Lovina and Family Gather for Christmas and Ring in the New Year

A brand-new year is before us. What does 2024 hold in store? A new year always feels like a new beginning. A time to try harder to break bad habits, a time to start fresh. Most importantly, to spend more time reading God’s words every day and remembering those less fortunate in life. We have so many blessings that far out number the struggles we face. God is good!

On Sunday we hosted our annual Christmas for my family here in Michigan with sisters Verena and Emma and her family. Along with our family, the total is 42 people. Babies Byron (Dustin and Loretta), 5 months, and Ervin Jr. (Ervin and Susan), 7 weeks, of course didn’t need a place setting at the table. Jazlyn (niece Emma and Menno), 1 year old, sat in the highchair. We set the table for 39 people. We put six tables (six-foot rectangular folding tables) together to seat everyone. We had a Haystack Breakfast brunch.

Everyone brought something for the haystack, such as biscuits, hash browns, scrambled eggs, chopped bacon, ham, smokies, sausage gravy, cheese sauce, green peppers, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes, and salsa. Along with cinnamon rolls for dessert, it made a great meal. Drinks were chocolate milk, orange juice, grapefruit juice, apple juice, V-8 juice, and coffee. Everyone brought the hot food heated up already and in insulated bags so we could start eating right away once everyone was here. It doesn’t take long to have a big haystack of food on your plate if you try a little of everything. It makes a delicious meal.

After everyone was done eating, we put all the leftovers in a roaster to make a casserole so nothing got wasted. After brunch we all exchanged gifts, and everyone found out who had their name. Then I had set up some games for everyone to play to win small gifts from Joe and me. It’s usually fun for everyone.

Joe put a turkey on the grill and it was ready by afternoon to have with snack time. Everyone helped with bringing snacks in the afternoon. There was a nice variety of snacks. Lots of different games were played. We hosted everything in our pole barn, which is where we also held our family Christmas on Christmas Day. On December 24 we hosted church in there as well, plus the annual church potluck. I am guessing we had around two hundred people here for church and potluck. We had eight casseroles, seven big salads, 250 ham sandwiches that we made, lots of desserts, and coffee and tea. After everyone ate we sang Christmas songs. What a nice time of fellowship with the church family.

On New Year’s Eve, everyone stayed until midnight except niece Elizabeth and Manuel. The children were excited that they were able to stay up until midnight and go outside and yell “Happy New Year!” Some left after midnight for home and some stayed for the night. We made room for everyone to sleep. The next morning, I heated up the Haystack casserole for everyone to eat breakfast before heading home.

This morning my husband Joe went back to work after a week off from the factory. He enjoys his time off but was glad to go make money again since the bills don’t get paid without working. I want to thank my daughters for filling in over the holidays and church services we hosted. They did a great job! I’ll sign off wishing everyone God’s blessings and a prosperous new year 2024.


Cabbage Cheddar Chowder
1 pound ground beef
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper
1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup water
3 cups milk
3/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fry ground beef and drain. Add celery, onion, and green pepper. Fry a little longer. Stir in cabbage and water. Cover and cook over low heat till cabbage is tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in milk, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

6 thoughts on “Lovina and Family Gather for Christmas and Ring in the New Year”

  1. I really love reading your posts. It seems as though we are sitting down for a cup of coffee and a wonderful chat!

  2. What a wonderful “letter”! I love reading about the family gatherings…that is what life is all about! How I envy your large family and all the love that is spread around…don’t ever take that for granted!

    Sending you my prayers and abundant blessings as we get prepared for another year. How fortunate we are truly are to have Christ in our lives…and in our family!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your life and family with us. It’s always one of the first things I read when I open my email. I also enjoy your many recipes.
    Thanks again and God’s blessings to you and your family.

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