And then, as I drove off to an appointment, I wondered (I do some of my best wondering in the car), "How does Imogene feel about Christmas?" (Imogene is the MC in my latest book.) "And how about Nora?" (The MC in another book.) The first book takes place in summer; the second at Easter. But I realized suddenly, that it doesn't matter when the story takes place: If you know how your character reacts to certain holidays and what those holidays conjure up for them -- Christmas, Thanksgiving; Boxing Day; Guy Fawkes day; Diwali (Divali); Kwanza; Ramadan; Hannukah; Mother's Day -- you've learned a lot about your character. It doesn't matter if the holiday figures in your story. Anniversaries of any kind are loaded with nuance, memory, and meaning in a person's life, and in the lives of your characters as well. Those anniversaries give you insights into their memory banks and what to draw on as they turn to other meaningful moments. They are as important as age, height, physical characteristics, favorite colors, treats and toys, wishes or dreams of the future, and even bad habits.
So now I'm on a treasure hunt of sorts: Given the culture of my differing heroines, and knowing their settings, I'm on a hunt to find out how the calendars of holidays in their respective worlds play out in their minds.
How about you? Do you know how your characters relate to their holidays? Are they happy? Nostalgic? Rebellious? Conflicted? Reminiscent? Excited? Do they wish it were like some other year they would revisit if they could? Do they want it to never end? Do they just want to get through it? Are they oblivious and just going along, not thinking? Visiting those questions might surprise you.
Let me know what you find out.