The best part of the season is the time spent at home creating memories…it’s what these authors share.
Greg’s Family Christmas Tree
This is actually very embarrassing for me to admit but in the nature of the season and full disclosure I’ll come clean and reveal a bit about growing up in a completely dysfunctional family and one of the incredibly odd Christmas traditions we used to follow.
One cold night before Christmas, it could be a few days before or even a couple weeks, there was never any real rhyme or reason to the date, my dad would grab some rope, change into some old clothes and I’d join him in his ancient commuter car. After receiving some encouraging last words from my mother and brother, the two of us would set off into the darkness heading into town.
We’d drive the back streets throughout the town, looking for signs, patrolling empty parking lots, searching, hunting, the anticipation building.
At one point my dad would spot something and quietly ask, “Is that one over there?”
I’d look into the darkness, straining to see any movement, any dark tall forms. “Nah, that’s nothing. Want to try behind the church?”
“Might as well.”
The church was always hit or miss.Sometimes we’d get lucky. More often than not it was just another dark parking lot.
Eventually we’d be slowly driving down some quiet unexplored road, the car moving slowing, both of us growing tired, the car’s worn shocks gently rocking us like we were sailing across some great sea, when one of us would spot something and exclaim, “Look, over there!”
Two men, sometimes more would be huddled around a fire burning in a steel drum, cold hands extended over the flames, finding warmth in this primitive manner.
My dad would glance my way. “You remembered the rope, right?”
I’d spit out, “Of course.” Like I was replying to the world’s most idiotic question.
He’d accelerate the car, the excitement overtaking us. We’d cruise across the last parking lot, or last field, wherever it was that we’d finally found our prey.
My dad would pull the car as close as possible. Sometimes the men would look up in alarm and then we’d know we’d driven a little too close, but generally we managed to not draw too much attention to ourselves.
When we got out of the car, my dad would always mutter, “Let me do the talking.”
We’d approach the men. My dad would smile and extend his hand, negotiate and usually compromise before making a final decision.
Later we’d triumphantly tie our trophy to the roof of our car and parade it through the dark streets, back to our house, forcefully hauling it inside and standing it in the corner of the living room where my family would gather around and watch it slowly die over the next couple of weeks.
Greg Logsted (Alibi Junior High, Sisters 8 series)
Tish’s Milk Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Using the shortbread recipe of your choice, you mash in so many milk chocolate chips that the cookies start to fall apart. Bake, sprinkle with icing sugar, and eat nothing else until they’re gone.
Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA, The Truth About Delilah Blue coming June 8, 2010)
Sarah’s Holiday Recipe
I don’t worry about recipes! I make a few simple things, buy a Honey Baked turkey, pick up some prepared sides from Whole Foods, and then relax and enjoy my family. I try to keep the day as stress-free as possible, and remind myself it isn’t about perfection – even though Martha Stewart might beg to differ – it’s about togetherness. Nothing beats going for a walk with my husband and kids, or getting down on the floor and playing with my boys. To me, spending time with my family is the best measure of a successful holiday, even if the potatoes are undercooked and the pie comes in a box.
Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me, coming March 9, 2010)