It’s the holiday season… I’m guessing a lot of you will start singing when you read that line. I know the song playing in my head right now is pretty well-known. The months of November and December have become blurred, the sun gone by 6pm and the temperature plummeting for most of us. Still, there are some parts of the Earth’s turning away from the sun that I look forward to. The night sky is never better than on a clear, crisp winter night. Snow, just frozen rain, has its own character like a fine wine or an old book. Time and space seems thinner now as we end one year and head into another. The holidays we observe are laid on top of older, ancient celebrations. I am often reminded of how fine the line is that connects us—past and present, young and old—during this season. So while carols play and dreidels spin, while halls are decked and we celebrate indigenous people or ask Habari Gani?, some things remain constant through the ages. One of those is the stories we share from generation to generation.

Our holidays are actually a pretty potent concoction of various culture’s traditions and beliefs mixed in one punchbowl and served with fruitcake. I think it is only fitting to share the stories from Lost Boys Press’ first anthology, Chimera, as we head into the season ahead. A chimera is a creature, real or fictional, that has features from different animals. The term can also be applied to anything with warring parts, whether a manuscript, a neighborhood, or even a holiday season. With a variety of creatures that alarm, dazzle, and enchant readers, Chimera is the perfect read for the holiday season, especially if you are looking for something to fit the cacophony of cultures. I propose a story a night, beginning ten days before the holiday you observe. Follow the guide below to countdown to Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Yule, or Kwanzaa. Gather the little ones around an open fire and roast the chestnuts. After all, one secular Christmas song reminds us that this is the most wonderful time of the year…complete with scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago…

  1. “Loomis Creek” by Stephen Howard

It’s dark outside. The moon might be full. The chimera here is part werewolf and part bigfoot. A creature that sets the tone for the wintry nights to come.

  1. “Color Unknown” by Jaecyn Boné

Remember the story of the little matchgirl? Boné’s story is sorrowful and sharp at the same time. It ends with a mixture of helplessness and hope. Quite the chimera of a tale.

  1. “The Waterwisps” by Samuel Logan

This season seems to lend itself to warnings to children. Read this to them as a cautionary tale. THIS is why we don’t go into the forest, my loves. 

  1. “The Real Treasure” by Chris Durston

Remember It’s a Wonderful Life? Yeah, the treasure of Durston’s tale reminds us how much we rely on one another. Also, Santa’s got nothing on the gift-giver featured in this story.

  1. “My Mother’s Daughter” by Vincent deDiego Metzo

The holidays are about family. Most of us honor them by inviting them over for dinner. This story takes family to the next level: destroy those who threaten the ones we love.

  1. “The Nights I Die” by Matt Bliss

Hanukkah is the celebration of the miracle of light. Bliss’s zombie-werewolf chimera wishes he could skip the light of the full moon…until his curse yields the best gift of all.

  1. “Banshee Song” by Michelle Tang

Have you been serenaded by a talented group of carolers on a winter night? While you read this story, pray the carolers can out-sing the death cries of these creatures.

  1. “Swamplights” by Dewi Hargreaves

Consider driving the family around the neighborhood to see the holiday lights. Watch out for high-powered lights, though. Hargreaves’ lights are more dangerous than delightful. 

  1. “When the Basilisk Wakes” by Alexis L. Carroll

Remember the farm animals who welcomed the baby in the manger? The cat and rooster chimera in this tale won’t soothe anyone to sleep, but it is a pretty badass monster.

  1. “The Children” by Braden M. Rohl

The holidays are magical for children. You might decide to read one of these stories to your sweet cherubs, but I wouldn’t recommend this one. This one is strictly for the adults.

Whether you read these all at once or savor them one night at a time, the tales in Chimera will make this year’s holidays memorable. What’s even better is you can give the gift of reading away. Be sure to order enough copies of this anthology (it’s a bargain at $10.99!) for all your friends and family. Make it a themed gift with a Lost Boys Press hoodie, T-shirt, travel mug, or beanie. Our holiday merchandise is ready for purchase as well. These unique gifts will be a delightful surprise under the tree or around the menorah and make the holiday season special no matter how you celebrate.

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