12 Pearls of Christmas Day 5 ~ With Deborah Raney

Welcome to
the 12 Pearls of

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's
(Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and
more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt
stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

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The Snowflake Party 

By Deborah Raney

The first snow of winter hasn’t fallen yet, but in our kitchen tonight we’re doing a pretty
good imitation. The whole family is circled around the huge old oak table. The snip, snip,
snip of scissors is background music as tiny scraps of white paper float down, making our
floor look like a giant brownie sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Tonight has turned out to be the night for our annual Snowflake Party, a tradition that
began when our children were toddlers. There has never been a date blocked out in red
on our calendar, but one day we wake up and the brisk autumn air has turned bitter cold.
Naked tree branches trace their stark calligraphy on a dull grey sky and we need a taste of
the joyful promises of Christmas and snow. It’s the perfect time for a party.

On such a day, one of the kids will fly in the back door, fresh home from school, and
declare “Hey, Mom! Tonight would be a good night for the Snowflake Party!” First we
round up every pair of scissors in the house. This is one time when sharing is not a virtue.
While the kids search for scissors, I cut white paper into squares and fold them caddy-
corner multiple times. The resulting triangles are artfully arranged in a basket, awaiting
the beginning of the party.

Later, while the supper dishes dry on the counter, I recruit a volunteer to help me stir up
a big pot of hot cocoa. For the next hour it will warm on the back burner, tantalizing us
with its aroma.

Now the fun begins with careful cutting and snipping, shaping plain white paper into
intricate works of art. Each snowflake we create seems as unique and spectacular as the
genuine variety created by God himself. As each masterpiece is unfolded, collective oohs
and aahs go up.

When the last dregs of our creative juices are drained, Dad oversees the vacuum
patrol while I pour cocoa into generous mugs. We spread our handiwork on the floor
around us and sit, quietly admiring our work while we dunk marshmallows and sip rich

With empty mugs piled up in the sink, it’s time for the judging to begin. There will
be awards for ‘prettiest’, ‘most unusual’, and as many other categories as we need for
everyone to be a winner. Dad is the judge because he studied art in college. He also
usually wins one of the top prizes––because he studied art in college.

Snowflakes deemed runners-up might be pasted in scrapbooks or hung on the
refrigerator. A few even “melt” into the trash that very night. But the winners are taped
proudly to the picture windows in the living room for passersby to enjoy while they long
for the day when genuine snowflakes will color the world clean and white.

Our oldest daughter went away to college last September. She called just after
Thanksgiving to tell me that her dorm window was covered with snowflakes. No, not the
real thing, but the ones she remembers from her childhood––paper ones that she spent an
entire evening cutting and snipping while sipping hot cocoa.

That’s the neat thing about traditions: They go with us no matter how far from
home we travel.

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA
Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award,
Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. After All, third in her
Hanover Falls Novels series will release next spring from Howard/Simon &
Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. Their
four children are grown now and having snowflake parties with their own children–
–and they all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the web at

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