Erin and Ben Napier’s Daughters ‘Know There’s a Reason for the Season’

Photo from Erin Napier’s Instagram

Erin and Ben Napier’s Daughters ‘Know There’s a Reason for the Season’

By Movieguide® Staff

Now that Thanksgiving is over and people across the country prepare for Christmas, HGTV star Erin Napier, who is married to Ben, revealed why the Christmas season holds a special place in their hearts.

“Some people consider my husband, Ben, and me a Christmas couple. I like that,” Erin wrote in an article posted to Guideposts. “Not just because it’s my favorite holiday and Ben is into Christmas year-round. But because our love story is so connected to Christmas—it’s a part of who we are as a couple. The presents, the ornaments, the food, the songs, the scents, the lights and all that our family does to celebrate Jesus’ birth. The magic and joy of the season are a feast for all the senses God has given us.”

Erin said that she first met Ben when she covered him for a feature story while attending Jones County Junior College.

“We were doing a feature story on this guy Ben, a big presence on campus. I had a secret crush on him. At six foot six, always surrounded by friends, he was impossible to miss,” she recalled. “We finally met in early December when he came to the yearbook office to do the interview. Three days later, we got in my blue VW Bug and drove over to Mason Park to look at the Christmas lights. By day six, we knew we were going to get married. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s why we call that week in December ‘love week.’”

Erin’s mother knew Ben was the one for her daughter, too, after making him a special batch of cookies to take home while they spent Christmas apart.

“All too soon, Ben had to leave to be with his family for Christmas. My mom had just tried out the recipe for these chocolate, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies. You don’t bake them—you boil them. Super easy. Ben took one bite and loved them. So she put a huge batch in a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie, and he ate them on his five-hour drive home,” she said. “Every Christmas since, Mama has boiled a batch. ‘Why do you make those awful cookies?’ Daddy will mutter. ‘I can’t stand them.’ ‘They’re not for you,’ Mama says. ‘They’re for Ben.’”

“What would we do without the love of parents, making Christmas happen for their children?” she added.

For Erin’s family, baking, cooking and family recipes were a staple of the holiday season.

“I got the love-to-cook gene from Mammaw, my grandmother on my dad’s side. She was the keeper of our family recipes. She made something we called Mother Goose’s Sunday Rice, a concoction of rice, chicken broth, onions, bell pepper and Velveeta cheese. One of our many favorites,” Erin explained. “But when Mammaw died in May 2020, at the age of 97, we couldn’t find any of those recipes. We helped Daddy sort through her belongings: the crocheted doilies, the Blue Willow dishes, the glass tea pitcher, the dented aluminum biscuit bowl. I took photos of each room, exactly as she had left them, so we would always remember the Christmases and birthdays and Sundays spent around her dinner table and her out-of-tune piano. I found a few cookbooks but not her recipes.”

“Finally it was time to give the last of her things to Goodwill. We were hoisting her dining room console when its door flew open, nearly spilling the contents onto the pavement. Inside were two ceramic canisters, one shaped like a ripe peach, the other like a basket of strawberries,” she added. “They were stuffed to the brim with her hand-written recipes. Peanut brittle, my cousin Jim’s favorite Christmas cake, spaghetti and meatballs, her famous creamy layered dessert called Chocolate Delight. It felt like a wink from heaven, God letting Mammaw give us one final gift that would carry on in us and in our children.”

Later that year, Erin compiled the recipes and gifted it to the family on Christmas morning.

Now, Ben and Erin get to celebrate Christmas with their two daughters, Helen, 4, and one-and-a-half-year-old Mae.

“We want Helen and Mae to know there’s a reason for the season,” she wrote. “On December 1, out comes the Advent calendar. Mama made a beautiful one of fabric. It has a Christmas tree on top with jingle bells, and at the base are 24 small pockets, each holding a tiny ornament. Every night we read a line or two from the Christmas story in the Bible. Then Helen takes out the ornament and hangs it on the fabric tree.”

“Our daughters are catching that Advent feeling of joyful anticipation, counting the days. For our church’s variety show, Helen plans to do a dance from The Nutcracker or sing a carol. ‘Away in a Manger,’ of course!” she added.

While Christians celebrate the freedom they have in Christ year round, Erin explained why December is a special time to focus on truth and beauty as a family.

“The whole month of December should feel different from the rest of the year. It’s when we remember how Christ was born,” she said. “People think it’s crazy that Ben wears a suit, tie and cufflinks every Sunday. But it’s the same thing. He puts on a suit on Sundays because Sundays should feel different. It’s when we worship God.”