Author Archives: kristendoerschner

Christmas memories, changing traditions

As a brief introduction, I actually wrote the following as a Facebook post on Dec. 17, 2014. I find myself feeling the same this year, and I know many other people feel, or have felt, this way as well. I thought I would share this again with new readers.

I was waxing sentimental about the holidays and change. Here’s my rambling post about it.

Things change.

People get older, get married, have children, move away, fade away, pass away.

Never are life’s inevitable changes impressed upon me more than during the holidays, especially Christmas.

I love tradition and consistency. Long after my brothers and I had outgrown the magical fantasies of Christmas, we still insisted presents not be placed under the tree until after we had gone to bed. And we still woke early on Christmas morning to dig into our stockings and then sit in the dark living room with only the tree lights on until our parents were up and ready to start the day. 

We grew up going to Grandma and Grandpa Garrett’s house for Christmas Eve, and then to Grandma and Grandpa Onestak’s house on Christmas Day and cousin Patty’s house on Christmas night.

Quite often I would spend the night of Dec. 23 at my grandparents’ house. I can remember waking in the morning in a chilly room and an antique bed, warm under layers of sheets and blankets, listening to my grandmother in the kitchen, cooking and singing along to Christmas carols on the radio.

I loved those mornings and the anticipation of the days to come. I looked forward to not only presents, as children do, but seeing all of our family and having a big family dinner and playing games and visiting relatives.

Over the years the natural changes in life have also changed those traditions. I’ve accepted those changes and embraced new traditions, but sometimes I really miss the way things used to be.

This year I miss the old traditions more than ever. Life’s circumstances are once again changing the holidays and how we celebrate, or, in some cases, how we don’t celebrate. I get the feeling that the next few years are going to be full of more changes, and it may be awhile before we get settled into a new holiday routine.

Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy our family and friends and watch my children experience the magic of Christmas, and I’ll treasure all of my childhood memories.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, 
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years 
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.


How I became a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies

Confession: I love Hallmark Christmas movies.

Another confession: I didn’t always love them.

There was a time when I mocked Hallmark Christmas movies. I couldn’t understand how people could watch them. It baffled me.

Formulaic. Silly. Completely unrealistic. 

I love Christmas, but I was smug in my distain for this particular portion of holiday entertainment. 

Tonight I’m writing this as I watch “A Dream of Christmas” for at least the third time in two weeks.

So, what changed?

I can’t quite say there was one moment that caused me to change my mind. It was a slow process.

It began several years ago when I was bored and channel surfing on a Sunday. For some reason I stopped on Hallmark. They were showing “A Very Merry Mix-Up.” I was half watching as I scrolled through Twitter on my phone. At some point in the movie between a cup of spilled coffee — the meet-cute! — and the detached fiancé — dump him! — I found myself invested. I found myself enjoying the movie.

A few days later I happened upon “A Princess for Christmas.” I absolutely started watching that because of Sam Heughan. 

Before I knew it, I was stopping on Hallmark more and more often. 

The movies areformulaic, silly and often completely unrealistic. They are also fun and full of holiday spirit. I realized that with all of the really upsetting and serious stuff in the world, I needed a month – or two – to escape from it all. I need to believe, even for just a few hours, that girl from Buffalo can become a princess.

Now, I’m all in. Lacey Chabert as a seamstress-turned-princess. Candace Cameron Bure as a big city doctor stuck in a small village. Lacey Chabert as a reporter who wakes up with a family. Candace Cameron Bure as twins who switch lives. Lacy Chabert as … well, you get the idea.

I am an unapologetic Hallmark Christmas movie fan. I love switching over to the channel any time of the day and knowing I’ll find something light-hearted and happy. (Though I do miss “The Golden Girls.”)

Now, I’m going to stop writing and happily devote my full attention to this movie I’ve watched 15 times in the last three years.