Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 12 Authors of Christmas -- Rene Gutteridge

Meet Rene!

Rene Gutteridge is the author of thirteen novels with over 150,000 books in print. She is a full-time novelist and mom. She studied screenwriting under a mass communications degree and has also worked as a playwright. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two children. Her next release, SKID, is due Spring 2008. Her latest release is Boo Humbug, available now. Visit her website at http://www.renegutteridge.com/.

Tell us about your first Christmas memory?

I remember coming down the long hallway of our home and through the living room into the den. It seemed like the entire den was filled with toys for my sister and me. It looked endless. I remember the Barbie Winnebago and pool. I believe it was that same Christmas that I accepted Christ as my savior on Christmas Eve. I think I was five. I totally understood all of this was about him. The beauty of the season reflected everything I believed about Him.

Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

We always watched Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph and all those great cartoons. For some reason, the Wizard of Oz always played during that time, too. And the Sound of Music. As a parent now, we always attend the Christmas Eve service and then have my In-laws over for dinner. My husband writes a note to the kids from Santa and always puts Jesus in there to remind them what it's all about. We ALWAYS go get coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks and drive around and look at Christmas lights a few days before Christmas, while listening to Christmas music.

When do you put up your tree? At my house, it goes up when my kids' begging is louder than my procrastination (around December 1). My husband works assembles my prelighted tree. I do the rest. Describe the decorating at your house.
It's up the day after Thanksgiving. I also put up my 100 piece Dickens Village collection, which I've spent a decade acquiring. That stays up through February because it takes so long to put it up and it's really cool! We have a big tree we all decorate together and then a slim tree that is mine to do themes on. That's only been in the last couple of years so I'm still trying to figure out what my theme is. I think I'm going to start collecting cross ornaments.

My husband always does the outside lights. Each year it's a different design with the exception being the cross, which he always hangs above our garage.

What is your favorite Christmas song or album?

O Holy Night. That makes me week in the knees, except when it's sung poorly. Then the hairs bristle :)

Christmas morning, my parents brother and I would head over to my grandparents' house and open all our presents there. Or they'd come to our house ... so we didn't open them until we were up, dressed, showered and fed. Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.

My parents were very frugal. We rarely got extras, but at Christmas, they went all out. My mom made gigantic stockings for us. I bet they were four feet tall or so. We had Santa gifts plus wrapped gifts from mom and dad. We'd open presents and then eat pumpkin bread. In our teen years, we'd try on all the outfits we got. Mom even bought extras so if there was something we didn't like, we could exchange right there on the spot!

Seems to me snow and Christmas go together, and in Montana that's almost a given! Tell us about your Christmas setting?

In Oklahoma, it can be snow, ice, rain or 90 degrees. We live in a very unpredictable climate. It's usually at least cold, but sometimes not even cold enough for a sweater. December is a big ice month, so we tend to get that more than snow, which makes travel hard.

It’s Christmas Eve… Describe your day and evening.

I'm usually preparing for the meal that evening. We'll bake cookies, drink hot chocolate and stay at home. Then we get dressed up for the Christmas Eve service. The kids get to stay in the service with us, so I let them bring a drawing pad and a pencil, but they love listening to our pastor, too, and my husband leads worship, so that's a thrill for them. Then my husband's parents come over and we have a nice non-Christmas type meal. I really go gourmet for them, and we have egg nog too. Then we spend two hours trying to get the kids to bed!!

Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

Both! Though these days we have things like Kohl's and free-standing JC Penneys, so I don't have to go to the mall as much. I do love ordering online, though.

Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

A few years ago, I became very sick and chronically ill. I got out of the hospital two days before Christmas. It meant so much to be able to just enjoy everything. I don't take anything for granted anymore. It's a blessing to wrap presents, be well enough to go shopping, have enough energy to bake cookies. I feel a peace and warmth during the season, and I feel the wonder of Jesus in so many ways.

It’s Christmas day… what’s for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

Luckily, my mom still likes to do the Christmas meal, so we go over to their house for it. Often times it's an exact replica of our Thanksgiving meal but nobody minds because we all love turkey. But Mom has decided to try ham on occasion. Not our favorite but we can't complain since we're not cooking! We have tons of pumpkin pies and pecan pies. That's a must. With whip cream. Coffee comes all day.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.

I think it's the night I accepted Jesus as my savior. I remember being tiny in my bed, wrapped in warm covers, staring at the ceiling like it was heaven and knowing God was there with me.

What are you plans for this season?

Lots of time with friends and family. I have a new nephew so that will add to the fun. Our church is doing a series called Christmas Uprising, talking about God's command to take care of the poor, so we're putting an extra emphasis on it this year and doing some additional things we haven't done before in terms of charity.

Any final thoughts on Christmas?

I pray for those whose Christmases aren't filled with warm memories. For some, Christmas is the worst time of the year. I pray that they would allow God to embrace them and give them a glimpse into what that Baby means for their lives.

Thanks Rene! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

No comments: