Ten Things I Hate About Your Holiday Story
24/7 Bliss: The arrival of the holidays has mysteriously transformed your entire crew of non-religious, deeply-flawed, potentially interesting characters into a quasi-Borg Hive of Happy People Who Must Do Charitable Things and Make Deep Personal Sacrifices to Surprise That Character They Couldn't Stand Before Thanksgiving. They also seem to infect everyone they meet with this Be of good cheer or you will be assimilated nonense, too.
Behaving Perfectly Pets: Dogs, cats and other pets in your holiday story seem to spend all their time cuddling small grabby children, fetching wrapped presents and looking adorable as they pose by the decorated Christmas tree, instead of what they'd really be doing, like biting those children, gnawing or peeing on those presents, and trying to climb up or knock down the damn tree.
Chesty Chop: I know your male protag has an awesome-looking chest, and you like to show it off every ten pages, but sending him out shirtless in subzero weather to chop firewood just so his lady love can sigh over his pecs from the window? Really?
Death Takes an Extended Holiday: Doomed characters never expire on Christmas Day -- in fact, no matter what shape they're in, no one does. Anyone destined to buy the farm does it at least a month before or the day after. In the case of the Dec. 26th RIP, they must of course have an utterly magical Christmas that they declare was the best of their life right before they drop dead.
Give Me a Break: Everyone receives marvelous/wonderful/awesome gifts in Holiday Story Land. There is never anything silly or weird or cheap or inappropriate. All the gift clothes, shoes and engagement rings fit perfectly, too.
Santa to the Rescue: No matter if they're bell-ringer Santas or mall Santas or Uncle Herb dressed up as Santa, the Mr. Claus in your story will without fail provide some invaluable assistance or a wondrous revelation for your characters that a) eradicates the black moment; b) permits star-crossed lovers to uncross their stars or c) saves someone or something from imminent bankruptcy.
Snow No-No #1: Despite the fact that it's been snowing steadily in your story for the past three weeks, no character ever has to cancel travel plans, consider the possibility of road closures or even shovel their way out to the car -- which mysteriously always starts no matter how long it's been sitting out there, and is never buried under what should logically by now be a seventeen-foot drift.
Snow No-No #2: Your characters have been snowbound alone together in an abandoned cabin long enough to have wild monkey sex on every available flat surface in place, and constantly cuddle in front of the fireplace that never stops burning, and profess their love while making snow angels out in the yard. This is wonderful, until you consider they're also exclusively living on the handful of granola bars the heroine conveniently found in her purse which, according to my calculations, even if nibbled slowly would have run out a week ago.
Snow No-No #3: Have you ever actually had sex in the snow? If not, then you should know that at zero degrees, no matter what they're doing, your half-naked characters will begin suffering from frostbite in about ten to fifteen minutes. Guess where? So some advice: speed it up.
Stocking Stupidity: Here's another thing in Christmas stories that makes me crazy: fabric stockings full of candy hung all night from a mantle over a roaring fireplace, yet somehow they never catch fire. And since all that heat generated by the roaring fire rises up over them, why aren't they filled with liquid chocolate in the morning?
What do you hate in holiday stories? Share your gripes in comments.