Amy's contribution to An Amish Christmas Bakery is Cookies and Cheer and in her story Alyssa Byler wants to build a sugar cookie nativity scene for her bakery’s Christmas window display—all she needs is the right cookie cutters. She turns to handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa created a striking display that brings more customers than she can handle. She soon realizes she’s been too busy to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—and too distracted to explore her feelings for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush to celebrate the season that brought them together.
Amy has, in preparation for her Facebook Chat Party, answered interview questions that were submitted to her earlier. I am thrilled to share those questions and Amy's answers!
Have you ever seen a sugar cookie nativity scene like Alyssa wants to make in “Cookies and Cheer?” What are some other creative, yet simple, ways the Amish might use to celebrate the Christmas season?
No, I have never seen a display like it; however, when I was little, we had cookie cutters. I remember having a star, a camel, a tree, and an angel, which were part of my inspiration. The Amish don’t decorate like we do. They may have a poinsettia and then decorate with some evergreen branches. They do send out Christmas cards, and they buy practical gifts. My Amish friend talked about decorating the kitchen table with gifts for her children and giving gifts such as ice skates.
How did you come up with such a cute name for the story?
To be completely honest, I can’t take credit for the name for the story. My publishing team holds meetings to name books and stories, and they chose it. I do love it!
Since this novella is one that Alyssa works in a bakery, what is a baked good that just has to be in the Clipston house or it isn't Christmas?
My mom and I like to make cookies and cheesecake. I also love her lemon pound cake. Yum!
Did any of your own Christmas traditions get written into this novella?
The only tradition I included was writing Christmas cards, which the Amish do. I love to send out Christmas cards every year. Lately, I have ordered cards with cats on them. What a surprise, right? I send them out to friends and family members and I always include a family photo that we had taken that year, along with the boys’ school photos. I already have decided what photo to include in this year’s card.
Do you have a favorite Christmas movie that you make sure to watch every year?
Yes! We always watch “Die Hard” (the first one, of course). It’s been a tradition for many years. It was one of my father’s favorite movies, and it always brings back happy memories. In fact, my son Matt and I pretty much know the lines by heart, and we like to quote them during the movie. (I’m sure that’s annoying to the other watchers!)
Every December, my family hangs a Christmas stocking for our pet dog. Do you have any special Christmas traditions that include your cats in your family's holiday celebration?
Yes, of course! I used to have stockings with each of their names; however, I haven’t purchased stockings yet for Leo or Daisy Mae. (Yes, I know. I’m a bad cat mom.) Last year I purchased two premade cat stockings filled with toys at PetSmart. Actually, I bought them the night we found Leo at PetSmart and choose him for adoption. This year I’ll definitely buy them more toys, even though they have two big baskets full. I also need to get stockings made for Leo and Daisy Mae.
What is your favorite Christmas ornament and why?
I don’t think I could choose one favorite. Each year, I go to the Hallmark Store and buy one new one for each member of my family. I also make sure I get one that has the year on it. When we decorate the tree, it’s so fun to see the older ones with photos of the boys when they were little, the ones that they made when they were little, and also the ones that Joe and I made when we were little. I also love finding the ones with the year on it and then trying to remember something that happened that year. Someday I hope the boys have special memories from their previous Christmases when they put the ornaments on their trees.
What is your favorite cookie to bake for Christmas?
Sugar cookies! It reminds me of baking with my mom when I was little. I loved decorating them.Thanks for reading Amy's interview and I hope that these questions have caused you to think about your own traditions.. I invite you to join in on the FB chat and I hope that you will continue to get exclusive updates from Amy by signing up to receive her emails. https://amyclipston.com/email/