Too many people swear that your family is the best thing ever to happen to you. Many writers know they can’t have the perfect nuclear family in a story. It just won’t work. You need conflict, but you won’t get that if you’re only looking at your perfect family from the outside. We must delve into the dynamics of such a family, search for what’s not available for the public to see, and wave the dirty laundry around like a flag—come see what I’ve found is our goal. 


Grace Winston yearns for one last family Christmas, but she has to convince her brothers and sisters it's worth their while to come home. Her reason for this is that her parents, while happy that she's been accepted at Oxford University in England, are pining away for their family to gather together. She manages to force her older brothers and sister to help out, to come home, but it's up to them to bring the other – a brother who attacked their father to get money to feed his drug habit, and a sister who recently gave up alcohol and is raising four children under the age of five without their daddies. The family does return home, and they surprise their parents, but Grace is soon wondering if this was really worth all the trouble she's gone through, when no one acknowledges her efforts to make this a Christmas to remember … until she receives an early gift that leaves her certain things will turn out all right.


Grace Winston had celebrated her eighteenth birthday a mere three weeks ago, the same day as Thanksgiving. There were no thanks in her house, no special foods prepared to celebrate her becoming an adult, nothing to mark the day as unique.

Her parents hadn't said "Happy Birthday" until it was time to go to bed. Even then, the acknowledgement had sounded more like "goodnight."

It's not Mama and Papa's fault. They can't help how sad they are. My brothers and sisters should have come like they said they would. They're not even making false promises anymore. All of them claim that they have other plans for Christmas, and we need to get over our selfish desire to have the family together.


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