When we meet Nick, he is nineteen and is alone for Christmas for the first time.
After being forced to leave his parents house, he has gotten himself a cheap bachelor apartment and, because it’s Christmas, a tree of his own. His whole apartment is filled with cast off furniture and rescued accessories.
The only problem is that he doesn’t have any ornaments. He doesn’t have anything. Nick has had to start over and quickly find his footing, leaving almost everything behind. When Nick’s friend Haruto drops by on Christmas Eve, he helps Nick with his tree and gives Nick a gift, a box of candy canes.
When they go to decorate the tree, Nick is crushed to realise he doesn’t have any ornaments to decorate the tree with…until he thinks of the box of candy canes. Haruto asks Nick for a piece of blue paper and folds him a origami crane When Nick places it in the tree branches, he doesn’t know it’s at that moment that the Christmas Eve for the Misfit Toys is born.
As each Christmas comes, more and more people join the Christmas Eve for the Misfit Toys, people who would otherwise be alone but have come together to be with each other. Each year Haruto gives Nick a handmade ornament for his tree.
Nick and Haruto are joined by Matt, Fiona and Perry. Over the years, they are joined by others, other friends and other lovers. The years are filled with presents and with words, always with words.
Nick is a short story writer. Haruto keeps encouraging him to write a novel, to write something longer. Nick always tells him that he’s just a short story writer, but Haruto knows there is a longer story inside Nick trying to get out. Nick just has to tell it…
I loved this story. No, that’s not right. I heart Homemade Holidays. ‘Nathan Burgoine has penned a Christmas classic. My meager plot summary isn’t doing Homemade Holidays enough justice. I haven’t captured the heart and the love that emanates from the pages. I haven’t managed to tell you how beautiful the book is, what with it’s themes of chosen family, of togetherness and of love.
Homemade Holidays is told in the most fascinating way. We are only given a snapshot of their lives, visiting with Nick, Haruto, Fiona and Perry every Christmas Eve. The novella spans fifteen years and we get to watch all of the characters as they grow and change, grow apart and come together again.
The novella also rings so true. When I read it, I could feel the truth in the story. It was as if ‘Nathan has taken a part of his part and made it the centre of a holiday tale. The feeling of truth to this story gives the words more depth and more power. The characters within Homemade Holidays live off of the page and by the end of the novella, I was left blissfully happy and felt full of the holiday spirit.
If you are looking to start off your holiday reading on a good note, look no further. Homemade Holidays has everything you could want in a holiday tale and then some. It left me longing for the holidays when my own chosen family will come together.
Homemade Holidays by ‘Nathan Burgoine is, quite simply, a piece of holiday magic.