set cookies for many years. Now I will use those Nativity set cookie cutters with my neighbor’s granddaughter. Linda, my tree is fully decorated—lights and all—year round too, and it’s not in the attic either. I can’t see it up there. Thanks to you, I may leave my little tabletop tree up year round too. Merry Christmas, ladies. Thanks again.

    • How sweet of you to think of your neighbor’s granddaughter in such a special way. There’s no telling what your kindness will mean to her not only today, but in the years to come!

  • Loved this interview. Each piece of our nativity set has scripture from the Christmas story on it. We read those like you read your plates. One new thing we started about two years ago was placing a rustic, wooden manger at the foot of our Christmas tree. The manger, sits alone, without presents the first two weeks of December. Gradually, presents are placed under the tree but the manger is always front and center.
    My mama always read Christmas devotionals to us as we grew up. I do that now for my children. We also read the Christmas story before any gifts are opened on Christmas morning. I think I need to get this book!

    • Great ways to instill the love of Jesus, our Gift, into the hearts and minds of your children. Thanks for sharing, Sally!

  • Hello, Friend! Just wanted to pop in and read your interview. What wonderful advice. Like you, I am very concerned that our grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, are aware of the true meaning of Christmas. All of your tips are so very practical. One thing we did when our girls were small was to bake a birthday cake for Jesus. They always looked forward to that.

    Blessings!

    • Hi Golden, thanks for stopping by! Yes, grandkids have made me realize the responsibility even more than raising my kids did!

  • Marie Tschopp

    As soon as I’m done commenting, I’m gonna Google Bethlehem plates. Those sound wonderful. I first heard of Linda Gilden from the CLASS seminars blog talk radio program hosted by Linda Goldfarb. That is also how I discovered you, too, Vonda. Wishing you both a very merry Christmas, and a joyous New year!

    • Hi Marie! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging Linda, and me, too! I know Linda Goldfarb would love knowing you’ve not only listened to her show, but followed up as well! 🙂

  • Nan Jones

    Linda, I love the ideas you shared. When our children were home with us, we began our Christmas mornings with a birthday party for Jesus, complete with candles on a coffee cake, balloons, etc. And we were always excited that Santa brought the presents for Jesus’ birthday party **wink** I would love to have a chance to win your book. Christmas blessings to you!

    • I love that idea, too, Nan! Christmas blessings to you!

  • Susan Dollyhigh

    Linda, its great to hear from you, even in an interview! Being a Southern girl, the title of your book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, makes me want to rush out and buy a copy! Hope to see you soon at a writer’s event! Merry Christmas to you and your family. Merry Christmas to you too, Vonda! Thanks for a great interview.

    • You’re welcome, Susan. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Linda Gilden

      Hi, Susan! Thanks for commenting. Hope you have a great Christmas. I appreciate your enthusiasm about my book. It was a fun one to write and I pray it touches and encourages lots of families. Blessings to you!

  • I’m working furiously on writing projects right now so I can be with a family member having surgery. Great advice, Linda. It’s nice to get “permission” to take a break from time to time 🙂

    • That’s a good point, Susan. We don’t need permission, but we sure feel like we do! 🙂

  • Clella

    Wonderful Linda…Congratulations…Can’t wait to see my copy. Have a blessed Christ filled season

    • Hi Clella, so glad to have you join us! Christmas blessings to you!

  • Kimberly Long

    I loved your reading the plates—Christmas story. Thank you for sharing your Christmas wisdom, Linda!

  • Andrea Merrell

    Great interview and great tips for making Christmas special. I believe I heard you say at the CLASS Conference that you keep your Christmas tree up all year. Very intriguing . . . would like to know more. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Andrea! Thanks for stopping by with your encouraging words. So, tell us, Linda. Do you keep your Christmas tree up all year?

      • Linda Gilden

        Yes, Vonda! I actually keep two trees up all year. I really enjoy them and one year my adult children pointed that out and asked why I took them down every year. I thought about it and couldn’t see a single reason for the trees to stay in the attic for eleven months out of twelve! By the way, those two trees only have nativity ornaments on them so having them out makes it easy to check and see if I have one. Currently I have over 500 different nativity ornaments dating back to the sixties when my mother began saving ornaments for me!

        • Great idea, Linda! I especially like that they only have nativity ornaments on them. 🙂

  • Elaine Carr

    This paragraph on priorities encourages me. Thanks!

    “Try to have your writing projects to a point that you can put them aside
    for a few days. Decide now that you will enjoy the holidays with your
    family and put celebrating Jesus first. Gather writing material for the
    next Christmas season as you enjoy family time and worship Jesus
    together. Thank God for our freedom to celebrate and honor God’s
    greatest gift to us in everything you do. Merry Christmas!”

    • That paragraph really spoke to me, too. That’s always my intent, but I will work harder this year to make that happen!

    • Linda Gilden

      That’s always my plan, Elaine! In fact so much so that the first of October my family begins asking how the projects are going. Unfortunately this year I have not heeded my own advice and it’s going to be a struggle. But I am planning some time off to enjoy the holidays with my family. Have a blessed Christmas!

  • Jeanne Doyon

    What a wonderful resource to help keep the Hush of His Presence alive during the busy advent season. And, in light of our society’s attempts to quiet the real meaning of Christmas, I would enjoy sharing this book with others.
    Blessings as you make room for Him,
    Jeanne
    http://www.jeannedoyon.blogspot.com

    • It is a much-needed reminder that Christmas isn’t about gifts, unless we’re talking about the Gift the Giver gave us 2000+ years ago.