When I started out to write “The Christmas Gift,” I quickly realized that setting a story during the mad rush of the holidays takes more than “verbally” tossing in a few strands of tinsel and calling it good. It’s also more than piping in Christmas carols wherever my hero and heroine happen to be in the story.
Instead, what I needed to concentrate on the things that evoke the real spirit of the season. For most of us, that’s spending quality time with friends and family. They are what matters—and all of those gifts we spend time and money on serve as a reminder of that fact. This was the idea that played a major role in the story I was writing.
Another major part of holiday preparation for me is the time I spend in the kitchen, baking all my family’s favorite Christmas cookies. They’ll eat anything I bake, but there are three kinds of cookies that HAVE to be there or I’d have a rebellion on my hands. Sure, they taste great, but it’s the tradition that’s really important. They enhance not only this year’s family gathering, but also the memories of Christmases past and the people we shared them with.
So as Bridey’s and Seth’s story came to life in my mind, I wanted to make the focus of their love the gifts they created for each other. Those needed to be made with love and an understanding that came for their growing love for each other. Each worked with the tools of their craft. For Bridey, it was cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. For Seth, it involved his favorite chisel and a beautiful piece of wood.
I liked that each gift not only showcased the artistry of its creator, but also evoked what was important to the recipient. Bridey’s gift to Seth was a tribute to the one person who had always been there for him. Seth’s present for her honored the new life she’d built for herself on the ashes of her past.
Speaking of traditions, what does your family do every year that makes the season just that much more special?