My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Writing About: Christmas



Christmas is a fun, festive holiday. I read Christmas stories during any time of the year to enjoy this holiday again and again. Everything about it is warm and uplifting. And there are so many ways that you can include Christmas in a novel or spin a full-out Christmas story.

Here are a few things you can add to your story:

1. Decorations

People go all-out, even getting into competitions with neighbors. Outdoor lights on the roof, nativity sets on the lawn, and blow-up lawn decorations are all the rave. And that’s just outside. Inside there can be nutcrackers, garland along banisters, miniature villages complete with people, cars, and even fake snow. Then there’s the Christmas tree. Trimming it if it’s real or taking it out of the box if it’s fake. Putting lights, bows, ornaments, tinsel on every branch, and a star or angel at the very top.

Take a moment to describe the pretty decorations of your character’s house, mention a friendly competition among neighbors, and the craziness of decorating a tree. A tree that cats can climb into, dogs can knock over, and children can decorate with homemade ornaments made of Popsicle sticks.

Image from Pixabay

2. Goodies

Christmas is one of our most fattening holidays. There’s pies, cakes, cookies (dozens and dozens of different kinds), chocolates, candy canes, fruit cake, fudge, and hot chocolate. Mention a few of these goodies during your fictional festivities. And if your character is a woman who worries about her weight, have her fret about the calories…as she stuffs fudge into her mouth.

3. Santa

There can’t be a Christmas story without Santa! Especially if there are children. Have your character bring his/her kids to see Santa at the mall and write Santa letters. The children can ask questions about Santa and his reindeer, as we all know kids are naturally curious. You can even let the parents use little threats like “If you’re not good, I’ll tell Santa.”

Image from Pixabay

4. Christmas Shopping

Everyone does Christmas shopping (if they celebrate Christmas). Show how packed the stores are whenever your character goes shopping, and how short-tempered everyone is as they elbow in to get the last toy. Have your character fret over what to get for their partner or new boy/girlfriend. In Seismic Crimes, I share a brief Christmas shopping moment.

5. Fun

There is so much fun that people can do during Christmas: picking out a Christmas tree, baking, ice skating, sledding, building a snowman, snow ball fights, Christmas parties, parades, pageants, ballets, tree lighting ceremonies, candlelight church services, and so much more. Add one or two of these to your story.

Image from Pixabay

6. Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, have the kids in your story put out a plate of cookies for Santa with a glass of milk. I used to put out a carrot for Rudolph. Growing up, my family also opened presents on Christmas Eve. If there aren’t kids in your story, you can have your main character go to a Christmas party and meet someone, or do a gift exchange with his/her new boy/girlfriend. This can be a cozy scene any way that you write it.

7. Christmas Day

If there are kids, have them wake up extra early excited to see what Santa brought. If your character doesn’t have kids, this could be a nice morning for them to cuddle before they head off to see family. Or if your character is single, he/she can throw him/herself a pity party before visiting mom and dad. (Note: This last one is not me stereotyping...it's just an example. You can do whatever you want.)


The possibilities are endless. It can be light and fun, sad (if this is the first Christmas after someone’s death), filled with family drama, or dark if you’re writing a murder mystery. Think dead bodies under Christmas trees with bows stuck to their foreheads.

Does anyone remember The Christmas Toy?
It was a movie. Kermit the Frog appears in the beginning
and at the end. There's also Mew, a cat's toy mouse, and Meteora,
Queen of the Asteroids. 

QUESTIONS: What do you like/dislike about Christmas? Does your family open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Share a Christmas memory with me.


SHARE: I don’t know much about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, share some highlights of these holidays in your comment. I welcome it all. :)


50 comments:

  1. I've never included Christmas in a story before, but it definitely makes for a fun backdrop. Having sinister goings-on in such a jolly time would be interesting. It's always been Christmas Day for presents for me - we let the kids open them when they wake up, but when I was growing up it was after Christmas lunch - which could end around five or six o'clock! Some kind of torture!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christmas lunch ending around 5 or 6 o'clock? That's along time to wait for presents. I'd be too impatient. ;)

      Delete
  2. Christmas used to be a great time of year when my husband was still here and the kids at home.
    This will be the 4th Christmas on my own so to me apart from the Christmas programmes on the TV it will be like any other day.
    But I shall be happy in my own kind of way.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you'll be alone. My Christmas Days are a lot like normal days, too.

      Delete
  3. Funny, I don't remember The Christmas Toy.
    There are also church events, such as candlelight services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot about candlelight services. I added that to the list of fun events.

      Delete
  4. One thing I love about Christmas is giving and receiving presents, especially books or gift cards to bookstores. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to do the same, but I don't know many people who are readers among my family and close friends. Just two. :\

      Delete
  5. We don't decorate for Christmas, but I love looking at other people's decorations. It would be fun to write a story with Christmas themes woven into it, especially all of the yummy treats that there are to eat. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be writing a Christmas story next, and I can't wait. :D

      Delete
  6. So many variants that suggest Christmas and you've covered them well. My family has always opened presents on Christmas morning. Christmases at my mother's house were always the best. Always lots of family in her big house which was always decorated so festively. Sadly those days will be no more, but we will establish new traditions which will likely involve more moving around to different locales.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With my family, Christmas Eve was the time to open family presents, and Christmas Day was for Santa and our stockings. :) My family is starting to do the same, starting this year. We'll also be moving around to different locales and houses to celebrate.

      Delete
  7. We were allowed to open one gift of our choosing on Christmas Eve, then the rest were opened on Christmas Day. We'd also do a Christmas Eve service at church. The midnight candlelight service was always my favorite. Oh, and I would always exchange characters from my mother's Christmas village with the nativity scene.

    But since I moved, I don't really do anything anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chancing characters from a Christmas village with the nativity scene it cute. :)

      Delete
  8. Hi Chrys - we've evolved our Christmas time ... and with my mother working over Christmas - meant we mixed and matched - and we usually had just smoked salmon and champers - way too much turkey et al while we served 40 others for lunch ...

    Presents as kids - we had our stocking which kept us amused for the early morning and we must have done presents before lunch - listening to the Queen, and lunch at some stage ... now we do a formal dinner ... following my SIL's traditions ... and Church at some stage ... midnight mass, or Christmas morning ... and with fish pie on Christmas Eve ... I even had a full Turkey Christmas dinner in South Africa!! ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually make salmon for Christmas, too. Your Christmases sounded lovely.

      Delete
  9. We open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The married children come home on the day before and everyone gets together. Then on the day, the ones who live at home open gifts. Christmas Eve is my favorite family day all year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what I do now with my family. :)

      Delete
  10. Christmas is not a happy time for all. Some might want to consider stories from the perspective of someone who hates the holiday or is overly saddened by it. It can be very hard for those who have lost loved ones. Or if the loved ones were lost around this time, the whole holiday might remind someone of bad times.

    I'm not particularly fond of this time of year. I'll try to hide it better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point. I'm now actually someone who is overly sad during this time of the year, so I understand this.

      Delete
  11. Nailed many of them indeed. I'm not sure I ever used christmas much, in a kids book but that was it I think.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I haven't celebrated Christmas as my holiday since I was eighteen, but I enjoy writing Christmas scenes and chapters in my books. I particularly enjoy all the customs and food associated with Russian Orthodox Christmas (celebrated on 7 January). I've also recently written about some German Catholic Christmas food and customs.

    I was looking up traditional Italian Chanukah foods recently, for a chapter called "Chanukah Italian-Style," and would love to be able to make some of them this year. They include pasta latkes, mashed potato latkes, deep-fried dough fritters packed with currants, and potato dumplings with sheep cheese. One year, I made latkes with wild rice, feta, and mushrooms, though I left out the onions in that recipe. My Hebrew birthday is the fifth night of Chanukah, so I've sometimes been able to go to a Chanukah party on that night and enjoy twice the celebration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those goods sound good. I'd gobble them up.

      Delete
  13. I love Christmas and agree with this statement from Miracle on 34th Street, "Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind". My mom, being German, knew how to make Christmas truly special. She would make the Advent wreath and hang it from the ceiling. Every Sunday a candle was lit to show the way to Christmas Eve. She would have beautiful Christmas music on from Germany and from this country and my dad, who loved Christmas, would ask when he could play Christmas music( not until the first of Advent). We have the Harry Simone Chorale and my favourite from that re old is O Bambino. we played Ivan Rebroff( not sure on the spelling) and Christmas was not right until we played the Bonanza Christmas album. My mom made a beautiful nativity scene with the nativity in the middle with wood carvings from the Alps and a village on one side and a church on the other side. Finally the tree would go up. The tree was decorated the way her mom did and her mom before her....lights, ornaments and then the tinsel. The tinsel, made from lead was mixed with the tinsel from here because it gave more bling. Later, when we had a cathedral ceiling, we had a 12 foot tree in the middle of the large room with the Sdvent wreath hanging down and angels flying nearby. The nativity was over the fireplace...it was picture perfect. Cookies were hand made and we had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve which was a turkey often but later on, Roladen with red cabbage and mashed potatoes. We thenwent to sit by the tree, playing the beautiful music and we would start to unwrap the gifts while we all had a nice liquer. We were trained when we were young to never rip the paper and to keep the nice paper and bows. We had a box for bows, a box for paper and a garbage bag for the small stuff. If it snowed, it was perfect. I still make the Advent wreath as my mo taught me and her mom taught her. I decorate the tree as many generations have done and I still play the same Christmas music. I have a nativity scene and a village plus garlands and so much more. I owe this all to my mom and I plan to bring her homemade Christmas cookies to her...my almond crescents, German cookies and shortbread. I have been going through a rough patch and last Thursday night our one cat, Mia suddenly died. On the weekend my cousin came so he could visit his aunt, my mom and he said that the life in her eyes is no longer there. I am a bit sad but I always will decorate this way until I pass. My niece has no inclination to keep up the tradition and I have no kids but I will enjoy every moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for telling me about your Christmases and traditions. My mom has told me about the tinsel she used when she was little and how it was so much better than the "crap" they make now. Hahaha! My family is German, so we also make German cookies. :)

      Delete
  14. Awesome post about Christmas and the way to write about it. I'm on a Christmas reading frenzy of all holiday books at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Writing about Christmas would be fun! This makes me want to write a Christmas story :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. We open presents on Christmas Day, and we really drag it out. We wrap all the little gifts in the stockings and open them one at a time. And then I get to do it all over again with my boyfriend and the kitties.

    I love Christmas. I wish some of that magic (but not the excessive spending and eating) could last all winter long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like fun. :D

      It would be nice if that magic could be extended.

      Delete
  17. Christmas hay rides are fun. There is a place here in NC called Mike's Farm and it offers a hayride through fields and forest with tons of decorations. It's out in the middle of nowhere but worth the trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard of Christmas hay rides. That sounds like fun!

      Delete
  18. I love the Christmas season. Now it's quiet for me, but the memories are still with me. Decorating the tree with the boys and later the grandchildren. Waiting for Santa's visit. Making cookies with the kids. The cat climbing the tree. Those were the days. I put up my ceramic trees this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Christmases are pretty quite, too, but the memories we have are the best.

      Delete
  19. I love all the Christmas lights. Can never have enough. :-) We don't do a lot of presents amongst the family, but Mr Wonderful always makes sure I have some gifts under the tree. The family that's near the Gulf Coast gets together and we have an annual Wii bowling tournament with a trophy (a beer pitcher with your name added to it) as a prize. LOL
    sherry @ fundinmental

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't do many presents among the family either. This year, my siblings and their spouses are doing Secret Santa.

      A Wii bowling tournament sounds like a blast! I hope you win this year. ;)

      Delete
  20. I love everything about Christmas! All the things you mentioned and more - like the scent of peppermint bark and a freshly cut tree. Cinnamon rolls baking as gifts are handed out at early morning light, while holiday music plays softly in the background. We were allowed to open one gift on Christmas eve, the rest was saved for the next morning before everyone gathered for a huge midday meal. Now that the kids have grown we enjoy the night before with cheers and a lot less fuss, as it is also our wedding anniversary ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve? That would be wonderful and festive. :) I probably won't be able to say it later...so Happy Anniversary! And Merry Christmas!

      Delete
    2. Bless your heart - thank you! Merry Christmas, lady Chrys:-)

      Delete
  21. One of my WIP's begins pre Christmas and includes shopping but then tragedy strikes. Icy roads and driving in winter conditions can be hazardous. I was going more for the winter season but I will now consider adding more about coping with Christmas when things don't turn out as planned. I mostly still enjoy the season even though my kids are grown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coping with Christmas would be tough when tragedy strikes. I do think you should include that in your story. It's important. Many people deal with sadness and hardship during this time of the year.

      Delete
  22. I really like the traditions I had growing up. I try to keep up with some of them, but I don't keep them all up. I always enjoy getting together with family and friends during the holidays and enjoying the decorations and atmosphere. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The decorations and atmosphere are great. I enjoy it, too. :)

      Delete
  23. I only really like the decorating part of Christmas. The rest is exhausting.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What's up with the stereotyping? Why did the single example have to be of a lonely person on Christmas? Wag of the finger Chrys. Singles like me can have fun in many ways without having to drag ourselves to family gatherings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't mean for that to be a stereotype. It was an example. Another one I shared for single people was this: "you can have your main character go to a Christmas party and meet someone." I'm also single. ;)

      Delete

Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

Popular Posts!

Join!

Follow!