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Three Views of Christmas by EJ

Word count 961

For the upcoming first Christmas at Lancer, Murdoch had asked each son to contribute a tradition to incorporate into what will become Lancer Christmas traditions.


Murdoch sat at his desk contemplating their first Christmas as a family, and though he was excited, he honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from either son.  He just wanted it to be special; and hoped each son would contribute to what would become Lancer Christmas traditions.

Turning his chair toward the large window, he smiled and shook his head.  With three new contributions, it will be interesting to see the outcome.  He wondered what each would contribute?  The wild card will be Johnny.

Scott obviously understood the American customs for the holiday, but at the same time his older son was used to extravagant celebrations.  There would have been many balls, parties, and banquets during the Christmas season in Boston.  Turning from the window he glanced at the great room, Christmas at Lancer can’t compare to the opulence Harlan Garrett could offer.  For that matter, any in Boston.

Getting up slowly and stretching his back, he moved toward the fireplace but continued to wonder, did Scott expect Christmas here to be the same as he experienced at his grandfather’s house?  Shaking his head, he hoped Scott would want something new?

Settling into his favorite chair, he eased into the soft leather; and gazed into the fire.  His thoughts turned to his fiery younger son.  What would Johnny want?  Bowing his head, he feared Johnny may go off by himself until Christmas was over?  He could almost hear Johnny’s, ’I don’t like my fun organized’.

Pushing the worries aside, he excitedly looked forward to each son’s ideas.


Scott stood at the corral fence and gazed at the snow covered mountains.  A sad sigh at the fact that there was no snow in the valley.  He wasn’t sure how he felt about a snowless Christmas.  This was so different from Boston.

Leaning onto the top rail of the corral, a small grin formed on his face.  He knew how Johnny felt about the cold weather, his younger brother would be fine without snow.

Well, no snow was also fine with him as long as they were all together.  If he was honest with himself, and he always tried to be, he was getting tired of the endless balls and parties back in Boston.

What about Christmas at Lancer?  He was actually looking forward to the holiday and how Christmas was celebrated in California.

What he really wanted was a real family Christmas.  One where they all decorated the tree, read holiday stories, sang carols, shared good memories of Christmases past, while making new and even better ones.  Enjoying the Christmas meal with all the new tastes and smells.  Most importantly he wanted to share Christmas together with his new family and new friends.

Pushing away from the fence rail, he turned toward the hacienda.  He knew the traditions he wanted to share with his new family.


Johnny sat on Barranca and looked down at the hacienda, he was totally confused on this whole Christmas thing.  Shaking his head, he had seen the decorated trees in a few towns north of the border but didn’t really get it.  Why would they cut down a perfectly good tree, put stuff on it, and then throw it out.  Shaking his head and frowning at the disgustful waste.

He looked toward the mountains covered in snow, relieved that at least the valley was clear of the cold, white stuff.  Boy, did he hate snow.  In fact, he just hated being cold.

In Mexico they celebrate Las Posadas. The parade, the turning away, and then finally being invited into a home.  There was music, food, drinks, and a piñata full of candy for the kids to break open.

He watched the Lancer hands ride in after a long day.  The single men went to the bunk house but the married men were greeted by wives and excited children.  He knew the Mexican hands would probably do Las Posadas among themselves.  Murdoch was a good Patrón and wouldn’t stop their traditions.

The family greetings were happy and bittersweet at the same time.

“Well, Barranca sitting up here isn’t getting anything settled.” He laughed at the nodding of the golden head.

“Can’t help but wonder, what do they expect of me?  Ol’Man talks about American traditions, Scott talks about Boston traditions, and Teresa is busy issuing orders ‘Do this, put that over there’, and spends hours baking.  He rubbed the golden neck, and talking to Barranca always helped him.

“Sometimes I’m sorely tempted to turn north and spend the holiday in a line shack.  Being alone isn’t anything new, I just don’t want to disappoint Murdoch, Scott, and Teresa.”

He patted Barranca’s neck again, “Amigo, what do you think?” The golden head turned toward him, then turned back to the hacienda and started slowly down the hill.  “Yep, you’re right, amigo.  I need to be home.  It’ll be kinda nice learning about American Christmas traditions.”

Johnny pulled his jacket tighter, glanced one last time at the mountains, then down towards the lights of the hacienda.  He relaxed as Barranca moved in a slow walk toward home.

The End
by Elin

December 2022


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