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These pics are a few of our favorite ornaments painted by Elizabeth Lueck at Have A Ball.

Merry Christmas to my camp family!! I hope all of you are enjoying this Christmas season.

Like y’all, my family has lots of Christmas traditions and lots of funny stories that have happened through the years. I have had the wonderful opportunity to ask some of your campers what traditions they love the most and what has been their most memorable Christmas’. Don’t worry!!! I am not going to share those in this blog.

One of our favorite traditions in the Johnson house is the ornaments we give our children each Christmas. One of my very good friends, Elizabeth Lueck, paints ornaments for a living. We actually met when she would drop her daughters off for camp many years ago. We became fast friends and I am truly blessed to have her in my life. Anyway, she paints ornaments for my children (and now grandchildren) each year. Each ornament has something to do with that particular year, an experience, accomplishment or just something funny. Abby has had basketball, cheerleading, her family, etc. on hers and Luke has had lacrosse, tractors and hunting, etc. on his. This is the only present that is opened before Christmas day for us. I didn’t know how much they looked forward to this until I didn’t do it one year.

The story goes like this:

“It was a dark and lonely time”……..just kidding!!! However, that’s probably how they would start this story but that is not at all how it goes. Larry and I brought them ornaments from a Cirque du Soleil show we had been to. We thought this was a great idea since Larry had been in the FSU Circus. We couldn’t have been more wrong!! When they opened the gift they both were dumbfounded. Not a word, not a smile. After the shock wore off the only questions that were asked were, “what is this? and where is our Mrs. Lueck ornament?” Then the tears came. Like I said, I didn’t realize how much those ornaments meant to them and how special they had become to our Christmas traditions. For those of you wondering, no, I didn’t call Elizabeth and ask for a rush painting and delivery, however I did crumble to the guilt I felt and they received two each the next year. Yes, one of the two was for the previous year.

Another favorite for us is baking. I’m sure all of you have something that is baked during this season that is a tradition. Ours is Christmas cookies (I’ve attached the recipe below). I usually double the recipe. I do this for two reasons. One, my family likes to eat as much of the dough as possible behind my back and Two, once the cookies come out, Larry and my brother Patrick put 2 inches of icing one them. They like a little cookie with their icing. If you decide to make them, my suggestion is to double the recipe.

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I love Christmas and everything it stands for! What a special time we get to have each year.

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas that is filled with peace, joy and an abundance of love.


Christmas Cookie Recipe


  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2-1/2 cupself rising flour

Cream butter and shortening Add all wet ingridents and mix. Add dry ingredients until dough is sticky and can be rolled. Roll & cut. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 box confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk

Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Use the paste food coloring. Frosts 3 dozen cookies.