Wickeds, have you created any odd family traditions for the characters in your series? Any tics that resonate with you personally? Even if you haven’t included it in a book (yet), can you imagine any family traditions your characters might have in the holiday season?
Edith: I had carefully avoided using Christmas in a book – until my editor asked me to write a Christmas novella! Robbie Jordan is at her boyfriend Abe’s parents’s home. She notices a little Snoopy, Bert from Sesame Street, and a plastic chicken mixed into their Nativity scene. I stole this directly from my own creche scene, where the traditional characters are the plaster ones my mother hand-painted many decades ago (we have Gumby’s horse Pokey, too…).
Look for Christmas Cocoa Murders next fall! Of course, Quakers of 130 years ago didn’t celebrate holidays, so we’re not going to see those traditions in that series.
Sherry: I haven’t written a book set in December yet. If I did I would include having Sarah write letters to soldiers. It’s not exactly odd, but not something every family does. If you are interested in sending letters to soldiers here’s a link to organizations who coordinate then put them together.
Liz: Of course, Christmas was full of murder in Frog Ledge. The town has a tradition of Santa riding across the town green in a sleigh for the annual Christmas tree lighting. But in Purring Around the Christmas Tree, he showed up DOA. Other than that, I haven’t had my character establish any of their own traditions yet.
Julie: A Christmas Peril takes place at Christmas time, but there aren’t any odd holiday traditions in it. Just a theater company doing a production of A Christmas Carol. I do have some odd holiday traditions I could add to a book, and probably will at some point. We watch White Christmas Thanksgiving night. We have to have turkey for Christmas dinner. Even if we also have ham, or roast beef, there has to be turkey. There are more, but I’m saving them for a book.
Barb: Clammed Up, the first Maine Clambake Mystery takes place in the spring and in it the Snowden family make strawberry rhubarb jam. I write about how Julia’s mother is an awful cook and how Julia and her sister were mortified to deliver the brown sludge, with a happy red bow around each jar, to their neighbors at Christmas time. In “Logged On,” in Yule Log Murder, I finally pay that off when Julia delivers a jar to their next door neighbor, Mrs. St. Onge, who says to put it in her pantry. High on the pantry shelf Julia sees twenty years of full jam jars, some still with fading bows attached.
How about you, dear readers? Any odd holiday traditions we could borrow for our books?