The first girlfriend after the divorce was British and blonde. Beverly went back to England soon after Christmas and I sat in the backseat of dad’s Chevy Nova and cried. I was 5 and wanted dad to marry her so that I could have a mom with an accent. Another Christmas was spent with the woman with Margaret Atwood hair and two sons. The sons ignored me and I played with Barbies in Connie’s living room. Another Christmas was spent at Mary Lou’s house. Her children liked to lie down in the street and make cars come to a screeching stop.
One Christmas my dad’s second wife took all her presents, unopened, and put them in the trash. Dad snuck outside and rescued the gold chain and jade pendant he’d gotten her. He gave it to me. “Hide this in your room,” he said. “You can have it but don’t let her know you’ve got it.”
I hid it, but she used to search my room when I was at school and I didn’t have that many good hiding places. She was very thorough.
I find it difficult to put Christmas in fiction. Holiday stories veer too close to cliche. How do you make a holiday real, not maudlin or syrup, or meaningful only to the writer and no one else?
Have you ever read a good Christmas scene in a novel? Remember it?