Friday, 14 December 2012

Jingle Bells

This week, L K Jay remembers when Christmas meant you got proper presents and she suddenly starts becoming nice.  Oh yes, it’s that time of year again when we demand to have our Christmas stockings well and truly filled.

I’m sure Christmas has become more rubbish since I was a child in the 70s.  For one thing, Christmas doesn’t start a couple of weeks before December anymore.  I’m sure last time I checked, it was on the 25th December but no, according to the retail outlets of the United Kingdom, it starts back in September.  In fact, as soon as they’ve sent their unsold Easter eggs back to the supplier, they are changing the displays in favour Santa and his little bloody helpers.  They’ll have to put him in shorts soon, because it’ll be summer when they start their Christmas marketing campaign.

When I was a kid, we had to wait until December actually arrived until the Christmas tree was dragged out and even then, it didn’t go up until about a week before the big day itself.  And we had proper presents then instead of X-box-Kinetic-iPad thingies.  I really looked forward to getting my longed for Etch-a-Sketch but the best of all was my Girl’s World.  There wasn’t anything at all weird then about giving a young girl a dismembered plastic head that she could practise putting make up on so it looked like a murdered tart.  And then there was the time when I decided to use the Girl’s World make up on my own face, so I could look pretty like my plastic severed head, just before we were going to visit our extended family.  That went down well.

And what makes me even grumpier is the fact we have to pretend to be nice and good to each other, just because it’s Christmas.  Apparently we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ but now it’s more about spending money we don’t have in an orgy of retail gluttony.  By all means get together with the people you actually like and have a knees up, eat some nice food and get a bit pissed.  But for the love of Christmas, check on the little old lady who lives on her own in your street, in fact, invite her round and share your food and booze.  Spare a thought for the homeless, the lonely and the dispossessed.  If Christmas is about giving, then let’s give something to someone who doesn’t have as much as we do, even if it is just our time.  And here’s a crazy thought, instead of just doing that at Christmas, why don’t we do it ALL THE YEAR ROUND!

Here endeth L K Jay’s Christmas sermon.

And now for the writing news.  Christmas arrived early for me this year as I got to meet my crime-writing hero, Ian Rankin.  He gave a talk at Ely Cathedral about his new novel ‘Standing in AnotherMan’s Grave’ and he was both interesting and funny and was even nice to me when I gave him one of my post-cards advertising my own writing on Amazon.  He said he would read one of my stories and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  He probably just wanted to get rid of the pushy blond bird (me) but regardless of that, he was a proper gent.

I also appear in the new edition of Jeff Bennington’s ‘Creepy 3’ anthology – so many thanks for letting me put one of my ghost stories in there.  It’s a great download at 77p and has lots of ghost related fiction and non-fiction.

From today until Sunday 16th December, my short story ‘The Hare and the Gallows Tree’ will be free to download.  So with the money you save from that, you can give some to ‘Crisis at Christmas’ a charity that opens shelters for homeless people over the Christmas month.


  1. A child in the seventies? Makes me feel really old, especially as I was born in the fifties, and when YOU had an Etch-a-Sketch and I had to make do with the wooden toy ... well, it was wooden, and I used to shape it into a toy. Well, not exactly shape it into one, but I had a vivid imagination, and that old tree branch was a versatile bit of kit. I used to get a new one every Christmas: no scrimping in the Bennett household, nuh-huh!

  2. *standing ovation* fantastic post! It really appealed to us hum buggers :D We don't feel the need to celebrate Christmas because we believe in giving all year round. Why should you only show compassion on one day of the year then spend the rest of time plotting the demise of the human race - most notably the family you're forced to spend the day with. And you're right about it starting in September - they put put wrapping paper before Halloween decorations. If they put Halloween decorations out in July, people would complain.
    We're so jealous you got to meet Ian Rankin! And well done for giving him your postcard - smart move. It's such a cool postcard so if he doesn't check it out, shame on him!
    Well done for getting in the anthology! We'll have to check it out.

  3. Girl's World ... ooh, that brings back some memories ... those long-lost, innocent days when applying make-up to a severed head was not in the slightest bit creepy. I seem to remember that my sister and I once got into trouble when we decided to give her a whole new look by cutting her hair really short - i.e. bristle length - and she suddenly looked less like every little girl's dream than a middle-aged activist from Greenham Common. And it amazes me now when I remember how many hours of fun could be got out of making Barbie and Ken do rather risqué things together... :-)

    Congrats on being in the anthology. I'll have to download a copy - I love a good festive ghost story. And good on you for giving Ian Rankin a postcard. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    Anyway, have a good Christmas, insofar as such a thing is possible once you reach adulthood. At least it's a good excuse to spend a few days indulging just about every bad habit you have!

  4. Ooh, you got to meet Ian Rankin? That's pretty cool! I'm usually a sucker for Christmas, but this year I have no notion of it. I can't be bothered with all the Christmas tunes on 4Music and I am not enjoying the shopping part. I think the media and shops really have put me off by ramming it down my throat since the middle of August - yes August! We get cards in the shops just after the schools go back up here. Shocking. Roll on New Year, I say!