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