When I was growing up, the holidays seemed magical. It felt like there was a balloon inside me, slowly filling as the celebrations grew closer, until I felt like I might burst—or maybe float up to the ceiling. But as I got older, I started to feel more stress around the holidays, and I’d worry that I didn’t have enough time or money to make things special.
In my new book, Revenge of the Angels, the holidays are not going well for Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster. They’ve been told they aren’t going to get the presents they asked for, weather has stranded their mom and beloved older sister in Boston, their dad has to work a lot, and they didn’t get the parts of the Three Wise Men in their church Christmas pageant just because they are girls. To make things worse, someone is stealing decorations and baked goods off people’s porches! It’s enough to make anyone with holiday spirit turn into a Grinch.
But here’s something I’ve learned that the triplets also come to realize: The holidays don’t have to go perfectly to be magical. The point is to enjoy special moments with people who matter to you, and show them how much you care for them—with a gift, a baked treat, or simply some kind words or deeds. And it’s also a time to enjoy shared traditions. You know those special things you do year after year? Maybe there’s a recipe you cook or bake only around the holidays. Or maybe there are songs you sing, items you display, games you play, or places you visit during this time. There’s something comforting about doing the same things with the same people at the same time of year.
My family eats tamales on Christmas Eve and we always watch the movie A Christmas Story. There’s also an ornament I was given when I was a baby—an elf wearing glasses that I named Doc. Doc is now scuffed and a little shabby in places, but he’s like an old friend, and I look forward to hanging him on our tree every year.
What special things make your holidays seem a little magical each year?
Jennifer Ziegler, Scholastic Author