New holiday read: Betsy Ore Glass shares Christmas traditions in recent release, book signing set

Published 7:39 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Merriam-Webster defines tradition as: “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” When it comes to Christmas, Betsy Ore Glass knows a thing or two about traditions and how important it is to integrate traditions into her most favorite time of the year. In her new book, Reflections by the Sea, Christmas Traditions, the author threads together heartfelt holiday stories, devotions, family recipes and a deep gratitude for he is who is the “reason for the season,” Jesus.

“I felt like the one thing that seems to be missing from the heart of families nowadays are the traditions,” the Reflections by the Sea columnist noted in speaking of how the book came to be.

People are busier than ever and the holidays quickly come and go without much fanfare.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

“I think of my grandparents and parents and all the wonderful things they did that gave meaning to our holidays which created beautiful memories. I find that it gives me joy today to emulate those traditions and share them with the younger generation. While the focus is always on the birth of Christ, the things we do in our own family gives us a sense of belonging and familiarity. My husband always read ‘Twas the night Before Christmas’ to our children each year. Now, it is our son’s turn to read it to our grandson, Jack. We keep some of the old traditions each year and we also add to them as our family grows. When our daughter married a man from England, he brought his traditions to our table with Christmas crackers, as did our daughter-in-law with her special cranberries.”

Reflections by the Sea, Christmas Traditions is a vibrant, full-color, glossy-paged paperback that dives into the magic of the holiday season through reflections centered around the traditions that bring us all together year after year. Glass details the captivating story behind her father’s ambrosia salad and the priceless yellow Pyrex bowl it was presented in every Christmas Day in “Daddy’s Ambrosia,” shares the miracle behind one simple fruit cake that eventually brought together hundreds of people in “The Fruitcake Tradition,” shines light on the holiday through a child’s eyes in “Nana’s Christmas Cookies,” and humorously recounts the time she forgot to pick up perhaps the most important cake for their Christmas dinner in “Happy Birthday Jesus.”

All photos shared in this new release are ones that have not been staged or altered, instead they are from her own camera or photograph albums. “I take pride in my flower arrangements, my mantel display, the tree laden with over fifty years of ornaments … I did this for my family because it was done for me. For a brief day, a few weeks maybe, the world and problems we face were set aside. Our family enjoyed one another. Some years were homemade gifts, or maybe none at all when times were lean. But we always gathered around a table together and we still do. Those are the moments we remember,” the author shared. “And I do every Christmas like it was my last.”

Glass harps on the importance of making an extra effort to create cherished memories on days like Christmas, as the impact it has on the ones present is immeasurable. She mused: “I wonder what the next generation will take with them? What traditions will they carry on and which ones they will discard? But big or small, little gestures or grand moments, these memories will land in someone’s heart and linger for many years.”

The writer shared that her inspiration behind Christmas Traditions is to keep traditions alive, never lose touch of what was meaningful and carry that meaning forward. “I was thinking that in a world where values are fading, this is the perfect time for me to pull all my writing together and share the heart of my family with the reader. It is about God, Jesus and family and what you make of it. This book is a love letter to those who have tried so hard to give us meaning at Christmas through their traditions and actions and what they did. I hope when people do read it they will feel encouraged to find or recall traditions in their own family.”

Her advice to us is this: “Whatever you do, do it in love. It will carry on.”

Glass will be at Downtown Books on Friday, November 25 for a meet-and-greet from noon to 4 p.m. She will be signing copies of her new book, her Reflections by the Sea book and will also have 2023 calendars available for purchase with her own wave artwork coloring the pages. Guests can enjoy candy canes while picking up a copy of Reflections by the Sea, Christmas Traditions. To learn more, visit