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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Holly and Grace are enjoying a lengthy discussion about holiday traditions. They argue about the restrictions placed on society to express their joy of the season, like saying “Merry Christmas”, and the weight of the political correctness society has been burdened with. The conversation comes around to their own family traditions. Holly tells her friend her plans to visit her father in Pensacola. She can’t remember a Christmas when she didn’t visit her father; it’s a family tradition, one her mother insisted on maintaining. As a teenager, Holly didn’t understand her mother’s reasoning but she is starting to appreciate it now. The Christmas season is all about family. No matter how far apart, or the reasons behind the separation, family is still family.
Valerie Allen’s short story, Holiday Traditions, is an interesting look at what it means to be a family, especially during the Christmas season. The story is told mostly through dialogue, as the two friends discuss their concerns over the changes in society’s observance of Christmas traditions and other holiday traditions, too. The argument meets its climax when Grace asks Holly about her plans for Christmas and Holly explains simply that she will visit her father. It’s something she’s done on Christmas for as long as she can remember. As she shares her plans with her friend, Holly starts to realize and appreciate what her mother always insisted: family was important. The reader gets the impression that this will be an ordinary family visit, but the epilogue that follows suggests something completely unexpected. Holiday Traditions is a powerful look at the importance of family.