Christmas Excerpt from The Red Kimono

My historical fiction, The Red Kimono, opens with eight-year old Sachi searching for a Christmas present on December 7, 1941.

mom girlThough Sachi was loosely based on the life of my mother, this scene was based on memories of my own childhood–sneaking around, trying to find Christmas presents my parents might have hidden.

Now, as an adult, I must admit, I’d rather be surprised.

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?



Like a broken record, Papa’s words played over and over in Sachi’s mind.
Remember gaman, Sachi-chan. You must learn to be patient.
But Christmas was still eighteen days away. Be patient? It was like asking a bird not to fly. She tiptoed into her parents’ room and opened the closet door, hoping the squeaking hinges wouldn’t tattle on her. Pushing her mother’s dresses apart, she searched for presents that might be hidden in the darkness. Anticipation tingled in her hands. Finally, Papa had convinced Mama it would be okay to celebrate Christmas. Sachi giggled to herself, imagining how he must have convinced her.
“Sumiko, I doubt Buddha would have a concern with our family celebrating Christmas the way most Americans do.”
Pearl Harbor . . . surprise attack . . . sinking ships . . .
Sachi jolted at the words that came from a scratchy voice that drifted in from the living room radio and grabbed at Mama’s dresses to regain her balance. Several fell from their hangers.
Taro is in Pearl Harbor!
Images of her oldest brother, surrounded by explosions, flashed in front of her eyes as she ran downstairs. “Papa! Mama!”
Her parents sat across from each other in front of the radio, so still they reminded Sachi of mannequins she’d seen in department store windows. All that moved was the steam rising from the hot tea on the table next to Papa. His eyes looked strange as he stared at it.

The first person to share a Christmas memory in the comments will receive one of my original collage or painted cards, similar to the one below. If you’re the first person to comment, be sure to click HERE to send me your mailing address.


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5 Responses to Christmas Excerpt from The Red Kimono

  1. My favorite memory is participating in the children’s Christmas Eve service and at the end, getting a bag with candy, nuts, an orange, and an apple.

    What a great idea, Jan!!


  2. Joan Hall says:

    Not the first to comment, but one of my first Christmas memories is a time when we visited friends and family in Irving, Texas (we had moved away from there a couple of months earlier). I was only about two years old and don’t remember everything, but some of our friends had one of a shiny aluminum Christmas tree with a color wheel. (They were popular in the 50s and 60s. I stood in their living room for what seemed like hours, fascinated by the changing color of the tree.

    • Jan Morrill says:

      I remember those trees and color wheels, too! I’ve often thought about looking for one or both of those “blasts from the past” just for old time’s sake. Fond memory! 😊

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