Ho Ho Ho, bah humbug! This blogger who feels a misfit each December, finds herself, in topsy-turvy 2020, miraculously on track. Or is she? (Am I?) If everyone’s having an alternative Christmas, am I once again out on a limb? If I always opt for a minimalist Christmas, then my festivities will be (unlike most people’s) little different this year to last.
My newsletter, sent to subscribers last Friday, hosts the opening of Harry Potter’s Little Women and the Coronavirus Carol, this year’s publishing sensation that never was. Plus choral singing, and the alternative Christmas from my novel, Underneath. Click on the image to check it out.
Flash fiction challenge is back with a callout for stories featuring family traditions (Christmas and beans optional). I’ve based my on a deleted scene from my forthcoming novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, which was partly inspired by a Christmas in my late teens/early twenties when my sister’s flatmate spent the holiday in our house, but outside our rituals.
She hung her stocking for Santa above the fireplace. She helped Gran lay the Jesus figurine in the cardboard-box crib. She joined us singing “Good King Wenceslas” at the piano. She gobbled up Dad’s stewed sprouts. So why did she refuse to play Cluedo, preferring to sit with a book? She wasn’t averse to whodunnits. She’d plucked Evelyn Hardcastle from the guest-room shelf.
But she taught me the meaning of Christmas. Whether Christian or secular, it’s not about believing in myths. It’s a time to renounce our own ego. When we merge with the group, reunite with our tribe.
Henry’s traditional Christmas
Some years he’d treat Christmas as an ordinary day, turn off the television and eat beans on toast for lunch. Some years he’d put up a tree, wrap presents and roast a chicken, set an extra place at the table for Tilly, and another for his dad. Yet however he began the day, tradition claimed the final hour: leaving him seated by the fire, with enough whisky to engender a headache but not enough to assuage his grief. Or his shame in spending the day in frenzied anticipation of the greatest gift imaginable: his sister’s knock upon the door.