Writing Christmas Stories

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by Martha Rogers

Christmas is my favorite time of the year not only because of the Savior’s Holy birth, but also because of other birthdays. Today is my husband’s seventy-seventh birthday and two of our sons as well as our great-granddaughter all have December births. We celebrate all month long. Our youngest son believed everyone in the world celebrated his December 31 birthday until he was six and found out what the date really was.

Other things I enjoy at Christmas are all the stories, myths, and legends that make-up Christmas lore. Many of them have been compiled into books of fables and legends. Perhaps the most famous and often read story is by Clement Moore. Actually a poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas has been around since 1823 when published anonymously in a Troy, New York newspaper. Clement Moore finally received credit for the poem in 1837.

I enjoy reading and writing Christmas stories and have a Christmas novel and a novella published. When writing about Christmas, I always try to think of something magical and very unusual to be the heart of the story. Children and pets make for wonderful characters for Christmas stories as do Santa characters. Miracle on 34th Street is a classic example of a mystical, wonderful story of love and doing good for others.

Dickens took another route by having his main character in A Christmas Carol to be a selfish old man, but the magic was there and his heart was changed. However, even today we all think of Ebeneezer Scrooge as the “bah humbug” man of Christmas.

Debbie Macomber also writes magical, wonderful Christmas stories. She takes every day circumstances and turns them into life changing events that warm the heart.

So many of our own ACFW authors write Christmas novels and novellas and each author adds his or her own inimitable style to make the story sing on the pages. Whether it’s a historical at an estate like the Biltmore, a contemporary along the River Walk of San Antonio, a tale of sadness that becomes a miracle or a fantasy with magical stores with fanciful characters, our authors do it all. We love the books because they touch the heart and give us something to think about or something to simply enjoy as it takes us to the world of make-believe.

Characters in Christmas stories range from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from simple to complicated, from mundane to magical, yet we can relate to them all. The thing they all have in common is to take the reader to a time and place where something out of the ordinary can and does happen. We follow the same outlines, action and reactions, showing, developing plot and all the other elements that make up writing fiction, but there’s something extra in Christmas stories that have a way of warming our hearts and even bringing a few tears in the midst of the joy and laughter.

The love of Jesus is woven into our stories in such a way that we can’t help but celebrate the most wonderful gift of all at this time of year. He is the reason the angels rejoiced the night of His birth and our hearts overflow with the joy of knowing He IS the Light of the World.

Martha RogersMartha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and attending football, baseball, and basketball games when one of the grandchildren is playing or performing. She is a member of several writing groups. A former Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series as well as several other novels and novellas. The first book in her new series, Love Stays True, released in May, 2013.

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