Meghan McDonnell – Remediation

“It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” adapted into Novel form

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” sung the radio talk show host across the car’s speakers.

It was December 23, 1951, the day before Christmas Eve. The Carols were on a family outing in their Volkswagen to meet their family at the Grand Hotel. Snow was just beginning to fall, and the atmosphere was enchanting. The city was all lit up with Christmas lights. Wreaths were hung on all the doors. People were bustling happily everywhere with large shopping bags in tow.  Children were gathered at all the store windows to see the magical displays of the newest and coolest toys. The Five and Ten was by far the most magical of all the stores. The decorative lights glistened brightly in the snow and glowed onto the street such that they seemed to be true silver lanes.

The kids sat in the backseat, each with a candy cane, watching the scene outside the car. At the passing of any store window, a shout was soon heard from one of the children.

“Hop-a-long boots!” Bonny gleamed,

“A pistol that shoots!” Ben was in awe.

“I want a doll that can walk and talk!” said Janice

“Me too!” chimed Jenn.

Janice and Jenn soon started bickering over who saw the doll first and therefore who had claim to the gift.   Suddenly the car was a buzz with the gleeful shouts and occasional squabbles of the children.

“When does school start again?” asked Mr. Carol to his wife, half-joking.

“Not soon enough,” laughed Mrs. Carol.

The Carols parked the car and began walking through the lit-up, snowed covered pathway of the park toward the Grand Hotel. All the pine trees were decorated for Christmas, and the sight was stunning. Outside the park, the Grand Hotel stood in all its glory with a huge Christmas tree in front. Next to the tree, a group stood caroling using bells to beautify their songs.

“That’s the biggest, most spectacular tree I’ve ever seen!” cooed Ben.

                                                                                ~

Upon returning home later that night, the Carol family reflected upon their magical night in the city. The children were more excited for Christmas than ever. Upon arriving back home, however, they all agreed that the prettiest sight to see was the holly on their own front door.

 

 

Transforming a famous Christmas song into novel form was very fun, yet there are certain qualities about both mediums that were hard to capture in the translation process. The most obvious is the happy music that accompanies the lyrics in the song. The best way I thought to capture the mood was through the use of happy, fun adjectives and creating a light-hearted plot. Nevertheless, I do not know if the adjectives succeed in creating the happy mood for the reader/listener, which is evoked by the song.

The song “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” like many other Christmas songs, is supposed to create excitement in the listener for the season. Songs have the ability to be relatable to a wide variety of people; their purpose is often to convey one particular mood that can be transferred to a listener through the melody and lyrics. Although a novel can definitely have an impact on its audience’s mood, I feel as if the focus of the novel is not to create the momentary pleasure a song does. Novels tend to delve deeper into a story through specific details and character and plot developments. Although a scene from a novel can be extremely powerful, it is also important to understand the scene in context of the whole novel as well

The biggest challenge I faced was that because I wanted my story to read as if it were a scene from a novel, rather than just a short story, I had to come up with a scene that implied there was more to the story than the clip being read. This was hard because a song is very much a story that can be told, and whose message can be conveyed, in three minutes through the lyrics and music. Nonetheless, I found it difficult to create one entire scene using the song. Instead, I created a break to split in the story, which I also think could imply that another scene may have occurred in the middle.

In converting a song into novel form, I had to add details that were not actually mentioned in the song. There were so many other stories that could have been told by the song.   As the novel requires attention to detail, I discovered through this process details of the song I previously had not. For example, given the time the song was written and everything it described, I realized how similar the song is to the opening scene of the movie, “A Christmas Story” (which was probably my inspiration for certain details added to the scene I created in novel form).

The purpose of this song is purely entertainment. The story it tells does not reveal a deep social truth. In many ways, however, it commemorates Christmas in the 1950s and captures why people love Christmas. I am not sure if my story creates the same excitement in the reader about Christmas as the song may. Nevertheless, this process truly made me realize that although a song and a novel are very different, both have the power of connecting deeply with their audience.