The twelve stories follow the Tully family - along with other founding members of Tullyport, a colonial town on the Coast of Maine - as they create traditions and celebrations that are unique, delightful, and rich with community connection.
From the Christmas Drum to the Children's Wig Parade to the annual Twelfth Night lighting of the Tullyport Lighthouse, the people of this colonial town bring traditions from their homeland and mix them together into a perfect American tradition.
Twelve stories total 3 hours and 40 minutes of new Christmas traditions!
About the Stories
Tale One: The Christmas Drum
In the story, Francis Tully and his family leave Ballyclare, Northern Ireland and arrive in colonial Maine in 1760 to see rocky shores, white pines and great possibility. They bring some clothes, some tools and an Irish frame drum that Francis insists will bring others together – to live, work and celebrate together.
Tale Two: Toys on the Doorstep
Francis Tully and Alistair Breen grew up together in Ballyclare, Ireland. Though they were opposites in many ways – one jolly and the other serious -- they were the best of friends. And eventually, Francis was able to bring his old friend to the new town of Tullyport Maine. During a particularly difficult Christmas season, they work together to bring some joy to children of their new town.
Tale Three: The Guiding Star
Jacob Tully, the youngest son of Tullyport’s founder Francis, is a bit lost. His siblings have always known what they wanted to do with their lives, but he simply isn’t sure. A visit by an unusual sailor and navigator by the name of Millie brings some sudden clarity into his life, not to mention a delightful addition to the town of Tullyport.
Tale Four: Four Legs to a Table
Eliza Tully has always been a clear-minded girl. The third child of the founders of Tullyport, she has shown little but unstoppable curiosity about the world. As a young adult, she leaves Tullyport to explore other continents – and returns filled with stories, languages, and ideas about how to bring connection to her much loved hometown.
Tale Five: The Star in the Apple
Marie Tully, wife of Francis Tully, has a gift for healing. In coming to America, she has left all of the native plants behind her, not to mention her mother and aunts, all of whom mentored her in the ways of medicinal herbs. And now she is expecting her third child. In a beautiful and surprising moment, she encounters Mikeh, an elder in the Wabenaki tribe, who offers to guide her and give her what she needs for the birth. Mikweh and his Wabenaki family give gifts to the Tullys that will sustain them for years to come.
Tale Six: The King's Keys
Burke Varde comes to Tullyport from Denmark, bringing a most delightful tradition: “the king’s keys”. In this tradition, children are presented with the gift of a key on their 6th birthday, along with the promise that it will someday unlock a part of their path. Burke arrives in Tullyport looking for work as a blacksmith, but has yet to find the lock that fits the key that hangs around his neck. That is, until he goes to help Francis and Alistair build the Tullyport lighthouse….
Tale Seven: The Children's Wig Parade
Tullyport has one tradition that stands out as the most unusual: a children’s wig parade! Credit for this tradition goes to a clever wigmaker by the name of Rory Lime, who hoodwinks the men of Tullyport into believing that, in order to be respected, they must purchase wigs of the French, English and American styles! When Rory disappears, the townsfolk realize they’ve been tricked – and instead of getting angry, they have a good laugh and start a new tradition.
Tale Eight: The Codbells of Tullyport Bay
There is a tradition in Tullyport in which the fisherman cease fishing during the Twelve Days of Christmas. They only put out to sea once during the season, on the 8th day of Christmas. And that is not to fish, but to address the “Codbells”, or sea fairies that tend to the cod. Whether they believe in the fairies or not, they all go out into the ocean, and declare their wishes for the coming year. This year, Francis’ Tully’s oldest son Carrick is 18, and he goes out alone to address the Codbells. When he makes the mistake of forgetting the Codbells and throwing in a line, it seems his hopes and dreams begin to unravel. Or do they?
Tale Nine: Blueberry Buccelleti
Georgio Mangiapane wants to make the best Buccelleti in all of New York City. And so, having heard of the magical blueberries of the northeastern coast, he travels to Maine to find the perfect ingredient. But a bear interrupts his dream, and it’s not New York that gets to enjoy his incredible pastries, but the families of Tullyport. Thus begins the tastiest of the Tullyport Christmas traditions.
Tale Ten: Ten Pair by Twelfth Night
Armen Zinger is Tullyport’s newest cobbler. And oh, he has a hard job to do! Everyone in town wants new shoes before the Twelfthnight Dance, and his orders are piling up. Armen also has a secret: every night he leaves his work out, in hopes that the elves will come to his aid. But each morning, he finds that it is just as he left it the night before. Now, only a few days before the 12th, he must work non-stop, much to the disappointment of his children. Then, that night, something magical does happen, that transforms the whole family.
Tale Eleven: The Feast of Eleven Sails
Long ago, an incredible thing happened on the eleventh day of Christmas in Tullyport. Eleven enormous ships appeared off the coast, set off-course by a large winter storm. The families of Tullyport gathered torches and lanterns, and lined the coast, guiding the lost ships to safety. But when the ships set sail from England, there were twelve. Where is the twelfth? Could its captain have guided it to Boston despite the storm? This experience inspired a yearly Christmas feast, to celebrate both the great joys of the year, as well as the hardships.
Tale Twelve: Lighting the Way
“The lighthouse must be done by Christmas,” insists Francis Tully, now 65 years old. His eldest son Carrick is coming home from Ireland, despite the unpredictable winter weather. Once it is built, Francis stubbornly insists on staying in the lighthouse, keeping the lamps lit for Carrick’s ship. He would miss all of Tullyport’s Twelve Days celebrations, were it not for the family and friends that bring the celebration to him. And when Carrick arrives, the full Twelfthnight celebration begins.