It’s official, Figs: the weather is getting frightful, the mistletoe has been hung, the lights are twinkling–the holidays are upon us! To celebrate, we’ve asked some of our favorite authors to share holiday memories with us. Tune in all through December to get in the holiday spirit!
Today we hear from Alecia Whitaker, who’s gearing up for a big book release soon–her debut novel, The Queen of Kentucky, hits shelves on January 2! It’s about a high school freshman, Ricki-Jo Winstead, starting at a new school and determined to create a new image, too. She navigates cheerleading, new friends, and–of course–a boy or two with an honest, charming, authentic voice–you’ll love it!
Many people I know gather around a big table on Christmas Eve to eat a nice meal and relish in the excitement of Ol’ Saint Nick, a jolly old fellow who will soon be squeezing his ample frame down their chimney loaded down with toys galore. Growing up, my family also gathered together to eat, but not around a table.
Instead, one of our greatest traditions ever was gathering around the fireplace and warming it up for dear Santa hours before he was to arrive. My dad got a fire going (Thanks to child labor during the fall–I hated hauling firewood. But that’s another story.) and my mom laid out an old sheet. We loaded down the blanket with paper plates and cups, condiments and napkins, and sat cross-legged on the floor in preparation for our feast. You see, Whitakers camp out on Christmas eve. I mean, we’re no contenders for Man vs. Wild or anything–our camping adventure is one night only and strictly indoors–but this tradition is just one of the many quirks that make us Whitakers.
I loaded up two hot dogs on my skewer and knelt on the stone hearth (ahem–another example of child labor seeing as how my adolescent hands helped haul those rocks), and steadied my grip as I watched the flames lick up at my dinner. I am not one to enjoy any sort of blackened or charred dog, so I had to keep a strong focus. Of course, my younger brother and sister were constantly battling me for prime fireplace real estate, so I guess it sort of was like being out in the wild in that I had to keep an eye on my prey and watch out for bratty predators at the same time.
After hot dogs and chips and soda (soft drinks allowed in the living room–yes!), we cleaned off our skewers and shifted gears: S’mores! The greatest sugary invention of all time, the S’more is yet another item one must handle with care. You see, much as I don’t enjoy a crispy dog, I also must have a char-free marshmallow. This is not an easy feat, and luckily my mom or dad would eat any that didn’t meet my own standards; but I really needed that marshmallow to be warm enough to melt my chocolate bar, while gooey enough for my young yet mature palate to enjoy.
And that, folks, is indoor camping. Christmas eve on the living room floor, in front of a warm fire, surrounded by family, with Alabama’s Christmas on the stereo: now that’s living.