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“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo.

“And I’m desperate for socks,” groaned Dumbledour.

“At least we won’t catch covid from the wrapping,” squeaked Tiny Tim. “God bless us every one!”

If only these characters had come to me earlier, Harry Potter’s Little Women and the Coronavirus Carol could have been the publishing sensation of 2020. It would have had to be a choose-your-own-adventure narrative, however, since no-one knows for certain how it will end!

Has the virus cancelled your Christmas, ? Are you scaling down, carrying on as usual or holding out for a bigger celebration next year?

If you’re looking for inspiration, there are alternative Christmases aplenty in fiction, although some are pretty grim. Or if you want to escape Christmas altogether, there’s no better place than a book.

My second novel, Underneath, dedicates around twenty pages to Christmas and its build-up: a new couple’s negotiations over where to spend it; a flashback to boy being painfully disabused of the myth of  Santa; a retreat from the outside world with a love nest in the cellar that subsequently becomes a prison. You can read part of that by clicking here:

CHRISTMAS UNDERNEATH

My character, Steve, is relieved to avoid listening to his niece and her schoolmates singing Handel’s Messiah, but many of us – performers and audience alike – will be saddened to miss choral and carol concerts this year. For you, here’s the Self-Isolation Choir (including me!) singing Patrick Hawe’s haunting Quanta Qualia (composed long before the pandemic in 2004, yet fittingly about our yearning for connection), with Sophie Burrows on saxophone. Enjoy!

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: I can announce the winner of the second competition to win a copy of my forthcoming novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home.

Congratulations to Yvonne Carruthers and thanks to all who entered.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with some more suggestions of novels featuring alternative Christmases.

Also, if you’ve recently joined this list and are still wondering what it’s all about, bear with me until next year for a proper introduction. If there’s anything particular you’d like to ask, just hit reply.

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Author Anne Goodwin

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