The Holly Wreath Man
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Teachers using this serial story in class can encourage students to continue reading it during the winter break.
Newspaper in Education

The Holly Wreath Man Web site

The St. Petersburg Times is publishing The Holly Wreath Man, a fictional story about the tide of progress and the power of love that binds families together. An installment will appear daily in Floridian (in Taste on Wednesdays) through Dec. 25.

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[Times photo: Cherie Diez]
Poynter Institute writing coach Christopher Scanlan and his wife, Katharine Fair, in their home office at their matching side-by-side desks. Working in their Pass-a-Grille home, they recently completed a story they envisioned 30 years ago about a harried executive who learns the true meaning of Christmas.
Related story:
A long-awaited Christmas gift
It's a wonderful life all right for a couple who, after nearly 30 years, publish a holiday story that might head to TV.

Christopher Scanlan was working as a reporter for the Delaware State News 30 years ago when he happened upon a story about a bygone industry.

During the first half of the 20th century, many farmers supplemented their income at holiday time by selling handmade wreaths to city dwellers. But by the time Scanlan wrote his story in the mid 1970s, the business had died because of strict fire codes and competition from artificial decorations.

Scanlan and his wife, writer Katharine Fair, decided to explore what would have happened if things had turned out differently. The Holly Wreath Man is the result of their many years of on-and-off work. First published as a newspaper serial in 2003, it is now available as a hardcover book (Andrews McMeel, $9.95).

Scanlan has worked as a feature writer for the St. Petersburg Times and national correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers. He is now a senior faculty member in writing at the Poynter Institute, which owns the Times. Fair, a freelance writer, was for four years the editor of Re Advisory News. They live in St. Pete Beach with their three teenage daughters.