‘Tis the season to celebrate joy and these two authors have found their own way.
A Christmas Story
I have been a sucker for Christmas movies ever since I was a small child, and have always been partial to the predecessor to White Christmas, Holiday Inn. It’s so charming and old-fashioned, and is a classical screwball comedy of the 40’s.
But…my English/Latin teacher always read aloud to my Latin class the week before Christmas from Jean Shepherd’s wonderful memoir, In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash, and I became so thoroughly engrossed in Shepherd’s world. To my great surprise one year at Christmas, shortly after I graduated from college, we were channel surfing and came upon the movie, A Christmas Story, which was excerpted from Shepherd’s book.
In adapting the film, the screenwriters perfectly captured the feel of the era, along with the humor of the writer, and I was hooked.
Now each year my family watches this movie as we are decorating our Christmas tree; the kids
demand we put it on if we forget. And so the movie has many layers of memories for me: it brings back fond memories from high school, particularly from one of my favorite teachers who was most inspiring to me as a writer; it engrosses me in Shepherd’s universe, freeze-framing in a charming way the Depression era, which wasn’t necessarily such a charming time in which to live, but yet he so effectively pulls in his readers with his sense of family and place; and of course now it’s been brought into a joyful tradition with my own family.
Sometimes Christmas movies (and carols, for that matter) can get a bit maudlin, and I appreciate that this movie can elicit heartfelt emotion without too much treacle, and keep us laughing (always important to me!).
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!
Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It: Twenty Years of Caring for a Vengeful Bird Determined to Kill Me coming March 16, 2010)
Joëlle’s Holiday Tradition
My husband and I are Buddhist so the holidays just sort of slide by unnoticed here (except New Years – we have a big dinner and count our blessings and sometimes exchange a gift or two). But even though we don’t celebrate Christmas ourselves, we do have a very cool holiday tradition. Several years ago, when we were cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house after she died, we found my husband’s childhood, silver foil, circa 1960s Christmas tree, complete with the spinning coloured light. We try to set it up and decorate it most years now. We actually have a lot of ornaments because we saved some of his parents’ that we inherited, and we have many Christian friends who have given them to us as gifts. It’s a fun remembrance of our families and friends and it’s sparkly, festive, and pretty. And the cats love it!
Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA coming May 13, 2010)