Home for the Holidays
Melissa Ann Goodwin
Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, the song goes. It’s a theme that’s so strong at Christmas time. Think of it: few songs bring tears to our eyes more quickly than I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, little Natalie Wood’s Christmas dream is, literally, to have a “home.”
I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately this year; because my husband and I are doing something radically adventurous (for us); we are traveling around the U.S. and parts of Canada in a motorhome. We sold our house, and there is not a place that we call “home” right now. I’ve always been a homebody, so there are times when it is very strange to realize that, at the moment, I do not have a place to “go home” to. When Christmas comes, we’ll be in Florida, but that too will be temporary. Home for the holidays will be wherever we are on December 25th.
For many of us, that wonderful vision of “home for the holidays” is one that carries from our childhoods. I remember decorating the tree that filled half our small living room; candlelit Christmas Eve services at our church; and sneaking down the stairs at five a.m. to see our stockings stuffed to the brim and the glorious pile of presents under the tree. I know that I am lucky to have such wonderful memories.
But my parents are gone now, and the home of our childhood is no longer our home to go back to. So, part of our adult journey is truly to create new “homes” for ourselves, whether those are actual fixed places, or just a feeling that we carry in our hearts. Part of the allure of “home for Christmas,” I think, is the bittersweet feeling we have when we think of Christmases past – places and people that hold special places in our hearts. Remember when Judy Garland sings Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in Meet Me in Saint Louis? The lyrics that get us most are “someday soon we all will be together – if the fates allow,” We love the song because it’s such a poignant reminder of how life changes and how precious our time together really is.
Being home for Christmas is a strong theme in my book, The Christmas Village, too. It’s just before Christmas, and our 12-year-old hero, Jamie, is having a hard time of it. He wishes he could escape his troubles by disappearing into Grandma’s miniature Christmas village. But once his wish comes true – well, you guessed it – all he can think about is how to get back home to his family by Christmas day. That quest drives the adventure – and there’s lots of adventure! We’re all rooting for him, and eager to see if and how he’ll do it, because most of us can relate to that deep desire to be “home” for Christmas.
Our journey this year in the motorhome is to see the beauty of this country and experience new things. To change things up a little – to be open to challenge, and growth, and to seeing where that take us. Part of the journey though, is also a search for the place we will next put down roots and call HOME. Because for me too, there’s no place like home for the holidays.
About Me: I treasure fond memories of a happy and carefree childhood growing up in New England, and am especially grateful for the many wonderful teachers there, who encouraged me to read the books that inspired to become a writer. My work has appeared in numerous national magazines and I’ve written extensively for the Fun for Kidz family of children’s magazines. The Christmas Village is my first novel for children, and I am currently working on the sequel.
The Christmas Village has been getting great reviews from kids and adults alike – you can read the reviews and find the book in paperback and Kindle e-book from Amazon.com, and in all digital forms from Smashwords.