A Cup of Christmas Cheer: The Inspiration

By Jon Woodhams, Editor, Guideposts Books

Reader's Digest A Christmas CarolSome of my fondest childhood memories revolve around Christmas. One favorite recollection involves my older brother reading Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol aloud from a Reader’s Digest condensed volume. The illustrations in that edition were so vivid that even now, I know exactly what ol’ Fezziwig looked like and can picture Ebenezer Scrooge as plain as day.

As we read, I decried the cantankerous Mr. Scrooge and his venomous rumblings, shivered at the ominous silence of the Ghost of Christmas Future, and ultimately rejoiced in the transformation brought about in Scrooge over the course of just one night of “spirited” intervention. Those readings have stayed with me, and nearly fifty years later, I find myself returning to A Christmas Carol, either in its printed form or in one of its many film iterations, as each Christmas approaches.

A Charlie Brown ChristmasAnother favorite story with comparable staying power is A Charlie Brown Christmas. No Christmas is complete without hearing its lilting and unforgettable jazz soundtrack. More than five decades after its debut, the venerable TV special is beloved by generations. Its simple message—remembering the true meaning of Christmas amid the clamor and cacophony of commercialism—resonates now more than ever.

Miracle on 34th StreetAll of us can name Christmas books or movies that have touched our hearts in indelible ways: It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and a personal favorite (since working for a year and a half just down the street from Macy’s in New York), Miracle on 34th Street. Each of these stories has become a common touchstone, a personal and collective memory that unites us with others who have enjoyed them too.

Tales like these were the inspiration for Guideposts’ collection A Cup of Christmas Cheer. I wanted to re-create the warmhearted, transformative nature of those classic tales, but written just for Guideposts readers. I set out to collect a handful of inspiring, nostalgic, and entertaining never-before-published stories that would be read aloud and cherished for many Christmas seasons to come, for generations to come.

Beyond that, I know how busy we all are during the holidays. Baking, volunteering, and church activities are as time-consuming as they are fulfilling. The short stories that make up A Cup of Christmas Cheer allow readers to sit for a few moments and soak up the joys of Christmas in bite-sized portions.

Covers from AnitaIntroduced last year, the first two volumes found their way into the hands of thousands of readers, so it seemed only natural to add volumes 3 and 4. This year, our authors have outdone themselves, crafting evocative, charming, and often surprising stories that celebrate Christmas is all its many facets. I’m proud to present A Cup of Christmas Cheer: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past and Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Present.

These brand-new volumes contain all the elements you expect from Guideposts fiction: Inspiration, faith, friendship, and family. Wonder, joy, reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption. Rich, deep themes like these fill page after page of the collection, with dashes of humor mixed in for good measure. I invite you to enjoy these stories and share them with your loved ones as the Christmas season approaches once again, both this year and in years to come.

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Be sure to come back Wednesday, October 15 to read Jon’s interview by one of our CoCC authors.
You’ll learn about Jon’s favorite hobby and how it played a part in the great covers on these books.

(Note: If comments aren’t visible below the post, click the green circle under the post date.)

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Jon WoodhamsJon Woodhams joined Guideposts Books in 2011 as associate editor of fiction and recently received a promotion to editor. In addition to creating the popular short-story collection A Cup of Christmas Cheer, he edited the popular Guideposts series Miracles of Marble Cove, launched the series Secrets of the Blue Hill Library in 2013, and created the concept for Mysteries of Silver Peak, Guideposts’ newest long-running series, which launched in July of this year. He has worked in Christian publishing for more than twenty years.

 

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8 thoughts on “A Cup of Christmas Cheer: The Inspiration

  1. Jon, Thanks so much for giving us a behind-the-scenes peek at the inspiration for A Cup of Christmas Cheer. You’re right–Christmas stories have a way of sticking with us forever, and I hope readers are equally touched by the stories in this collection.

    Blessings,
    Sarah

  2. Jon, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us. I enjoyed learning how the idea for A Cup of Christmas Cheer came about. Christmas stories that capture the warmth and joy of the season are a real treat. My heart melts all over again each time I watch It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s my hope that the stories in a Cup of Christmas Cheer delight readers now and in the years to come.

  3. Jon, I’m honored to be one of your Christmas Cheer authors and want to thank you for envisioning this series with it’s short stories that fill not only ‘waiting time’ slots, but are perfect for all ages during a quiet interlude before bed time.

    We didn’t watch American TV while growing up, and most of our Christmas specials were of the variety show kind like The Ed Sullivan Show. Good music, but not much of a story. As a babysitter though, I remember watching the early Walton’s Christmas movie and it had made me cry. I didn’t realize it at the time, but as I continued writing, I began to understand how a simple story can touch people’s lives and leave an impact for years to come.

  4. Jon,
    Thanks to my father, the “pawpaw” of “A Bracelet for Christmas,” I am an intractable lover of Christmas. Though it is still October, the memories you very lovingly share reignite the holiday glow created by Daddy so long ago–the kinds of recollections which, if I had my way, would be a part of the memory bank of each child born to the planet. I am grateful and honored to be a part of A Cup of Christmas Cheer and sincerely hope the series will warm hearts for generations to come. Thank you for the vision.

  5. Thank you, Jon for sharing your story with us. I’m so glad your brother read you A Christmas Carol when you were young. I bet he never dreamed the impact it would have on you or the reading industry! God does work in unusual ways. I am so blessed by being a part of such a wonderful collection. Thanks for everything you do!

  6. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories (both here and in A Cup of Christmas Cheer). I’ve had a wonderful time working with each one of you.

  7. How nice it is to hear about the inspiration behind A Cup of Christmas Cheer! Your idea has created an opportunity for these stories to be come classics to future generations, just as the beloved stories of the past have given so many of us cherished memories of reading our favorite Christmas tales and watching them on the screen (black & white are the best). Thank you, Jon for joining us here and allow the contributors to join you in this delightful project!

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