A Game for All

Adapted from the recently released book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas
by Linda Gilden

How will all the little holiday extras ever get done? I ask myself that question every year. And as much as I enjoy the holidays, there seems to be so little time.xmas queen

One year I decided to let go of expectations and concentrate on celebrating Jesus. I came up with a plan to accomplish a lot of the extras in a very short time. I created a game!

“Come on, everyone,” I said. “We are going to play a game.”

There was minor grumbling but in the end everyone agreed a family game would be fun. And I was so excited about the end result!

“Just give me an hour of your time,” I said. “Then you can get back to your homework.”

I found a cute Christmas container and deposited little slips of paper, each describing a job.

“I am going to set a timer for twenty minutes,” I said. “When you draw a slip of paper, you have twenty minutes to work at your job. When the bell rings, you will choose another job and change what you are doing. In an hour, you will have helped me with three pre-Christmas chores.”

The papers in the container had jobs like:

  1. Position the electric candles in the windows.
  2. Put the greenery on the mantle downstairs.
  3. Wrap presents. (Not your own, although most were willing!)
  4. A smile face. This job was really important. The person who got the smile was to circulate, serve refreshments, and make sure everyone was having fun.
  5. Address Christmas cards.
  6. Plan a family activity that will help us concentrate on the real meaning of the season such as memorize the Christmas story from Luke, find someone to share the season with who hasn’t yet met the Savior, concentrate on a different aspect of Jesus’ birth in daily devotions, etc.
  7. Make a Christmas goodie or edible treat. My family favorite is “Rocks!”

Christmas music playing in the background created a festive and jovial mood.

As it turned out, everybody was a winner in this game. The family gathered in the kitchen for a sample of “rocks,” pointing out that we had become happy little elves, proudly creating an atmosphere of merriment for the holidays.

Are there things you can do to make this holiday season less stressed for you and your family?

RECIPE: Rocks – Favorite Holiday Treat!

2 cups chocolate chips
1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
½ cup peanut butter
(1) 12.3 oz. box Crispix cereal
Confectioners Sugar

  1. Melt chocolate in a large bowl in microwave oven. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir well. Heat 30 seconds more or as needed to melt chocolate. Stir until smooth. (Chocolate could also be melted in a double boiler over low heat on the stove.)
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended.
  3. Add peanuts and cereal and mix until thoroughly coated. A wooden spoon works best for this.
  4. Put confectioner’s sugar in a plastic bag. Add cereal mixture, close bag tightly, and shake gently until mixture is coated with sugar. If you do a third of the mixture at a time, it is easier to handle.
  5. Makes a lot! Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Linda GildenAbout the Author: Linda Gilden’s favorite season is Christmas. But, truthfully, she and her family like to celebrate all year long, so can it really be called a season? Growing up in a home where the spirit of Christmas prevailed throughout the year, she knows she is blessed to have married a man who shares the same philosophy—Jesus is not just for a season but for a lifetime! Linda is the author of over a thousand magazine articles and several other books, such as Love Notes in Lunchboxes, Love Notes on His Pillow, and Mommy Pick-Me-Ups (all by New Hope Publishers), but Mama Was the Queen of Christmas is one she has wanted to write for a long time. Her heart’s desire is to see families enjoy each other and make memories no matter what the season. Linda lives in South Carolina with her husband, three grown children and children-in-law, four grandchildren, and a granddog, all of whom love Christmas as much as she does!

ABOUT THE BOOK: Do you love Christmas but feel the real meaning of the season is lost in the busyness? Do you breathe a sigh of relief when the last holiday guest is out the door, the last gift unwrapped, and the last ornament put away? Do you struggle with balancing the preparation and celebration with honoring Jesus? After all, it is His birthday!

Mama Was the Queen of Christmas is a collection of stories highlighting “Mama's” role in the season as well as quotes, Scripture, and practical suggestions for keeping the holidays focused on Christ. Mama presents creative ideas to plan a meaningful holiday season.


  • “For the Queen” helps the reader focus on the truth of each story. This feature includes suggestions for the reader to implement that truth in his or her life.
  • “For the King” points the reader to the One whose birth we celebrate through a personal activity.
  • “For the Court” suggests family activities to apply the truth in each story.

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