Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Does the "Ideal Christmas" Really Exist?

With Christmas coming later this week and the New Year shortly to follow, we are in the middle of what is advertised on television and in movies as the happiest time of the year.  We all see images of families gathering together around a delicious, homecooked meal, people traveling from across the country to be with loved ones, and children wearing new, flannel nightgowns anxiously listening for the sound of Santa's sleigh.

But, for many people, the holiday season is the most difficult time of the year.  What if your own family experience can't live up to the high expectations we set for these celebrations?  Maybe you grew up in a family in which you were lucky to have any food on the table, let alone a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings.  For some of you, this is the first Christmas following a divorce or the death of a loved one.  What about those children who are living in abusive homes and do not have parents who want to make the holiday special?

In my new book, Kendra's Pearl, the title character probably did not enjoy any picture-perfect holidays during her childhood.  She lived with a mother who directed her rage and resentment at her children.  The members of Kendra's extended family, while they certainly loved her, were usually dealing with their own addictions or personal struggles. 

For those of you who have read Kendra's Pearl, what do you imagine the holiday season was like for the Haywood family?  I would love to read your thoughts on what the characters would be doing on Christmas.

Also, have you had any experience struggling with that ideal of Christmas that we are supposed to meet?  I have shared in interviews that, while Kendra's Pearl is a work of fiction, I have pulled some details from my own life.  So, I understand how this season can be difficult.  Maybe your comments can be of help to someone else.