Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Christmas Traditions

By MK McClintock, Guest Author

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." - Peg Bracken

I spent a lot of time reading through Christmas practices during the mid-late nineteenth-century. How did the soldiers and their families in the forts spend the holidays? What did miners and travelers eat while on the road or at a hotel on the open plains or a cabin in the mountains? When it came time to decorate the tree, did they use nuts, strings of popcorn or beads, oranges, lemons, and candies, or did they go for a grander ornamentation like the fancier trees seen in ladies’ magazines? Did they import their ornaments from Germany or decorate with home-made trinkets? The traditions and customs varied from home to home and region to region, but when it came down the traditions of my characters in the old west, I knew I wanted to keep the holiday simple and focused around family.

In Christmas Mountain, each year the mother made a small angel for her daughter to place on the tree. In Teton Christmas, the town had a tradition of decorating every building with festive garlands and ribbons, but they were open to including a new custom by holding a dance at the hotel. In Lily’s Christmas Wish, it’s the first season when a new family has a chance to create their own traditions.

My own family’s holiday traditions have changed over the years, but a few things remain the same. We decorate the house the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the tree remains up until the New Year. On Christmas morning, we always sit by the fire with hot chocolate and homemade cinnamon rolls. Since I’m not one who enjoys the commercialism of Christmas, there’s not a lot of focus these days on gifts, but rather on spending the day as a family. Most years I’m in the kitchen by five o’clock in the morning, baking, prepping, and cooking. I take a break for the cinnamon roll breakfast and then head back to the kitchen, taking time here and there for a board game or to watch part of a movie. Creating that extravagant evening meal is one of my own personal favorite traditions.

No matter your own traditions for this season, or whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or perhaps it’s just another day, I wish you all a beautiful season filled with hope.

"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect." - Oren Arnold

 Home for Christmas
Short Story Collection
By MK McClintock

A collection of three historical western short stories to inspire love and warm the heart.

Praise for A Home for Christmas
"The cold nips at your face and delicious Christmas cake leaves you wanting more."
- M. Ann Roher, Author of "Mattie"

“If you like the 1800's, like I do, you will love these stories!”
-Diane Holm, The Reader’s Cove, Amazon Vine Reviewer

“I really enjoyed these charming historical fictions CHRISTMAS MOUNTAIN, TETON CHRISTMAS and LILY'S CHRISTMAS WISH! . . . Ms. McClintock is a very descriptive writer, I could feel the surroundings!”
-Nicole Laverdure

In search of family she barely knows and adventure she's always wanted, Katherine Donahue is saved from freezing on a winter night in the mountains of Montana by August Hollister. Neither of them expected that what one woman had in mind was a new beginning for them both.

Heartache and a thirst for adventure lead McKensie Stewart and her sister to Wyoming after the death of their parents. With the help of a widowed aunt and a charming horse breeder, McKensie discovers that hope is a cherished promise, and there is no greater gift than love.


Lily Malone has never had a real family or a real Christmas. This holiday season, she might get both. From an orphanage in New York City to the rugged mountains of Colorado, Lily sends out only one wish. But when the time comes, can she give it up so someone else's wish can come true?

Settings: Montana, Colorado, Wyoming
Christmas Short Stories/Western

Book Links

Excerpts from A Home for Christmas

Copper Point, Montana Territory—December 1879

"Alone now, surrounded by a peace she rarely experienced, Katherine pet Crockett in front of the hearth. The fire flickered, causing the flames’ shadows to dance over the log walls. The scent of yeast drifted from the rising loaves of bread waiting on the kitchen counter. Quiet surrounded Katherine and Crockett as they enjoyed a few moments alone before the others woke."



Wickliffe, Wyoming Territory—December 22, 1892

"The sun shone from the brilliant blue sky, kissing her skin and brightening the freckles scattered across her nose. McKensie Stewart closed her eyes, breathed in the frosty air, and spread her arms wide. She stood on the side of the snow-covered road where the stage coach had dropped them off and relished in the wonderment. They had finally arrived in Wyoming." 


Look for the Wycliffe Hotel's Famous Coffee Cake recipe at the end of the book.


Cotter’s Gulch, Colorado—December 1868

Dear God. Please help me find a family. Love, Lily.
The forged wheels whirred and ground against the iron rails as the small window of the train car opened up to the vast landscape of the American West. Miss Abbott told her the same stories over and over again, promising that a new life waited. She wasn’t sorry to see the dingy city disappear four days ago, and she hoped to never see it again. Those memories she wanted to leave far behind."


MK McClintock, Author

MK McClintock spins tales of romance and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes in Montana.

-2014 RONE Award-Nominee for Alaina Claiborne
-Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD'Tale Magazine for Blackwood Crossing and The Montana Gallagher Collection

Learn more about MK by visiting her website at or blog at

Genres: historical romantic westerns, historical romantic mysteries, western short stories

Contact & Connect

Thanks for stopping by!


MK McClintock said...

Thank you so much for having me at your blog today, Caroline. It's always a joy to visit you and your readers. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Caroline Clemmons said...

MK, I love your new cover and can't wait to read the stories. Each sounds tempting. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.