The books "refer" to them, but don't write about them in detail.
Is that because the authors themselves don't partake in those traditions?
Is it fiction for the author, too?
Last Christmas season, one of my reads was by Peggy Jaeger, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, where the family's holiday traditions include having a booth at the church Christmas fair. She wrote lovingly and in detail about the heroine participating in it - and she also wrote realistically, so the reader felt like they were at the fair too, with all the sights and smells and noise.
Which is better?
Personally, I go for the "show me" every time. I love Christmas and experiencing it vicariously through fiction is one of the reasons to READ Christmas stories in the first place. I missed my town's Christmas stroll this year because I had to work late and then when my husband finally got home from his trip to California he took me out for a late dinner in a neighboring town (their stroll isn't until this coming weekend.) But I've lived and worked at that stroll for the last eleven years. I could write about it.
A big holiday tradition in my family is traditional English Plum Pudding. The recipe came from England with my great, great, great grandmother in 1901. We still get together each year in the fall for a weekend of pudding making and antique shopping - and then each of us takes home the tied puddings to ferment until the holidays when we light them on fire and make wishes... Someday maybe I'll write about that in a story, but not sure anyone would believe it anyway...
What holiday traditions do you have? Would you write about them or have you already?
What makes a holiday story "real" to you?
Happy Writing to all, and Happy Holidays!