Everyone has a a book in them, or so the saying goes. I reckon I've got at least three in me. The first is a novel I started writing one NaNoWriMo and quickly abandoned – but I may come back to it another time. The second is an autobiographical book about parenting a child with ADHD that I'm partway through writing now. And the third is about Christmas.
When I was a kid I thought Christmas was the same for everyone. Every family did things the same way as we did because – well, because that's what Christmas was. And as I grew up and spent Christmas with other families I found it odd that actually their Christmas was different to my Christmas – sometimes very different.
There was the family that always ate out on Christmas Day, rather than settling down to a home cooked turkey. The family who celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. The family who hid all the presents round the house in a mad treasure hunt, and the family who opened them so slowly there were still presents under the tree at New Year. Families who covered the house in lights and others who had a single unadorned plastic tree.
Christmas is different for everyone, and when we have our own families we take the traditions we liked most and give them our own twist, creating yet another unique Christmas experience. In our family my dad put the lights on the tree and we children decorated it. In our house now it's always my job to put the lights on the tree, and the kids' to add the baubles. But whereas the presents of my childhood remained hidden away until Christmas morning, now they slowly build up under the tree, with Katie squeezing and prodding the ones at the front to work out what might be in them!
Tell me about your Christmas!
So I'll get to the point of this post. I want to write a book about Christmas, to be published in December 2013, with at least 50% of the proceeds going to someone like Shelter or Crisis at Christmas. It's going to be about Christmas – my Christmas and your Christmas, the quirks and rituals and traditions that make every family's Christmas unique. But I need your help – I need you to tell me about your Christmas, either now or in the past. You might want to tell me about:
- Preparations – who does what
- Christmas Eve – what happens?
- Religion – church, mass, carols?
- Santa – what did you leave for him?
- Stockings/socks/pillowcase – or something else?
- Your Christmas tree and decorations
- Christmas Day – what happens?
- Traditions and rituals
- Presents – when/where? Best ones, worst ones, strangest ones
- Family – who visits? Where do they sleep?
- Anything else that made your Christmas special?
You could tell me about your Christmas this year, or about Christmas in your childhood – whether that was in the 40s, 60s or 80s. You can tell me as little or as much as you'd like. I'd also love to hear about Christmas in other countries because I'm sure there are some lovely customs and traditions that we never hear about. I'd love to get as many different Christmas experiences as possible – so please do get in touch. I'm planning on using first names only in the book with contributors thanked at the end, though you can remain anonymous if you'd prefer. And remember, I'll be donating at least 50% of the profits to a homeless charity, so you would be helping a great cause.
To tell me about your Christmas you can contact me here. You can either write it down or we can talk on the phone (or face to face if you're local to me in Oxfordshire) . Alternatively leave your Christmas experiences in the comments below, or leave a note asking me to contact you. I reserve the right to edit your story but will send you a preview copy so you can have final approval. And please do share this post far and wide – I would especially love to get stories of Christmas in countries other than the UK!