Now we have Thanksgiving bearing down upon us, then Christmas and New Year's and then we pretty much have a month off until the completely concocted (as if they're all not) Valentine's Day.
I'm ambivalent about writing about the holiday season. Please note, many Hollywood movies make use of one holiday or another. You can also check the many romance novels set at Christmas.
So what is it with the holidays that writers are trying to tap into? I just love Christmas to pieces and I'm Jewish. But as Ariel Robbins said in Sweeps/Love After Lunch, it's a secular holiday now. Historically it was a non-holiday. Christ's Mass was the day when all the medieval folk went to church. That was the end of it. It wasn't until the Victorian era when it became a big thing with presents and decorations. The tree business was from Germany and all about the evergreen. Maybe it had something to do with the Solstice, since the days were getting longer and there was renewal in the air. I'm not a maven on this so if I get it all a little wrong, don't send mean emails. There was the whole Kris Kringle thing going on in Northern Europe and it all came to fruition in America.
Now we have these incredible tense days when everything is supposed to go so perfectly and if they don't, people kill themselves over it.
I was lucky to find the trailer for one of my favorite holiday movies, Christmas In Connecticut. I don't know why it's my favorite, I also love White Christmas, but it contains most of the right elements. Connecticut. Snow. Romance. Big Christmas Tree. What it doesn't have, and maybe it did, but was cut, we really need the iconic holiday meal. We schlepped the chef all the way from NYC and there's endless talk about food but we don't see them at the table with the candles lit and the turkey glistening. I needed that and I feel its absence.
When I do Christmas or Thanksgiving, I always write about the dinner. I did it in Just Kate but now that I look back, I think I could have done more. When I was doing the rewrite, I didn't feel the more of it so I tweaked and hat-tipped Christmas in Connecticut, and it was snowing. I expect I did 75% of what I should have done, but the book wasn't structured for that.
Now I'm facing both Thanksgiving and Christmas in my current project.
The best Thanksgiving I ever did was in a book I haven't finished yet. It's really good but it's not snowing. It doesn't usually snow in Connecticut until Dec. but it was cold and it wound up raining. This is the companion book, not so much sequel, to Not Low Maintenance. It was more specific. I think that's better. And a terrific woman is going to let me use one of her marvelous food photographs for the cover, so I suppose I should finish that book Real Soon Now. Like around Christmas when the book ends.