22 December 2012


Locus Focus: Take Eighty-Five!

My favourite holiday dining room is not actually from today's featured novel. It is the Bjorkman Family's Dining Room, from The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer, and the only reason I'm not writing about it today is that I already wrote about it two years ago, in Take Thirty-Four! (Yes, click on the link. You know you want to read that post!)

This week (UPDATE: Yes, I know how late this is! I'm so sorry, but the holidays have kept me really busy and I can't even schedule posts in advance any longer!), I'm going with the most predictable dining room I could have chosen for this Locus Focus weekend. It sort of goes with the Top Secret December theme . . . but not as much as the others I've chosen. You probably already know what it is . . .

The Cratchit Family "Dining Room"
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds; a feathered phenomenon, to which a black swan was a matter of course--and in truth it was something very like it in that house.

Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped.

At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said . . .

The hearth may be the superior setting for a family Christmas--but that actually presupposes that everyone has supped well beforehand. Full hearts do not require full stomachs . . . but a good meal (especially when it's shared with family) can go a long way. The glow of the Cratchit family's hearth is all the warmer because of the cheer of their dining table.

Which is really just stating the obvious. =P But this is a setting that speaks for itself so well that there is hardly anything I can add to it.

I can confess, however, that this isn't a proper dining room. (Gasp!) The Cratchits live in a four-room house. One room is definitely the kitchen; and given the distribution of family members among the different age groups and sexes, there must be at least two bedrooms. That means that what I consider the "dining room" (for the sake of having a setting to write about this weekend) is a kind of living room that gets a big table pushed into the middle of it whenever this family of seven wants to eat together with some style.

The Cratchits may have had to improvise a special area for the first night in a long while they could all be together, but when they are all sitting down and sharing the goose, they are in the most real room in their entire home.

Question of the Week: What does your dining room look like for the holidays (i.e., Advent and Christmas)?

Image Source: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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