When Oklahoma meets Hallmark

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What is better then curling up with a good book during the holidays?

Bridget Nye, Managing Editor

Once December finally rolls around, it’s easy to be swept into the holiday spirit. Between putting ornaments on the Christmas tree, listening to carols and making gingerbread houses there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

One of my favorite activities during this time of year is snuggling up with a comfy blanket on the couch. But to make it perfect, I also love drinking hot apple cider and reading a good book. The perfect novel to pair this with is “So, This Is Christmas.” 

“So, This Is Christmas” was written and published last year by Tracey Anderson. After growing up in Tulsa, Okla. Anderson has worked in the film industry; her written works include 17 screenplays for Hallmark and more are in the works. This has given her the skills she needs to create a Christmas rom-com with an Oklahoma spin. 

The book begins with our main character Finley, who is feeling a bit homesick and is missing her parents. She is spending her sixteenth birthday alone in her dorm at Barrington Academy. This preppy boarding school in Connecticut is a long way from her hometown Christmas, Okla. As someone who is already nervous about staying in the dorms during college, I can’t imagine how she is feeling. Finley hasn’t enjoyed the school as much as she thought she would. After finding out she was the only person in school who wasn’t invited to a party, she decides it’s time to throw in the towel and go home. Nothing will make her change her mind about leaving the East Coast after the holiday break. 

That’s until her bitter British Barrington Academy classmate, Arthur, arrives and finds her with a scowl on his face at her in her Grandmother’s Inn. In the one and only Christmas, Okla. Arthur and his aunt decided to take a trip and spend their holiday in Christmas because of the town website that describes the area as a festive paradise. The site’s embellishments might have been due to Finley’s attempt at impressing the other students at school. He wasn’t too happy when he discovered what the city actually looks like. To make it up to the disappointed guests, Finley promises to correct her mistake. She has to create the perfect American Christmas for the two English visitors. This includes many staples of Oklahoma including the Chickasha lights, ice skating in Norman and the Christmas parade that can be replicated across the state. With Finely as my tour guide, I think I would feel better about the confusion becuase of her cheerful and outgoing attitude. 

Aside from the entertaining plot, there were also other parts I enjoyed. The main theme in this story is family. More specifically, different types of families and their dynamics. I particularly enjoyed this part of the book because it shows the reader that there is more than one way to show one’s love. It has the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter, a single mom with her children, an aunt and her nephew and a teen girl with a new friend. All of these groups are spending the holiday together, enjoying each other’s company. 

One thing that I enjoyed about this book is that it is based in Oklahoma. Most picture perfect stories about the holidays are in the mountains or the North East. Not many holiday rom-coms are set in a small town, where there isn’t a lot of things to do or places to see.

This novel is definitely a must read. I loved watching the characters grow and develop throughout the book. I was engaged the entire time and was imagining myself right there with them. With that in mind, there is nothing I would change about this story. 

“So, This Is Christmas” is a cute teen romance with a dash of yuletide cheer. If anyone needs a reminder of the Christmas spirit this season, I recommend picking this up and turning the page.

Contact Bridget Nye at [email protected]