‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Christina June

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Christina June

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become—whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal—the east coast of the U.S. and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter. Christina’s debut, It Started With Goodbye, releases May 9, 2017. A companion novel, Everywhere You Want To be, will be published in 2018.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

We’ve always been a pro-Santa house. Santa-forward even. My husband and I put out the cookies and milk on Christmas Eve (that my husband would eat), we leave a bowl of sugar for Rudolph (complete with red food coloring print for his nose), and we made earnest attempts to get our daughter to smile in Santa photos at the mall. She finally warmed up to the big guy around age five. We also enjoyed tracking Santa’s sleigh with the NORAD app and family members scheduled recorded phone calls with Santa, much to our daughter’s delight. For us, Santa has always been this magical thing to share with our child and experience though her eyes.

Several weeks ago, my daughter said, completely out of the blue, “Mom and Dad, is Santa real?” She’s seven. I thought we could keep this up this for a few more years. My husband and I exchanged one of those glances where you have an entire conversation. Despite wanting to keep up the fantasy, we also didn’t feel good about lying to her, so we told her the truth. Everything in me was sad as we confirmed that Santa wasn’t a real person. I thought, “She’s too young!” but my thoughtful little girl took it all in stride.

Since then, we’ve talked about the pieces of the Santa Claus myth. Every once in a while, she’ll ask, “Are the presents really from you and Dad?” or “Who eats the cookies?” The other night, we researched the origins of the Santa Claus legend together so she could understand that Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, was just a guy who liked to surprise people with presents. She delighted when she heard Buddy dismiss Papa Elf’s assertion that some kids think their parents leave the presents in our annual viewing of Elf, knowing that she was in on the secret now. We told her she’s part of a special club and that it’s her job to keep the story going for her younger cousins.

It’s been an adjustment for us as parents to not feel like the magic is all gone, but I’m realizing it’s just magic of a different kind. The true magic of Santa Claus is about giving. And our daughter is now on #TeamGiving. She’s always loved crafting her own presents for friends and family, making care kits for the homeless, and writing flowery thank you cards. For her, being able to give something special to others is a joy and the understanding of why we give presents to others at this time of year is simply another layer. I’ve observed her more excited than ever in selecting presents for family members, as well back off the things she’s asking for.

While we’ve lost the image of Santa Claus as an actual person in present day, I think what we’ve gained this season is incredibly valuable. The spirit of giving to others is something we can continue to dialogue about and carry with us through the whole year. I think St. Nick would be pretty pleased by that.

Title It Started With Goodbye
Author Christina June
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published May 9th, 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s It Started With Goodbye shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

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