Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas is a-coming

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!

Shelley Adina

1 comment:

Emii said...

Ooh, I saw your books the other day! I think I'm going to ask for one for Christmas :D

Our Christmas traditions.. uh, putting up the tree? Haha, we're not the worlds biggeset trationist people, whatever it's called, although we do read the Christmas story in the Bible every year:)