Most of us have probably watched a holiday special of one kind or another. When I was a kid, that holiday special was always “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I still watch “Charlie Brown Christmas” every year, even now.
There are lots of other holiday specials out there too. “Star Wars Christmas” comes to mind as a particularly… well let’s just say memorable to be charitable. The Muppets have a couple and pretty much every cartoon out there has at least one. I even saw “Ice Age Christmas” in the stores the other day.
Yes, I bought it and it is pretty funny.
All these specials got me thinking about why their creators did them in the first place. Is it to revisit long-overdone themes? Is it to grab their share of the holiday viewing market? Or is it to get the chance to run their characters through yet another scenario to see how they act and react?
My ever (often/sometimes/seldom?) curious mind took me down the path of seeing how characters would handle the holiday setting. How would some of my characters handle a holiday like Christmas, for example? Would they greet it with joy and happiness or sadness and sorrow? Would they represent the best virtues of humanity or the worst sins?
How would I handle tropes that are familiar to us, but totally foreign to whatever place and time my characters actually represent?
I know, for example, that my character “Mik Murdoch” would approach Christmas with excitement and joy. He would do his very best to ensure that all of his friends and family had the best Christmas ever. He wouldn’t let anything get in the way. He is a pre-teen boy and a wannabe superhero. Picturing his reaction was easy.
But what about my apprentice wizard, Charlie, from my short story “Apprentice”? Does the concept of Christmas exist? Perhaps it does in another form such as Winter Solstice? How would it be celebrated? Would he celebrate or hide? Would he be happy or sad?
It can be both a fun and interesting exercise. Put your characters through their paces and see what comes out. The exercise is great for generating story ideas. I know I now have some ideas for a story featuring the characters from “GalaxyBillies”. I haven’t spent any time with them lately and it might be fun to write a holiday-themed story with them.
What do you think? Holiday stories with known characters to see what comes out or just a means to capitalize on another holiday?