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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Two Characters, Two Christmas Trees

By Sandra Nachlinger

I’ve been thinking about ways to show characters’ personalities and priorities without “telling” and here’s something I came up with for the holiday season.

Lorraine stood in the foyer, arms crossed over her chest, and studied the Christmas tree. A Swarovski star topped the white-flocked spruce and almost touched the twelve-foot ceiling. Porcelain angels clad in the palest pink gowns seemed to flit among the boughs between glistening Waterford snowflakes and opaque Lalique orbs. To complete the creation, strands of pearls draped from branch to branch, illuminated by thousands of tiny clear lights. She nodded and smiled. Pierre had outdone himself this year. Worth every penny he charged.

Jenny sighed, plugged in the vacuum cleaner, and ran it beneath the tree. More needles every day! Meowser seemed to think she’d brought the evergreen into the living room as his personal playground. She jiggled a string of lights until they came back on and straightened the garland the kids had made from construction paper. With a sigh she bent to pick up a papier mache Santa her son had made many years before, then placed it near a branch that held a star cut from a tin pie plate. She nodded and smiled. The tree held so many memories—a priceless journal of the family’s past Christmases. Worth all the mess.

What do you think? Which Christmas tree appeals to you?

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a joyous 2017.

Bluebonnets for Elly - A Sweet Contemporary Romance
I.O.U. Sex (Co-authored with Sandra Allen) - A Spicy Baby-Boomer Romance



  1. When my kids were at home, I probably would favor Jenny's Christmas tree; but now with the kids on their own, I could humor Lorraine's for one Christmas without any trouble. Fortunately, I'm a person who loves change. Great post. Happy Holidays!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Judy. I love the eclectic collection of ornaments on our tree, but it would be fun to have a perfectly coordinated tree too, for a change.

  3. What do I think? I think you did that brilliantly! On a personal level, I'd love the Pierre-decorated tree, but in reality I'd be the one jiggling the lights to get them to come on. I cured that problem with one of the new programmable lighted trees, but the lights on the mantle still need jiggling. *sight* Merry Christmas, Sandy.

  4. Sandra, what a great characterization tool. I prefer the second tree, of course, but wouldn't mind having the first in a separate part of the house. LOL My sister (whose middle name was Lorraine) always had two trees--the family one was in the family room with all the memory ornaments and the fancy one was in the living room.

  5. Thanks for your comments, Joan and Caroline. I had fun writing today's post.

  6. I can tell you had fun with the two characters' trees. I'd take the second one, in a heartbeat (:

  7. Sandy, you did a good job of portraying two very different women. I like the second because she's more down-to-earth, but what a great device. Great showing, not telling!

  8. Thanks for the feedback, Judy and Lynne. This was a fun exercise for me, and I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

  9. A Christmas tree really does say a lot as you illustrate here. We haven't had one for a few years but have been considering getting an artificial one due to our allergies. I just haven't been sure it'd be the same. My mom had a silver tree with rotating lights to change its color-- not sure what that said ;)


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