Pandemic Christmas #MaskUp

In the past, this is what I thought a pandemic Christmas looked like:

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For bonus points: what is the star at the top of the tree? Hint: it’s a “major award.” #AChristmasStory

Mr. Hallock and I have each other—and Wile E, seen below—and for this bounty, I am extremely thankful. We are spending our holiday watching This Farming Life, Your Home Made Perfect, and Country House Secrets.

(I highly recommend the last one, Mary Berry’s new show, for anyone writing in the British historical romance chronotope. Big house parties are the theme, and the first episode begins with Highclere Castle—or, as you likely know it, Downton Abbey!)

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Wile E. is caught here mid-wag. Check out the river, as calm as mirror glass. She needs her bright orange vest just in case. It is hunting season, and she sorta looks like a dumb deer, no?

In case you were wondering, we did win our game of Pandemic. I mean, we cured all four diseases, which is all you need to do—not actually heal the infected. It all feels very 2021.

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For slightly more festive posts from Christmases past, check out the links below. And, whichever holiday you celebrate, if any, everyone at Little Brick Books wishes you a safe, healthy, and happy one.

1960s vintage tinikling postcard Christmas Philippines
A 1960s Christmas postcard from the Philippines, courtesy of the fabulous Pinoy Kollektor website.

 

Pizza, puppy, parol, and phunk

Mr. Hallock and I have a tradition we created our first year of marriage: pizza for Christmas. We spent the 1998 holiday in West Beirut, then our home. Since our neighborhood was predominantly Muslim, everything was open! (Also, the Lebanese knew that Santa can sell anything. For example, our local manousheh joint, Faysal’s, dressed an employee in a perfect jolly red suit and handed out chocolates.) Stephen and I were not big chefs or bakers yet (well, I’m still not), so we were hardly going to make a big dinner for two. We did the obvious thing: we ordered a pizza. Not obvious to you? As we sat and scarfed down a great New York-style pepperoni and mushroom pie, we decided we would always have pizza (or something styled after pizza) for Christmas. We have not broken that tradition in 20 years. There is dough resting on the kitchen table as I type…

1960s vintage tinikling postcard Christmas Philippines
A 1960s Christmas postcard from the Philippines, courtesy of the fabulous Pinoy Kollektor website.

The holidays have also been about our nuclear family, i.e. our dog(s). We sadly said goodbye to seventeen-year-old Jaya two years ago, and before that to fifteen-year-old Grover. This is our first Christmas with a little pipsqueak called Wile E. Dog. Her auntie and uncle brought her pigs’ ears, so she’s been just fine with the madness of the holidays.Wile-E-dog-pig-ear

And, yes, we have a parol—adjusted to 110v by our amazing Ate Edith! We give passing traffic seizures, but, hey, it’s festive.

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Finally, one of my favorite holiday traditions: good funky Christmas music. My favorite funk? Bootsy Collin’s Christmas is 4 Ever.

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One thing you will have to do without this season is Sugar Moon. It is still coming soon, but rewrites are thorough and ongoing. We are hoping for early 2019, certainly in the first half of the year. Until then, check out the teasers on this site. [Updated to add: We actually managed this deadline, and Sugar Moon hit ebook shelves in April 2019. Read more about the history behind this book and what readers thought.] If you want something Christmas-y, also please check out the epilogue of my latest novella, Tempting Hymn, or the Noche Buena scene of Under the Sugar Sun. Merry, merry.

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