Every year I make myself the main character in my own holiday short story. The plucky heroine (me) shops, decorates, and cooks well in advance of the big day. She wears perfect Christmas outfits that don’t make her look matronly or senile. And she graces everyone with a serene smile almost as sparkling as the champagne this gentle hostess keeps on ice and serves in crystal glasses.
Then, as with all well-rounded characters, my protagonist (me) runs into obstacles that test her resolve and threaten her sanity.
Last year, the conflict came in the form of a December moving day. Two days after Christmas, the indomitable heroine packed up her tabletop tree decorated with less than a tenth of her much-loved ornaments and left the home she’d lived in for thirty-six years. Cue the heartwarming flashbacks.
Flash forward to the 2022 story, set in a new house with an additional character, a brand-new grandson, who joins four delightful cousins. Our protagonist’s third book (Trust Issues) hits the shelves, and a Christmas launch party is planned. Joy abounds.
There’s a little foreshadowing when the heroine comes down with the flu and misses Thanksgiving dinner. But her case is mild, and she soldiers on.
Enter the antagonist, CoVid. Both heroine and husband are stricken two days before the book launch. The party is canceled as are other much anticipated holiday gatherings. Gloom descends along with an unhealthy dose of whining and a splash of self-pity.
But this is a Christmas story, and our heroine is very plucky indeed. She pulls herself together, hits the packed stores, plans menus, wraps gifts, and drinks spiked eggnog. Most important, she discovers what really matters. Family, friends, fellow writers, readers, and staying focused on the positive.
Remember, you’re the author of your own holiday story. Make it a happy one!