I wasn’t always a lover of Christmas Books or Christmas Proper.
Living in Australia, with family scattered far and wide, there’s always a thousand kilometers of road between the family feast and home.
And back in the old days that meant overnighting–or overweeking–in someone else’s home. Best behavior at the ready come board-game-time or when the cricket was on or when family tensions rose. And they did rise–faster than Yorkshire pud in a super-hot oven. Politics, religion, money–all the regular suspects got a workout. Pecking order was swiftly established–hello from the bottom of it. There was shame when gifts given were meagre and gifts received were lavish, but what do you do? Money was tight, a fortune in fuel had already been spent, the pets were in kennels with payment on pickup, and half the veggie garden was going to be dead on return.
Walking into someone else’s wide-open welcoming front door at Christmas took time, money, fortitude and resilience. I was not a big fan.
Come my way some time, I thought. Let me be the Chrissy host. Would that be so bad?
But the thing is, hosting Christmas isn’t stress free either. House prep, food prep, keeping all those unruly guests in order. Where is everyone going to sleep? Especially if they’ve travelled for days–because a mattress in the living room while the cricket’s on really isn’t going to cut it. What if not everyone can fit around the dinner table? Who’s gonna make the gravy? (okay, that one’s for Aussies. Paul Kelly, anyone? He knows families are complicated).
In my world, Christmas is about resilience, strength, forgiveness (of self and others), making-do, and love.
In Must Love Christmas, my heroine Maddie is in Montana not Australia, but her world view is the same. It’s important to her that she’s hosting Christmas at home and that the people who spend time with her are cherished and cherish her in return. Goodwill matters. There’s always room for love.
And, yeah. It’s complicated.
New book below. It’s close to the heart, yeah. Take a look.