Stefanie Sloane
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12 Days of Christmas Blog-O-Licious
Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Hey, you all know I wrote a Christmas novella, right? It’s included in the anthology, Naughty & Nice, which, handily enough, is available at an e-tailer near you. But seeing as we’re into the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to give a copy away to one lucky winner. So, as part of the Twelve Days of Christmas promotion, I’m giving away one copy of Naughty and Nice at the Happy Ever After website today. The winner can have a digital copy or a paperback ARC, whichever they prefer. Drop by my post at HEA to enter.

And once you read the post below, keep reading. I’m feeling particularly festive this year so I’ve sweetened the pot. Big time.

The Words “Perfect” and “Christmas” Should Never Be Used in the Same Sentence. Unless Gerard Butler is in attendance. Then, maybe.


You know those dreamy Hallmark holidays you had as a child? Where everyone got along, the food was impeccably cooked and served, and peace on earth literally landed in your living room?

Yeah, me either.

At my house, Christmas meant chaos. Nerves were frayed by December 1st, thanks to tenuous family ties, a short supply of money, and the constant demand that we enjoy ourselves. Have fun! Make it meaningful! NOW!

And yet, when I got married, for some crazy reason I still cannot fathom, I assumed everything would be different. Suddenly, I was Martha Stewart, Martin Scorsese, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Holy Mother Mary all rolled up into one. Under my direction, the holidays would tick along with skillful precision. Food? Delicious and nutritious. Entertainment? Multiple standing ovations required. Music? From the lips of angels. And meaning? You would have to be the devil himself not to fall to your knees and weep with wonder and awe.

Of course, that first Christmas was a complete disaster. Just like the celebration in the film Home for the Holidays. It’s Thanksgiving. Holly Hunter, a single mom just recently fired from her job, travels to Baltimore to be with her family for the holiday. Mayhem ensues. There’s a gay brother, bitter sister, mentally sketchy aunt, well-meaning but delusional parents, and one Leo Fish rakishly played by Dylan McDermott. I know, it sounds like a set-up for your run-of-the-mill cliché-fest. Trust me when I tell you it is anything but. The writing is golden. I still laugh out loud at the dialogue even after many, many viewings. And somehow, director Jodie Foster managed to coax some of the best performances of their careers out of the stellar cast. That’s saying a lot when talking about Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr. and Holly Hunter.  

Home for the Holidays wasn’t a huge box office bestselling film. Nothing exploded, no superheroes saved the day, and, in the end, life wasn’t wrapped up with a satin bow. What it is, though, is a quiet, disarmingly subtle, yet unbelievably real portrayal of life and its’ messy, emotional, heart-wrenching, complex, and ultimately magical nature. Which sounds an awful lot like my own holiday experience. And honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What about you? Tell me about one of your most memorable holiday disasters. You’ll be entered to win 19 lush and lovely beauty products from Sephora. I’ll get the ball rolling: Christmas morning, 2006. Used the wrong kind of Rhoades rolls in cinnamon roll recipe. Ended up with the Roll That Ate Seattle in my oven. Fun! Now you.

You can enter the contest through midnight ET Sunday, Nov. 25th. Winners will be announced on Monday, Nov. 26th.