A Tree Without Presents

Written for my son’s first Christmas with memories of my childhood Christmases

“When is it going to be Christmas Mummy?” I had asked this question every day, sixteen times a day since half term was over.  

“Christmas is ages away yet…you’ll just have to wait.”

“But it’s been ages since the last one! Why can’t we have Christmas every day?” I never got an answer to that – grown ups just laughed and patted me on the head.

Finally the time got nearer and nearer and exciting things happened at school like nativity plays and Christmas dinner. The tree went up at home which I was allowed to help with. Baubles, tinsel, fairy lights and all good things.

“But where are all the presents Mummy? The tree has nothing under it. Does this mean we haven’t been good?”

“Father Christmas brings the presents on Christmas Eve so we’ll have to wait and see if he’s brought anything for us.”

“When is Christmas Eve Mummy?”

“Tomorrow.” I gave a little jump of joy.  

Tomorrow came. It was time for Father Christmas to bring his presents. I waited all day long and nobody rang the doorbell or left packages on the doorstep. Where was he?

We had lots of jobs to do…shopping to do and things to pick up. Mummy didn’t seem concerned that we hadn’t had any presents yet.

“When is Father Christmas coming Mummy?”

“He comes during the night when you’re fast asleep, but you have to promise to go to bed on time and sleep all night – he knows when you’re awake! Now shall we make him some mince pies? Do you think we’ve got enough carrots for the reindeer and brandy for Father Christmas? Did we get the magic reindeer food to show him where to land his sleigh?”

The day was going so slowly….we all cuddled on the sofa to watch a film and drink hot chocolate. The tree looked so pretty twinkling in the corner. How much better it would look if there were presents though!

We put the carrots and a mince pie on a little plate with a small glass of brandy. “Does Father Christmas really like brandy Mummy?” It smelled revolting!

“Oh he loves it!” She assured me.  

“But if he eats mince pies in everyone’s house he’ll never fit down the chimney!”

“Ahh but you forget that Father Christmas is magical and he can do anything.”

It seemed like night time would never come. I was so excited that I knew I wouldn’t sleep. Bath time and pyjamas and a glass of milk; my stocking was ready on the end of the bed. Mummy and Daddy lay on my bed with me to read The Night Before Christmas.

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

By the time Father Christmas was wishing everyone a good night my eyes were closing. I could see my flat empty stocking lying across the bottom of the bed. Would he come? Would I get to see him? What did he really look like? Zzzzzzzzz

I woke up sleepily not knowing where I was for a second and felt a heavy weight pinning my legs down. It was Christmas! “Mummy he came!” I ran into their room with my heavy stocking and jumped on the bed to open all my presents in a mess of wrappings and bows. “Wait I have to check something.” I zoomed downstairs. I peered in the lounge half expecting to see Father Christmas snoozing on the sofa. The mince pie was gone with just some crumbs left, the carrot too and the brandy was half gone and I turned to look at the tree and there was a MOUNTAIN of presents under it in every colour and size. I sat and stared in wonder and thought that now the Christmas tree looked just right. It was Christmas.   

 

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A free extract from “The Girl from the Sea”

This a short, tempting extract from my book which is published on Amazon to read on your Kindle.  You can escape into a youthful adventure, which will take you on a dramatic journey filled with kidnapping, danger, excitement, friendship and…murder.  If you like what you read please click here and purchase your own copy! 

“They opened a door to a cabin and shoved her inside.  It was dark, and cold and as her eyes accustomed themselves to the darkness she could see the unconscious man was already there, asleep on the bunk.  The door was slammed in Frankie’s face as they all went back on deck to make ready to sail.  She realised that her plan had been taken out of her hands.  Her dream of going to sea was turning quickly into a nightmare.

The noises of the boat being prepared for sea rang in her head.  Frankie rubbed her arms from where she had been grabbed and looked over at her roommate.  “Sir,” she whispered.  “Sir?”  No response.  She edged closer to him only to turn away repulsed.  The smell was overpowering – sweat, alcohol, and something unidentifiable to her.  She held the bile down that rose in her throat.  She reached a trembling hand out to shake his shoulder.  “Sir?  Can you help me?”  With her shake the man rolled towards her and she retched in horror.   His eyes had rolled back in his head and his mouth was fixed in a silent scream.  He had an ebony handled knife sticking out of his side between his ribs.  She identified the smell as rotting death.

She heard screaming inside her own head but realised that no sound was coming out of her.  She felt the boat swaying beneath her and blacked out.”

Front cover

 

The Girl from the Sea by me

This is a bit of shameless promotion – please have a look at my story and download.  If you enjoy it please feel free to comment on the amazon pages to help promote. “The Girl from the Sea” is about a young girl who witnesses a murder, gets kidnapped, nearly drowned and survives, making some good friends along the way.  Set in any coastal village about 150 – 200 years ago (although the time is not specified deliberately).

The inspiration came from the kind of books that I read as a young girl – Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and also from spending a holiday in West Wales which became the setting in my minds: jagged cliffs, hidden bays and lots of rock pools to explore in.  I hope you enjoy.