1. It’s Over

Siobhan lounged on the sofa, wrapped in a chunky knitted throw which she had bought for herself as an early Christmas present. Love Actually played on the television and although she was gazing at the screen, her eyes were glazed over. She’d seen it a million times anyway; she could quote the script in swathing chunks, and knew exactly what was going on even if her brain wasn’t committed to absorbing the images which played on the screen. Continue reading “1. It’s Over”

2. The Sugar Crush

Maisy took a stealthy look over her shoulder before ripping the gumdrop doorknob from the gingerbread house and popping it into her mouth.

“I think we did a good job with that house, Maisy! Your gran will be well impressed tomorrow.”

Maisy chewed as fast as she possibly could, taking care to keep her gaze towards the ground to avoid being caught out, but her pesky tongue got in the way of her teeth and she bit down on it painfully. Continue reading “2. The Sugar Crush”

3. Incarcerated

The cretins have locked me in again. I can only assume it is down to the cold, white fluff which is falling from the sky. It may be chilly, but it’s awfully pretty to look at and rather fun to frolic in. I suppose it will have to suffice that I watch it through the window, since I have been unjustifiably incarcerated. Continue reading “3. Incarcerated”

4. A Message

Red credits, accompanied by ominous 80s synths, floated on the television screen and lit up the faces of Carl and Dave. They basked in the glow for a short while, processing the last scenes of the season finale of their favourite Netflix original.

“I can’t wait another year,” Carl said morosely, shaking his head.

Dave shrugged and shook his head. “We could just watch the first two seasons over and over again until next year.”

“Yeah, ‘cos that won’t get old.”

The multicoloured fairy lights, which had been strung haphazardly around the artificial Christmas tree, began to blink. Carl and Dave turned in unison toward them. Continue reading “4. A Message”

5. Goldibear and the Three Lockes

Bears are capable of sniffing out food up to twenty miles away from them, and Goldibear was no exception. He’d noticed the distinctive whiff of squirty cream dance towards him on the icy winter breeze and, with nowhere else to go, decided to follow it. It had led him down a dark alleyway, over a garden gate, and up to the kitchen door of the Locke family’s house. Continue reading “5. Goldibear and the Three Lockes”

6. Special Delivery

“Go make us a cuppa, will you?”

Fiona pretended she didn’t hear her boyfriend, but inside she seethed. It was funny when he asked the first couple of times, but the further she passed her due date and the bigger she grew, the more that harmless little joke grated on her. Continue reading “6. Special Delivery”

7. A Cancellation

The Prime Minister listened to her advisors with an air of interest, but she knew their words wouldn’t change her mind. She was angry, and nobody could ever change her mind about decisions she made when she was angry.

“Please, Prime Minister, we implore you to reconsider.”

The Prime Minister rose from her seat and smoothed down her skirt. “Are the press ready?”

“I believe so.”

“Then I suppose there’s no time to reconsider, is there?”

“But the people need celebrations like Christmas. It gives them hope.” Continue reading “7. A Cancellation”

8. A Festive Tipple

The Coach and Horses was always quiet on Christmas eve. Save for a few three-decade-old Christmas decorations hung from the ceiling and the occasional play of White Christmas on the dukebox, festive cheer was scarce. And that’s exactly how the regulars liked it. Continue reading “8. A Festive Tipple”

9. Oh, Christmas Tree

Dani slammed the front door behind her, took one step forwards, then careened back into the door with a thump. She cackled, then dropped to her bum on the floor. She rived off her boots, wriggled out of her coat, then crawled on hands and knees to the kitchen.

She dragged herself back to her feet with the support of the dining table and chairs, then wobbled to the fridge, gripping onto the kitchen counter the whole way. She yanked open the fridge door and frowned at the paltry nourishment it had on offer. There was a half-empty tin of beans which had been festering for at least a fortnight, endless jars of and bottles of chutneys and jams and sauces, and very little else. Continue reading “9. Oh, Christmas Tree”

10. The Party

Alex sucked at the blood on his finger and winced, not so much at the pain, but at his own stupidity. It started with an invite amongst his closest friends, and now his mother’s best crystal glassware had been smashed by drunken louts he didn’t even know.

He was in for it when his parents returned from their holiday. He could try and tell them that the broken glass was just a little accident, but he knew the sick stained curtains and tiny dick graffiti on the floral wallpaper would raise a few suspicions. Continue reading “10. The Party”

11. Patient Zero

“I’m not serving you,” Holly said resolutely.

“I forgot my I.D! Come on, it’s Christmas eve.”

“And I’m all out of Christmas cheer. You wouldn’t believe how many other kids I get coming in here and begging me to let them buy their White Lightening ‘cos it’s Christmas eve. Christmas eve doesn’t change the law. Christmas eve doesn’t stop me losing my job when my boss watches back the CCTV and sees me serving kids who clearly don’t look 18. Go put the cider back, get yourself a Panda Pop, and then I’ll serve you.” Continue reading “11. Patient Zero”

12. Power Cut

“…there will be no Christmas cheer in the UK from this moment on.”

The television went black and so did the house.

“Oh. I thought they were just switching off the Christmas lights, not the whole country’s electricity.”

Kate snickered. “This country is going to the dogs.” Continue reading “12. Power Cut”

13. The Last Christmas

“I can’t believe this woman,” Jules said with a laugh. “She is absolutely batshit. She’s lost it. If she’s not sacked by the new year then I’ll lose all hope in this world.”

“I lost hope in it years ago,” Wayne muttered, curling his lip at the shot of the Prime Minister on the television. “It’s not a fair place, is it? People like her running things, and here we are.”

“None of that tonight; we agreed. Happy talk.” She hit the power button on the remote and sighed. “Let’s get the girls up, shall we?”

“No, they’ve probably only just settled with all the excitement, and if they get up now they’ll be tired and grumpy before we’ve even had lunch tomorrow.”

“Just for an hour so they can open a few presents. Please? I’m just… scared. That I’ll miss it.” Jules swallowed down the hard lump in a throat and forced her lips into a smile. Continue reading “13. The Last Christmas”

14. The Gift

Five mince pies are probably too many for one stomach to handle. Actually, scratch that; five mince pies are probably perfectly fine, unless four of them are smothered in brandy butter and the whole lot have been preceded by a large portion of fish and chips. In that case, the fifth one is enough to push the stomach from stuffed mode into painfully stuffed mode.

If I move now, I think my stomach will either split and spill fishy, fruity gloop all over the rest of my organs, or it will push fishy, fruity gloop back up my oesophagus and out of my mouth, all over Mam’s precious magnolia carpet. I better just lie here and let it all settle down.

And of course the doorbell goes. Continue reading “14. The Gift”