And we won't even talk about who's getting fat. Hint: It ain't the goose!
I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who groan when the stores break out the holiday decorations on, like, the day after Hallowe'en. I look the other way at the frosted Christmas trees, and flinch at the sight of people stringing lights on their houses on Thanksgiving weekend. My husband calls me a grinch. I prefer the term "non-commercialist." But then, last year, while I was writing my All About Us series, it just so happened that I wanted to do a Christmas story, and oops, the publishing schedule dictated that it would come out in September--a full month before those department stores put up their decorations!
Hoist with my own petard, I was. So I had to embrace my inner elf and just run with it. But I have to confess, researching Scottish Christmas traditions (this book is set in the character's Scottish castle) kind of put me in the spirit. I put out the word on Facebook that I needed some information about Scottish Christmas and New Year's traditions. A girl from Scotland replied and told me just the kind of details that I could wrap seamlessly into my story. Like what? you ask. Like these:
- At three o'clock on Christmas Day, the Queen's speech on TV is an institution. So I worked it so that my heroine is hurrying to get something done before three, and makes a mistake that pivots the plot in a dangerous direction.
- Families often go to the local pub to celebrate and dance on Christmas Eve, after the carol service. So of course I made up a pub and set a scene there.
- Midnight on New Year's Eve is called "the bells," so I made sure I referred to it that way. And I had people come to the door of the castle "first-footing," because it's good luck to bring a gift to someone's house first thing on New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, back in the States, under all the tinsel and the piped-in Christmas carols lies what it's really all about: family, close friends, hospitality, and--let's not forget--the birth of the baby that started it all. So, while we're on the subject, what are the Christmas traditions at your house? Put up a comfy chair, have a glass of eggnog, and let's talk!