FROM TURKEY TO TINSEL by Rula Sinara & Catherine Lanigan

Catherine's granddaughter trimming the tree!

Rula: Transitions are an integral part of the holiday season. Aren’t they? We go from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other December celebrations in what seems to be faster than a wink from Santa. Then the Winter Solstice marks the official transition from fall into winter. We even have a New Moon Solar Eclipse occurring on December 26th, the first day of Kwanzaa and the day after Christmas...kind of like nature giving a toast to new beginnings and changes. And soon after that, we move from one year to the next.

Traditions and transitions are good for us. One keeps us linked and grounded to the past, while the other spurs progress and helps us keep moving toward the future. History—including family history and traditions—teaches us lessons, but taking those lessons and knowledge to heart and making positive use of them is what makes for a better future…not just for our kids and families, but for the world. We all wish for ‘Peace on Earth’ and it starts at home. 

Rula's gluten free gingerbread cookies made with her kids last year

Catherine and I were thinking about some of the transitions and traditions we enjoy this time of year and thought it would be fun to hear all of yours. 

For example, do you decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving or after? I personally keep all my fall d├ęcor out for Thanksgiving and make the switch either the day after or by that weekend. I have many neighbors, however, who already have all their Christmas lights up before Turkey day.

What about holiday shopping? Do you have it all done before Thanksgiving or by Black Friday at the latest? I’m betting someone is going to stuff a sweatshirt that says ‘Overachiever’ in your stocking this year lol ;)! Or do you sit in a cozy chair with hot cocoa and do all your shopping last minute online? 

Rula's Yule Log from last year

Oh and there’s the baking and recipes that shift from pumpkin and butternut squash to peppermint and gingerbread. Yum! I actually broke tradition this year when my kids begged me to make my yule log in November because they couldn’t wait for December. Sweet tooth genetics. Of course, I’ll make another. 

Rula's gluten free gingerbread house made last year with her kids

Children are such a joy during the holidays. It doesn’t matter how old they are (yes, I’m including the kid in all of us). They are the sugar in our days. The gathering of friends and family generations…young and old…during December is one of the most beautiful times of transitions and traditions ever.

Catherine, how do you transition from turkey to tinsel?

Catherine and her family in Houston

Catherine: Hi, Y’all from Houston, Texas! Every year I spend Thanksgiving with my son and family. Therefore, my transition from Thanksgiving at my home in Indiana starts early November. Since I put up 21 garlands, all decorated with lights and ornaments, throughout the house, it takes me 3 weeks to decorate. There is still the dining room chandelier, tables, end tables, and let’s not forget several wreaths and garlands and the 3,000 lights outside. I do it myself. 

However, the tree does not go up until after I come back from Houston. This year, that will be on Wednesday. Since I work all week, and have Wednesday off, the tree won’t be fully decorated until around my birthday this year. 

Bailing a tree during Catherine's trip to a tree farm.

Catherine's tree farm trip tradition

As Rula stated, the transition from pumpkin and apples to peppermint and chocolate and sprinkles in my kitchen is huge. I start baking as soon as I turn over that calendar page to December. Because Thanksgiving was so late this year, I feel terribly behind. I’ll catch up, don’t worry.

As many of you know, I love, love all the holiday seasons. There aren’t enough of them throughout the year. Christmas is magical for me, always has been.

Merry Christmas to all.

How about all of you? We’d love to hear some of the traditions you have in the transition from fall to winter and into the new year.

Home for Christmas
(Book 12 Shores of Indian Lake)
November 2019

Can a magical Christmas under glass…

…bring them back together for good?

Widowed dad Adam Masterson still doesn’t understand why Joy Boston left Indian Lake and broke his heart all those years ago. Now she’s returned to sell her grandfather’s beloved poinsettia greenhouse—and Joy and Adam’s connection is as strong as ever. But Joy has a life in New York. And Adam has only until Christmas to convince Joy that she belongs in Indian Lake—with him.

Caught by the Sheriff
(Book 2 Turtleback Beach)
Coming March 2020

If she follows her heart…

Will he follow the law?

Turtleback Beach, North Carolina, would be paradise—if Faye Donovan wasn’t on the run. With her sister’s life in danger and her small niece to protect, Faye tries to avoid handsome town sheriff Carlos Ryker. But Carlos offers her a refuge, and Faye feels she’s finally found home. And yet he’s still the sheriff. Can she trust him with the truth…even if it means risking everything?

Happy Holidays!

Rula & Catherine


  1. This post has inspired me to start hauling our decorations up from the basement. Since our Thanksgiving was in mid October, we usually wait until mid December. But thanks to your wonderful post...that glorious tree and awesome Yule log...I’m ready now! I also love the tradition/ transition integral part of Christmas. Thanks ladies!

    1. Janice, I think Catherine is queen of seasonal decorations. She inspires me to get mine out! :)

  2. Good morning, Janice! I have to say, now that I'm home this morning, I'm really ready to finish it up. And aren't Rula's baking traditions an inspiration. I need more butter!!! Merry Christmas!

    1. Lots and lots of butter ;). Totally calorie free. Not. Lol.

  3. That Yule Log has my sweet tooth begging. We don't have any firm traditions in my house for the transition. We want to fully celebrate Thanksgiving, so we don't put up too many decorations before that day. In years I've done a Christmas drop-in open house style party, I start deep cleaning early and once Thanksgiving is over, it's all-out decorating. We also like walking at night and enjoying the Christmas lights other people have.

    1. I must say it's a delicious mocha yule log and I can't take credit for the original recipe. I found it a couple of years ago on a site called Christina's Cucina: It's sooooo good.

      I start deep cleaning before Thanksgiving too! Especially when I'm hosting like this year. I basically time it with my fall cleaning extravaganza ;).

  4. I love the walk around to see the lights. Our weather here in Indiana close to Lake Michigan can be brutal about it's snowing right now. BUT, in Houston, we did just that. Stopped to say "howdy" to friends as they were decorating. Made me wish I'd brought the cocoa to share!!! Thanks for stopping by Callie!

  5. I'm beginning tomorrow. I'll get the tree from the basement and my daughter will decorate it. I do the other rooms with Santa (that I collect) and smaller lighted trees. The house looks so warm and inviting when the lights are up. Don't get me into taking them down.

    1. Shirley, you're so right! Christmas lights really warm/cozy a place up. I love them. At this point I managed to put out all my holiday decor except the trees. Those should be up by this weekend :). At that point, I have to 'let the games begin' for the rest of December because I have 3 cats. They're pretty sure I put the trees and ornaments out for them and only them lol.

  6. You are both such inspiration! I'll have to try a Yule log this year. Can't wait to start decorating.

  7. I aways love your pictures! Merry Christmas, girls!


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