Francie Lanoo relays several holiday-related experiences throughout her decade-long adventure in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes: the starry-night photo-centric first Christmas spent with Berkeley; the mistletoe-focused, sneaking-around second Christmas spent with Berkeley; the sad return-home-for-the-holidays when she’s no longer dating Berkeley; the family-vacation holidays in tropical destinations that turn home for the holidays into a memory. Throughout her sentimental holiday dialogue, she strongly implies that what makes the holidays special is the company you keep, and that it doesn’t matter where the holiday festivities take place because home is where the heart is.
Beyond the novel’s end, it goes without saying that this mushy-quirky-artsy character would have a beloved list of holiday traditions, all of which she would celebrate no matter where on earth she might be. And though the list might see some add-ons and tweaks as the years pass, the spirit of the occasion would be felt in each and every one.
FRANCIE LANOO’S Holiday Must-Do’s:
- A Christmas tree covered with sparkly lights, bobble-garland, happy hearts and whimsical/quirky shoe ornaments. Side note: in all likelihood, there’s a matching wreath hanging on the front door.
- Homemade baking displayed fancifully on tiered cake stands, featuring: sugar cookies, shortbread, butter tarts, coconut macaroons, gingerbread cookies, Pizelles, Russian teacakes (to remind her of a favorite hang-out in NYC), and pistachio biscotti (to remind her of a favorite hang-out in Florence, Italy).
- A movie night, featuring films like The Family Stone, The Princess Bride, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Holiday and Love Actually.
- Gifts carefully created from her own hand: uplifting paintings, tree ornaments, personalized puzzles made from family photographs, and knitted scarves (as she attempts to acquire her mother’s handiwork skill).
- Bubbly cold champagne: mixed with orange juice and cranberries when served at brunch, mixed with strawberries and a side of dark chocolate when served in the evening.
- Candle illumination everywhere, some scented with pine, some scented with champagne.
- Background music playing throughout her waking hours: songs like I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Wonderful Christmas Time, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), and A Holly Jolly Christmas.
- Night after night of fancy dress-up, including remarkable shoes.
- Lots of photo taking—a practice taught to her by someone special—in order to preserve the memory of life’s best moments.
- The hanging of Mistletoe, to carry on the late-night shenanigans that commenced in Foot Note Twenty.
Out of curiosity, are any of Francie’s Top Ten in synch with your holiday traditions?
Do you have a Holiday Top Ten List of your own that you’d like to share?
Whatever you do to celebrate, may you smile often.
Happy New Year!