All my families love Christmas.
As a little girl from New York, I remember a tree so tall it rivaled the Manhattan skyscrapers. My mother decorated every inch of our little apartment and the aroma of her cooking wafted through the windows and lured crowds from blocks away.
Of course, coven life was different but Christmas was remarkably the same. Peace, love and hospitality that bridged species and set ancient vendettas to rest for one sparkling night.
Duke Banitierres’ mission for the season was to surround himself with as much family as possible, and mend the broken pieces of their unconventional souls in the warmth of his home.
The first weeks of December were filled with shopping in New Orleans but holiday central was at the plantation, sixty miles up the Mississippi River. Every room had its own tree, trimmed in a unique theme. For a week of nights we exchanged gifts, in the grand parlor, swamped in the glorious mess of wrapping paper, ribbons and bows.
On Christmas Eve, all roads led to Normandie Hall. One candle in the window, turned into a candle in every window.
Family and friends from around the globe, some who never attended a party or ceremony all year, always found their way through the arches of the white mansion. String quartets, brass bands and piano artisans took turns serenading a celebration that didn’t end until the sun came up.
Now, our Highland Christmas is traditional and austere. Bonfires and bagpipes on the lonely moor, a simple tree with white lights and a twinkling star; the beacon that has welcomed generations home for centuries.