Day 18. Sara-Jayne Townsend

Stories for Christmas

By Sara Jayne Townsend

Nothing in adulthood has ever matched the excitement I used to feel as a child anticipating Christmas morning.  For me, it was all about the presents.  New toys.  New books.  Occasionally people would boringly buy me new clothes, and I was rather less enthusiastic about those.

 Growing up in Lancashire in the 1970s, we used to leave a pillowcase out for Santa – a stocking just wasn’t big enough!  My sister and I would leap out of bed with excitement, go wake up our parents – they insisted they wanted to watch us opening our presents and as a child I never questioned why – and then gaze, for just a second, upon those pillowcase stuffed full of brightly wrapped parcels.  And then the excitement was just too much and we’d descend on the parcels and start tearing off the paper.

 Of course we always woke up early.  But the year after the Christmas morning we roused our parents at 2am (they’d only been in bed an hour), a restriction was put on what time we could start opening presents:  not before 6am.  We were generally awake by 5am, and waiting out that hour was just agony.  Knowing all the presents were there, waiting for us, and not being able to touch them.  As a distraction, I made up stories – something which was always my favourite pastime, even as a child.  I had a variety of dolls and soft toys.  They all had names, and personalities, and family histories, and to me each of them was a character.  I would ask my sister to pick the protagonist, and tell me what she wanted the story to be about.  I would then make up the story on the spot, making sure I wove in all the elements she had selected.  Sometimes I had to drag it out for a while, as the clock hands made their way up to the six o’clock mark excruciatingly slowly, and we could finally wake the folks and open those Christmas presents.

 Because of this, stories to me are inextricably linked to Christmas.  For me, the creepier the story, the better.  So I am offering as my Advent prize a copy of my short story collection SOUL SCREAMS – thirteen horror stories about the darkness of the soul.  Whether you are looking for a creepy story or two to relax with after your turkey dinner, or something to distract you at bedtime on Christmas Eve, these stories will fit the bill.

Soul Screams final cover2


I wish you a merry Christmas, full of good food, lovely presents and many spooky stories.

Sara Jayne


Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her stories invariably feature someone suffering a horrible death.  She lives near London with her guitarist husband and two cats. 


Learn more about Sara and her writing from her blog at and her website at


10 thoughts on “Day 18. Sara-Jayne Townsend

  1. Sara, reading your Christmas morning stories took me back to when I was little. I never woke up anywhere near as early but the stocking was always the first thing opened. No siblings for me but our dog always helped out with the unwrapping.

  2. Another evocative post. Made me remember the times my siblings and I would practice sneaking past our parents bedroom so we could get up very early on Christmas morning. We didn’t want to chance waking them and being sent back to bed. Anticipation is often the most exciting part of Christmas for me.

  3. I love these Christmas posts, they are so evocative and Sara-Jayne, you brought back many memories. Looks like a great read, very scary, I probably would want to make sure I had my dog with me when I curl up with it.

    • Thanks for commenting, Diane. Yes, the stories do look scary but I think they will be a fabulous prize. I know what you mean about evocative. I have learned so much
      from the authors posting here.

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