Christmas: chocolate for breakfast, dinner in pjs and sparkles for supper; fat men with presents, flying reindeer and a valid excuse to wear bells on your shoes..
I still write a letter to Santa. This year its mostly DVD box sets which made a friend raise her eyebrows and ask if HMV were my Christmas charity case. She’d the download queen – Netflix and i-tunes – but I like owning them. Being able to hold them in my hand, watch them at a whim even if my internet provider is playing up, and since I live in the middle of nowhere, it happens .. usually I get it back up and running to be told.. this option ran out while you were screaming at the little black box…
Got me thinking about books. Will the rise of ebooks benefit or hinder sales this Christmas? I imagine there will be a few Kindle Fires and Nooks under the tree but wrapping up an ebook? The present that makes gift vouchers look exciting?
It might translate into real book sales – those like me who still want to hold something tangible. There is something not quite real about virtual possessions, something that sometimes gives me an urge to check my i-tunes in the middle of the night not sure they haven’t just faded away..
I’m sure I’m not the only one with a sticky, red nose, just like the Royal Mail who this week surveyed the contents of Santa’s letters, before sending them on to the North Pole. Lego is making a comeback apparently. And I will be reading any and all conclusions with interest, nothing will sound the deathknell of print quite so loudly.
I’d like to hear silence. The sound of hundreds of hungry, busy eyes. Christmas and stories seem welded together in my mind – they are both about myth and magic and hope. Whether you are religious or capitalist or medieval, its a time of rebirth; where ends and beginnings meet. For gathering round fires and taking stock of where we have come from and conspiring where we might go. It is also a time when much of our days and world are shrouded in darkness, bleak and lifeless and as hidden as the recesses of the internet. What might lurk out there is a question that could throw up monsters, but it speaks to the hope in all of us that it also grew into Santa Claus.
So it surprises me to realise how few books about Christmas there actually are. When I went on Amazon to look all I could find were children’s pictures books and a few chick lit tales, which I would guess have far more to do with what happens under the mistletoe.
Every year we let this holiday turn our lives upside down. In the depths of harrowing snow storms and endless dark nights, family brussel sprout wars and in-law high councils we are surrounded by sparkling, red nosed and round-bellied idealism. It is the most fertile ground literature has ever not been sown in, emotionally, visually and viscerally. One of my ambitions in life – on that list of things I must do – is to make a Christmas film.. THE Christmas film… redefining the legends in a Tolkienesque manner, set in the heart of Sinterklaas land, the snow globe beauty of Vienna, the ornate elegance of Prague and the endless polar nights of the north… Maybe I should start with a book.
In the short term knowing my blogs will get thinner as the nights get longer, I thought I would do a short series on Christmas: the literary side. The most fun research has ever been.