WeWriWa—Christmas 1939

If you celebrate Chanukah, may you have a joyous conclusion to the holiday!


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing from the Christmas chapter of the book formerly known as The Very Next. It opens in March 1939 and ends in the first moments of 1940.

Prior to this scene, at Christmas Eve services, Cinni raised a riot with a 10-page newsletter she put together with the help of some older friends, trying to expose the truth about her frenemy Adeline’s father and her family’s antagonistic houseguest Urma Smart belonging to the Klan. Since the people in the most damning pictures were all under hoods, no one believed her except her adoring father and Urma’s henpecked husband Mortez. That prior scene ended with Mortez promising Cinni her family’s Christmas wouldn’t be ruined by his fanatic wife and daughter.

Vintage Christmas Card010

On Christmas morning, Cinni threw on her red flannel robe with white snowflakes and stepped into her red ballet slippers.  Sparky briefly stirred, then went back to sleep.  As disappointed as it made Cinni, Sparky and her brothers had no desire to receive Christmas presents, even though they’d given Cinni’s family presents.

Sure enough, Urma and Sam awaited in the living room, but Cinni ignored them.  The sight of the tree was enough to distract her from the two demons in her home.  It always looked so much nicer on Christmas morning, strung with colored tinsel garlands; brightly-colored glass bulbs; little birds’ nests; strings of popcorn and dried cranberries; miniature musical instruments; little wreaths on delicate ribbon strings; silver, gold, and bronze stars; pinecones; candy canes; and gingerbread people.  Her parents had never allowed lit candles on the tree, as was traditional on both sides of their families, for fear of a fire starting or anyone suffering burns or hot wax drips.  Underneath the tree were the train and miniature village Cinni loved setting up with M.J. every year, along with the crèche Cinni barely paid attention to.  This was the most beat-up crèche Cinni could imagine, with missing heads and hands, chips all over, and discolored hay, but it was her family’s crèche.

German Nativity scene, made about 1920, Copyright Hewa. This bears a striking resemblance to the real-life beat-up Nativity scene which inspired the Filliards,’ though this is obviously in much better condition!

This beaten-up Nativity scene doesn’t escape the eyes of Urma, who’s about to let everyone know what she thinks of this unlikely heirloom!


20 comments on “WeWriWa—Christmas 1939

  1. Thanks for the Chanukah wishes–very nice scene–love the description of her robe and the tree.


  2. Nice depiction of the Christmas scene.


  3. P.T. Wyant says:

    Great description of the tree. I love (what are now) old fashioned ornaments and decorations. My grandfather had a pair of ceramic birds that went on the tree every year, probably from near that same era.


  4. Sweet description of Christmas morning! I used to run over to the tree as a kid, too. We set it up a week or so before Christmas but on that morn it seemed extra special. This scene brings back good memories 🙂 Except for the two demons in the house, LOL!


  5. Wonderful descriptions! I really feel as though I am in the moment with her enjoying the sight of the tree. Really enjoyed reading this snippet. Happy Holidays to you!


  6. I enjoyed your snippet, taking us back to a different era.


  7. Love the description of the tree. All my German relatives use real candles on theirs, and I’m always a bit nervous!


  8. Jenna Jaxon says:

    Wonderful descriptions! Especially the tree and the beat-up Nativity scene. Warm wishes of the season to you and your family!


  9. siobhanmuir says:

    Ah Family Christmases, they bring out the best (or worst in them) Great snippet, Carrie-Anne. 🙂


  10. Vividly gorgeous description of the tree! Enjoyed the entire excerpt 🙂


  11. Mari says:

    Now I want to decorate my tree (which somehow I haven’t done yet…oops?). I love the detail you put into this snippet 🙂


  12. chellecordero says:

    “This was the most beat-up crèche Cinni could imagine, with missing heads and hands, chips all over, and discolored hay, but it was her family’s crèche.”, so glad that she feels that attachment that it is her family’s creche. And I so don’t like Urma.
    Good snippet.


  13. What a nice descriptive passage.


  14. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Her thoughts on the creche were interesting. Does she ignore it because it’s beat up? If it’s something else, what does that say about her personality?


    • Carrie-Anne says:

      Cinni isn’t very fond of her family’s Methodist religion, or Christianity in general. It’s something she finds boring, without any special meaning. She’s more attracted to her best friend Sparky’s Judaism.


  15. Christmas trees are a fire hazard even now, when we don’t have lit flames on them. I can’t even imagine candles…

    Happy Holidays!


    • Carrie-Anne says:

      Some years back, I saw some video a fire department made to try to illustrate Christmas tree safety. When their little demo didn’t go as planned, they actually poured gasoline on the tree, and a much bigger fire resulted!


  16. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Wonderful imagery of the Christmas. Thank goodness they don’t light candles on the tree.


  17. Christmas really is an emotionally charged time, and you captured the essence of it perfectly. Great snippet!


  18. jessicahanna says:

    Wonderful description of the Christmas setting! Happy holidays!


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