“A Bloom in Winter” by Anne Mateer

Hey ya’ll! I’m so excited to have a contemporary short story in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Volume Four: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Present. It’s a departure from my usual historical offerings, but it is fun to shake things up once in a while. Besides, I adore Christmas stories, no matter the time or place. I hope you do, too!

The setting:
“A Bloom in Winter” takes place in a central Pennsylvania college town, very much modeled on State College, the home of Penn State University, in present day.

File photo by Steve Bauer/StateCollege.com

File photo by Steve Bauer/StateCollege.com

The story:
Alicia, widow of a long-time professor, decides to open her empty home to a boarder, a grad student needing cheap rent. Maggie has never needed anyone, she only needs to finish her degree–but a place to live and food to eat both require funds she doesn’t have. An accident and a nativity scene show them how much they need each other.

The inspiration:
This story is born out of characters and a situation that have lived in my head for several years. When I started to consider a Ghana nativityChristmas scene in their story, my thoughts immediately turned to a nativity set I keep on display all year long. It was made in Ghana, West Africa, and brought home to me by my daughter. It is a special reminder of God’s grace and God’s love–a perfect inspiration for Maggie and Alicia.

The takeaway:
Like so many of my stories, “A Bloom in Winter” showcases family relationships interwoven with spiritual self-discovery, which so very often happens as we gather to celebrate the Christmas season. I pray readers will see themselves in the characters and either be encouraged or convicted about how they are navigating their relationships and seeing God’s hand in unusual situations.

Christmas traditions:
There are a couple of Christmas traditions that have been fun for our family. From the time our kids were born until they were all in their upper teens, they each got to open one present on Christmas eve–and it was always new pjs for Christmas morning. Another of our traditions began when my husband and I got married. Whenever we go on a trip, we buy a Christmas ornament. Now when we decorate our tree we also get to reminisce about good times we’ve spent together as a couple or a family.

Your turn:
What is your most meaningful Christmas decoration or ornament and why?

My giveaway!

I’m offering a red and white snowflake ceramic travel mug to one lucky winner!

snowflake ceramic travel mug

Click this link to be taken to the Rafflecopter drawing.
Once there, follow the directions to enter.

Congratulations to Rita N, winner of the drawing!

For your protection, do not include personal information in a comment.

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Check out the Giveaways page on our site to learn about our Goodreads giveaway.
We’re offering five sets of A Cup of Christmas Cheer Volumes Three and Four.

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Anne MateerThe storyteller:
Anne Mateer has a passion for bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of four historical novels as well as the contemporary “A Bloom in Winter” in A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Her novel At Every Turn was a 2013 Carol Award finalist. Anne and her husband live in the Dallas area and have three young adult children. Find out more about Anne and her books at www.annemateer.com.

Click here to see my Pinterest Board for “A Bloom in Winter.”



22 thoughts on ““A Bloom in Winter” by Anne Mateer

  1. Your story sounds wonderful, Anne! I look forward to reading it.

    My favorite Christmas decorations are those Gwynly and I bought in Germany: nutcrackers, angels, a candle arch and more, all handmade by German artisans. We lived in Germany for a number of years, adding a few items along. Subsequent trips to visit treasured friends we’d made during our time there yielded a few more decorations. While I love them all, my favorite pieces are the two carvings of the Holy Family we bought in the town of Oberammergau in Bavaria, where the Passion Play takes place. We purchased them directly from the talented woodcarver who created them. The Joseph figure stands behind the seated Mary, who has Baby Jesus cradled in her arms. I love the expression on Joseph’s face. The woodcarver captured the tenderness I believe Joseph experienced when he beheld this miraculous baby–his son and his Savior.

    • Very cool, Keli! And especially so since I am currently reading Cathy Gohlke’s Saving Amelie, part of which is set in Oberammergau and involves the passion play and a wood-carver of nativities!

  2. Whenever I would have a new baby my mother in law would always give me a handmade wooden handpainted sled ornament with the baby’s name on it. When that company went out of business she started giving me hand engraved gold plated sled ornaments with the baby’s name on it. Being that I have 12 children with the youngest at 3 years old we have alot of sleds on our tree. Each child is so tickled to see their sled each year.

  3. My favorite Christmas ornaments are simple little handprints or pictures that my children or grandchildren have made.

    • Yes, those are so special! I still love putting those pre-school ornaments on our tree even though our children are young adults now!

  4. Anne, I got a sneak peek at your story and loved it! And what a neat idea to collect ornaments from your travels. I might just steal that idea. 🙂 A couple years ago, I brought back ornaments from my agency retreat in Monterrey, California, and gave them to the kids. Both ornaments have animals on them — an otter and a dolphin — since our family loves to explore different zoos.

    • Steal away! It is so fun to shop for those ornaments and them pull them all out at Christmas time. It always reminds me that while we often feel in a rut in our daily lives the Lord has indeed blessed us with so many fun experiences outside of our “norm.”

  5. Even though I haven’t set up a tree for years (destructo kitties) my favorite ornaments were the ones that my Auntie Ruth gave me. She was not my real aunt, but the lady who connived to bring Mom and Daddy together as their families were mutual friends with her and hubby Fred. She started off my ornament collection and continued for a number of years after that. She is why my middle name is Ruth. =)

  6. Hello Anne! I look forward to reading “A Bloom in Winter”. My favorite Christmas decoration is my nativity set by Roman, Inc. I was given a piece each Christmas until is was complete. It’s very beautiful. Thank you for the giveaway. Blessings 🙂

  7. anne…I didn’t know you were writing a Christmas novella…would love to read it. thanks for the chance 🙂

  8. Hey Anne,

    We had the same traditions as a child of getting to open one gift and it was pjs to wear so we had nice pjs for morning pictures. Thanks for sharing. It was nice to learn a little more about you!

  9. Anne, this looks like a wonderful Christmas story. I look forward to reading it. We have a couple of traditions. When decorating the tree everyone hands an ornament and tells a special memory of a family member who is spending Christmas with Jesus. We also open our pajama presents.

    • I love the idea of remembrance with the ornaments! What a special way to include your loved ones who have gone before in your holiday!

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