Changeling Celebrations with Dani Harper – Part Two
As you may remember from yesterday’s post, the Macleod family of Changelings still celebrated plenty in the month of December in their new country, but they blended in old traditions from Scotland. Connor, James and Culley Macleod survived Christmas shopping with their wives and sisters in order to return to us today and continue sharing their memories of their family celebrations.
“Finally!” said Culley. “I’ve been waiting to tell them about the eats.”
“Why are you always thinking about food?” asked James.
“Why not? Food’s the best part of every celebration. Take Black Bun for instance – now that was a fruitcake. Stuffed with currants and wrapped in pastry.” Culley sighed happily.
“I liked the sun cakes,” added Connor. “They had a little hole in the center, and lines fanning outwards, representing the rays of the sun. It was some kind of Scandinavian tradition, but Scottish shortbread has been shaped like that ever since.”
“Shortbread tastes a helluva lot better. Those sun cakes were more like hard biscuits!” said Culley.
“I miss the venison stew,” admitted James. “There was no such thing as turkey for Christmas. Mom would make the stew with thick cream, and there’d be neeps and tatties in it.”
“Turnips and potatoes,” Connor explained. “And bacon – I remember she browned the venison with bacon before she made the stew.”
“Now I’m hungry,” said Culley.
James rolled his eyes. “You’re always hungry.”
“There was a lot more than eating going on.” Connor counted off on his fingers. “There were games and dancing, music and singing, and drinking. Quite a bit of drinking in fact. Among the adults, the ale and the whiskey flowed pretty freely.”
“Old Angus Mackinnon fell off his horse pretty freely too, as I recall.”
“We ought to talk about the decorating,” said Culley. “It was a big part of the celebration too.”
“All of us kids had to gather evergreen branches. The whole family would work at hanging them all around the house, inside and out,” said Connor.
“Evergreen boughs were hung above the windows and doors of the barn too,” James added. “And mistletoe was used as well – there had to be at least a sprig of mistletoe.”
“Devlin and I used to walk through the forest, looking up, trying to find the biggest bunch of mistletoe we could. Of course, that made it tough to see where I was going,” Culley laughed. “Ran right into a tree one time and knocked out a tooth.”
“You brought back a monstrous plant one year as I recall,” said James. “It had to be four feet across. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger one.”
“Yeah, and it took us half the day to climb the damned oak tree to get it down. That mistletoe had to be growing forty feet up. But I wanted a kiss from Jeannie Robertson, so I had to get it.”
“Mistletoe wasn’t just for stealing kisses,” said Connor. “That’s why it was on the barn as well as the house, to protect the people and the livestock. Mistletoe was said to keep evil away.”
James snorted. “It never kept Culley away,”
“And that’s what the season is all about,” Connor sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as if he had a headache. “Putting up with – I mean, being with family.”
Dani Harper is the author of a hot new shapeshifter series from Kensington Brava. CHANGELING MOON and CHANGELING DREAM are available now in trade paperback and ebook. Her latest novel, CHANGELING DAWN, is being released on December 27th. Check it out at http://www.daniharper.com
December is a time of gifts and giving. Leave a comment, telling your favorite holiday food, and you’ll be entered to win a Dani Harper tote bag with swag! Draw closes Dec. 31st.