Every year the Finch family goes to the old family ancestral home at Finch’s Landing. Finch’s Landing has been in the family since their ancestor, Simon Finch settled in Alabama. He was a fur trader and eventually a slave owner who built a plantation there. Aunt Alexandra and her son, Francis, still live there, and Atticus’s brother, Jack, meets them for the holidays.
The Christmas celebration Harper Lee writes about is not a happy occasion for the Finch family. Atticus has just accepted the task of defending Tom Robinson, and Aunt Alexandra is not happy about it. When Francis calls Atticus a “nigger-lover” (something he heard from his own mother and Atticus’s sister), Scout gets into a fight with Francis. This episode shows how deeply racism runs in Maycomb and the South when even family members are calling each other derogatory names.