After forty years existing in the world, I’ve decided that winter is my favourite season.
Don’t worry, reader friend – I’m not seasonist. I still love the nodding-daffodil, new-life, chocolate-egg-ness of spring; the ice-cream, sun-cream, strawberries-and-cream happiness of summer and what’s not to like about the mulchy crispness of autumn?
But winter is the Big Daddy for me. We’re cosying up, we’re hunkering down, we’re roasting our chestnuts all in preparation for the big Ho Ho Ho. It begins for me around the end of October. The clocks thoughtfully go back, the heating usually thunk-hisses into life and then whizz, bang, wheee – Fireworks Night! This is the pre-cursor; the moment when I know something special is on its way. Not long afterwards, the Christmas lights start to appear in the towns and cities. As a devoted Londoner, I do love Christmas in the city. Cities know how to do Christmas in all its baubly, light-festooned glory.
So November begins calm and bright but towards the end of the month, the panic sets it. Did I remember to order those photos for my mother-in-law? No I did not and I have to do it today. Do my kids really need more plastic tat? It’s okay, I already know the answer. Will my husband and I both buy the next series of Breaking Bad? When am I going to find time to make my (now legendary in at least seven houses across the world) Nicey Spicy Christmas Chutney?
It is at this moment that I (and possibly you) need to stop. Because the other reason I love winter and Christmas so much is that it’s a good time to reflect. The landscape is stark and occasionally frost or snow-covered, the trees are bare and the world takes on a simpler and more stripped-down aspect. It’s the perfect time for a little introspection.
Before I was a published writer, I used to take a moment away from all the preparation and stress to sit down and write a Christmas story and then give it to my husband as a present. They covered lots of different subjects but in the end the message was always one of hope. Because I think that’s what Christmas is about for me; it’s about hope and it’s about love and you only find those when you take time to think.
This year, I was delighted to be asked by Helen Phifer, who is one of the awesome Writer Romantics to write a short story for an anthology they were compiling. Every story had to be winter or Christmas themed and end with a message of hope. All proceeds from the anthology are going to the Teenage Cancer Trust and Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I am very proud to have one of my stories included alongside such a brilliant and generous group of writers.
So, if you are a little overwhelmed by the Christmas preparations or need a reminder of what this time of year is really about, I urge you to download this book and order copies for all your friends and family.
Winter Tales is what Christmas is all about – love and hope. What more could anyone need at Christmas or indeed all year round?
Happy winter, happy preparations and if you can manage it, happy thinking time.