‘Nathan Burgoine’s new Christmas story “Handmade Holidays” may well be an instant classic. Drawing on some of Burgoine’s own personal experiences as well as a tradition involving Christmas ornaments, it tells the story of Nick Wilson; on his own for the first time after his homophobic parents throw him out of the house. With the holidays approaching, Nick buys a cheap tree and decorates it with a friend’s improvised ornament. Thus starts a tradition which the story follows through fifteen years as Nick’s life and the lives of his chosen family of assorted friends change and grow through successes, tragedies, births and deaths, all the while adding ornaments, each with a special significance to their lives at the time.
Telling the story in the form of the story of successive years (skipping over a few) is a masterstroke, offering readers glimpses of Nick’s life, and a bit of the changes in the outside world through the years. The story has the feel of a very good holiday TV movie, and there haven’t been a lot of those featuring the lives of LGBT characters. Nor has there been a story quite like this; leaving an impact on the reader without ever descending into mawkishness. Burgoine is better known for his work in fantasy, but here he eschews magic and miracles for the powers of love and friendship. And the power of a few carefully-selected Christmas ornaments which come to symbolize a life.
Highest recommendation for this excellent holiday read!