10 Authors Share the Fictional Families They Want to Spend the Holidays With

10 Authors Share the Fictional Families They Want to Spend the Holidays With


The holidays are the perfect time of year to reconnect with the people you love, whether you’re flying across the country to see them or merely opening the pages of your favorite book. As we all know, characters in novels can sometimes feel like family, particularly after a few rereads. Here, 10 authors share the fictional families that they would most like to spend the holidays with.

Reader, beware: There are some spoilers ahead, particularly if (like Joey Tribbiani) you don’t know what happens in Little Women.

The Little Family

“Most families in books are troubled, and it’s their troubles that drive the narratives they inhabit. So they are usually people you wouldn’t want to be around if, like me, you’ve finally learned to steer clear of other people’s drama. I’d have to go back to more innocent times to find a tolerable family. For example, I like the Littles in E.B White’s great novel Stuart Little. How accepting they are of this tiny, furred accident of birth! They embrace a talking mouse as their second son, providing him with tiny clothes, a tiny bed, other tiny things. They support him in his quest for adventure and love. If they lived in my city, I’d certainly accept their evite, show up with a jug of wine and, for the boy, a tiny leather jacket cut from the tongue of an old Army boot.” —Ken Calhoun, author of Black Moon

The March Family

What family do I want to spend Christmas with? The Fangs from Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang were my first thought and that means I am just crazy, because I don’t want to be part of a family art project. I also don’t want any drama from my fictional family even if they are interesting. So it has to be the March family from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I want to spend my Christmas with Meg and Jo and Beth (because of course she is still alive for my fictional holiday) and Amy. Maybe Laurie is going to send over an enormous ham and a turkey and Marmee has made fresh loaves of bread and we are all going to be happy, even if Amy doesn’t like her presents. The March sisters are going to put on a play for me, a play which I am going to pretend to enjoy, but really my mind is going to wander. The best part will be after the meal, sitting in front of the fire. Meg is going to teach me to darn socks. —Marcy Dermansky, author of The Red Car


The Weasley Family

“Butterbeer, twinkle lights, Weasley Is Our King cupcakes and cut-out cookies, roast chicken and veggies, firewhisky, popcorn, the Burrow. I’d spend the holidays with the Weasleys. All of them except Percy. I’m hoping he’d have something else to do. I’m also hoping Harry and Hermione would be hanging with the Weasleys too, and we’d sit on blankets in front of the fireplace while it snowed outside. The Harry Potter world/fandom is incredibly cozy to me and I like my Christmas cozy. I’d enchant my knitting needles to make warm sweaters and socks for everyone and Molly would enchant hers to make me my own comfy Weasley sweater with my initial on it.” —Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War

“From the first moment in the Harry Potter series I encountered Ron Weasley’s boisterous, ginger-haired family, with their six kids, loyal hearts, and love in abundance over material wealth, I wanted in. As an only child raised by divorced single parents, only one much older cousin, and grandparents 3,000 miles away, I have always craved a vigorous family embrace at the holidays. If I could celebrate with the Weasleys we’d sip butterbeer while singing Christmas carols in the Burrow, siblings sparring playfully, in ugly sweaters knitted by Mrs. Weasley. That’s all the magic I’d need.” —Jordan Rosenfeld, author of Women in Red

The Von Riesen Family

“I just read Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows. It’s a very funny book about a devastating suicide. I kept convincing myself there’s no way I actually want to spend the holidays with the grieving Von Riesen women… but I do. Toews writes siblinghood so well—the deep, raw love that is beyond any other kind of love, the weird bonds and inside jokes and memories that are like their own language. And even though Yoli and her mother are mourning, they are so deeply rooted in living—the unglamorous, unwieldy heft of life—that I can’t resist wishing we could share a slushy Christmas eve filled with eggnog and laughter through tears and some kind of hastily thrown together snack that is, for some reason, so, so delicious.” —Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girls

The Blackwood Family

“I would love to spend the holidays with Merricat and Constance Blackwood in their Vermont ‘castle’ that opens to the sky. I get shy in crowds, so three makes for more intimate talks, and I tend get along best with people who feel like outsiders and don’t bother to hide their quirks. A perfect evening would be to explore the surrounding woods—to see a book nailed to a tree or find a box of buried coins—and then return to the house. The boards over the windows would make for a cozy home-cooked meal, though I’d probably pass on the sugar.” —Susan Henderson, author of Up From The Blue

The Alamar Family

“I’d spend the holidays with the Alamar family from Maria Ruiz de Burton’s 19th century novel, The Squatter and the Don. First, this was a wealthy family, so you know they would provide an amazing Christmas spread, and the gifts wouldn’t be chintzy, for sure. They also were a loving, caring group of people, who despite their troubles knew how to have a good time. Given the limited choices for positive representations of family life found in so much Latino literature, the Alamars are like a glass of refreshing water in a desert of negativity.” —J.L. Torres, author of The Accidental Native

The McPheron Family

“My first thought was to dine with the chaotic Jellyby family from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, or J.D. Salinger’s philosophical Glass family, but I am choosing to dine with the two elderly brothers in Kent Haruf’s novel Plainsong, the McPherons. The McPheron brothers, ranchers from Haruf’s fictional town of Holt, Colorado, are people more comfortable with actions than words; as a product of a small Midwestern town, I find their reticent natures familiar, though I am not someone who requires the familiar. I last spent a holiday meal with my own family in 1987, and since then have chosen quiet holiday meals with my wife and friends. What I do crave is Haruf’s worldview: His characters might not talk a lot but they view the world with kindness, compassion, and generosity, and so I can imagine sitting at their table and eating together, quietly.” —Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade

The Spencer Family

“I have always dreamed of spending Christmas with the Spencer family from Earl Hamner’s Spencer’s Mountainthe book that the 70’s television show The Waltons was based on. There is so much warmth and tenderness between the family members, and so much respect. As a city kid growing up in a divorced family, I longed for that big rambling farmhouse where someone was always in the kitchen. I wanted to be a part of the traditions that are created from staying in a place for generations. I have my own family now, and my own traditions, but that little kid part of me will always long to be apart of the Spencer family. The presents would be few at the Spencer house, the decorations sparse, but the house would be warm and filled with the joy that comes from being where you belong.” —Louise Miller, author of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

The Lambert Family

“My parents are long dead, but if I could spend the holidays with the Lambert family from The Corrections, I would feel back at home once more. Add in a huge and horrifying dollop of evangelicalism to Jonathan Franzen’s utterly dysfunctional Midwestern clan, and you would have my family, complete with nattering, hypocritical mother; stoic, dictatorial father; and troubled and troubling middle child (me!). Each time I read this book, I am struck anew with a terrible sense of familiarity and self-recognition. Enid Lambert’s fervent dream of ‘one last family Christmas together,’ is matched by my own mother’s in its intensity, extreme planning, and unsurprisingly combustible fruition. The Ghost of Christmas Past, indeed!” —Val Brelinski, author of The Girl Who Slept With God



Leave a Reply