The Noel Shuffle is a holiday family challenge which stemmed from the author herself, and brings out the playful dynamics of the holiday spirit.
Growing up in the quaint town of Elizabethton, Tennessee, author, Jane E. Rogers, often found herself doing craft projects with the help of her creative mother, Patsy. Fast forward time and Jane was now a mother herself. Jane and her mother were hard at work with their scissors, paint, and glue guns as they began to mold that year’s Christmas project into perfection. What started out as elves, eventually turned into festive wooden block Gingerbread people, which spelled out “Noel.”
These decorative blocks were thought to be just another ordinary holiday decoration to bring seasonal flare to Jane’s family room; that is until… One day, Jane, noticed the Gingerbread characters that read, “Noel” had been changed to, “Leon.” Paying little attention to it, Jane simply rearranged the letters to again read, Noel. Not much time had passed before she crossed paths with the gingerbread characters that once more read, “Leon.”
This time, she knew something was up and looked at her 7 year old son, Josh, who was standing by with a mischievous smile on his face. The gingerbread blocks continually see-sawed from Noel to Leon and suddenly a Christmas tradition gained traction.
As the family grew, so did the tradition, it was an understanding that come Christmas time, you were either Team Noel or Team Leon in the author’s household. As family and friends came and went during the holiday season, they would often ask why these holiday decorations might have read, “Leon?” After a brief explanation, they found themselves amused and joining a side to play along. All this fun would result in guests asking how they could obtain a set of gingerbread people for their own home. Jane crafted and gave away many gingerbread decorative sets over the past 20 years. In 2013, Jane felt compelled to share their family’s holiday challenge by writing a children’s book that brings the gingerbread characters to life and teaches wholesome family values along the way.
After investing countless hours, Jane’s prayers were answered and her hard work paid off. Jane was given the opportunity to manufacture the gingerbread people into plush characters and publish her children's story book. Illustrator, Scott Oatman took Jane’s vision and sketched it onto the pages just as crafty as the projects Jane had once designed with her mother. This whimsical package set, containing 4 plush gingerbread people and book entitled NOEL SHUFFLE made it's debut at the 2016 New York Toy Fair. Jane is so excited to finally share her book and holiday challenge with the world.
Currently, Jane lives in Wilmington, NC with her husband Ray and younger children Mia and Chase. Jane’s best friend and creative Mother Patsy, is in heaven now crafting with the angels. Jane’s son Josh and his wife, Katie, live in North Augusta, SC and are currently raising their first child; a baby girl named Natalie. Jane (aka, Gammy), Josh and wife Katie are all looking forward to the day that Natalie can spell so Josh can embark on a game of Noel Shuffle with his own daughter.