Tag Archives: 12 Days of Christmas

On the 12th Day of Christmas…

And finally, thanks to John for another suggestion about unwanted Christmas gifts, here is the 12th Day of Christmas. I probably won’t have chance to do Friday Fiction tomorrow, so if I don’t, see you next week! and Happy New Year to you all.

Unwanted Gifts

Jesse began to sort another pile of “unwanted gift” returns for restocking. As he threw a t-shirt into the “Men’s” pile, something fell onto the floor. He hastily picked it up.

 

“To You” the envelope said. Jesse ripped it open. Inside was a £100 note folded in a sheet of paper.

 

“’Jack – if you’ve kept your gift and found this: Happy Christmas! If, as I expect, you’ve returned it for the money, more fool you. To the store worker who finds this, enjoy Jack’s real present. And the lesson of what a little gratitude would have earned him. Aunt Sarah”

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On the 11th Day of Christmas…

Thanks to Stacey for the suggestion for today’s piece … 10 Lords a-Leaping (although, I was always taught 12 Lords… it doesn’t matter, same principles apply). One day left and then we’re back to normal service. Happy New Year!

10 Lords A-Leaping

“What are you writing?”

“A song, but I’m stuck on this alliteration. The maids are milking, the swans swimming and the partridge is in a pear tree. What do Lords do?”

“Leering?”

“Realistic, but not very family friendly.”

“Lording?”

“Hah! No!”

“They could be laughing.”

“They could, but I feel lords would be more likely to chortle or guffaw than laugh.”

“How about leaping?”

“Like salmon? Ten salmons a-spawning? That’s going to be hard to wrap! Mind you, so are leaping Lords and milking maids. Sod it, leaping will do. Right, that’s that finished.”

“Err… shouldn’t the geese be gaying?”

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On the 10th Day of Christmas…

I asked my husband to give me some inspiration about Christmas, and he said “Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,” so that’s today’s title. If you would like to help me with tomorrow or the next day – the last 2 days of my 12 day project, I’d love to see your suggestions. Otherwise, normal twice-a-week service will be resumed after that. As ever, comments are my favourite things – please feel free to leave them.

Then, one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa stopped by his friend Ifan’s house.

“I’m not sure I’m up for this any more,” he said.

“What? But you can’t just stop!”

“Why not? Most people don’t believe in me any more, and even those that do want named brand products, not the sort of stuff the elves can build in the workshop. It’s heart breaking.”

Ifan pulled out a chair and passed his friend a cup of low-fat hot chocolate. “You once told me that if one child believed in Christmas, it was still worth it to do the job.”

Santa stood up and guided his old friend to the window. “See that out there? That’s freezing fog. The reindeer will grumble, Mrs C will gripe about the anti-social hours, the children won’t like their presents and the parents will eat my mince pies and drink my sherry. You really think I still believe that stuff?”

Ifan looked at the sleigh loaded up outside, at his friend’s big red coat and hat – quite different from his usual evening wear, and he smiled. “Yep! I think you’re teasing an old friend.”

“Works every year,” laughed the fat man, heading for the door. “Merry Christmas!”

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On the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Days of Christmas…

After a brief delay in posting while I was out of internet access, here are the last few days of posts on the 12 Days of Christmas:

5th Day of Christmas:

Thanks to John for today’s inspiration, another cheery view of Christmas!

A time for Mums to get frazzled in the kitchen?

I poked at the turkey and juices eased up over the fork then drizzled down the sides onto the plate. The sprouts were boiling away happily to themselves – Jane always said she ought to put them on the night before, just to be certain they were done, but I suggested that to Mum and she said she thought it was a joke. She said no more than 8 minutes. They have already been on for ten but if I turn them off they’ll go cold.

I had hoped Mum might come over and cook for us, but she seemed to think I needed to do my first Christmas without Jane with just the boys. So there I was in the kitchen, poking the turkey and trying not to throw the whole thing on the floor when the pan spat hot fat onto my arm. Leon walked in just as I let out a word he shouldn’t hear.

“Daddy, can we open presents yet?”

I put down the pan and picked him up. “Sure. Which one do you want to open first?”

“We can’t start,” said James from the hallway. “Mummy isn’t here yet.”

Dealing with the non-existence of Santa Claus with an eight year old without his little brother finding out isn’t easy in a one bedroom flat. Explaining that Mummy doesn’t love Daddy anymore is about a hundred times worse.

 

6th Day of Christmas:

Thanks Victoria for today’s inspiration, which was a really challenge, but made me laugh out loud! Since it’s Friday I’ve stuck to the 100 word limit, although that doesn’t include the title, which is Victoria’s phrase.

This Christmas, I promised myself, I wasn’t going to throw chocolate sauce at the snakes. No matter what.

The first year was an accident. I was shaking the bottle and I didn’t realise that the cap was loose, or that my baby boa Flora was lounging on the couch. Last year it was deliberate, because Flora, now adult, had decided that my foot would do best to be starved of blood supply. I grabbed the bottle and poured it onto her head.

But now I know the proper way to free myself, I would like think I can get away without using the sauce. I keep a bottle by my bed though, just in case Flora gets lonely.

 7th Day of Christmas:

Thanks to John for the third in his collection of suggestions: What price indigestion tablets or hangover pills?

I’m standing in front of the bathroom cabinet trying to work out which packet to open first, and how to do it without taking my fingers out of my ears. It says on the “all round hangover treatment” pills that I can’t take them with either the painkillers or the indigestion pills. They also claim to be super strength and that I only need to take one. But then, they don’t know it’s Boxing Day morning, or that my niece hasn’t stopped screaming since the Queen asked God to bless us all, let alone what the stuffing is doing to my insides. Eventually I unshield my ears, rip two tablets out of each packet and swallow them with a shot of whisky. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Her Maj has got the Almighty on my side.

 8th Day of Christmas:

No suggestions for the 1st of January, but as this is the Twelve Days of Christmas…

When it started, I was flattered. A partridge can be cooked and goes rather well with pears, and the tree looked nice in my bay window. Turtle doves sing beautifully, and having a pair saved them pining. I moved the first pair tree to one side of the window and placed the other in mirror to it. I sent the second partridge to Mother, who was very grateful. By day four, I was beginning to wonder if he had a thing about fowl. The French hens pecked around the back garden, and the doves still just about fitted in the cote. Uncle Laurie seemed perplexed by the partridge / pear tree combination, but not unhappy at the gift. But now it’s getting silly. It is just over a week since Christmas began, everyone I know has a pear tree in the window and a partridge in the stomach, the yard is awash with birds and there is absolutely nowhere to put more than a dozen milking maids. Tomorrow, he promises, will be the last day of Christmas. I have told him that, whether it is or not, it will be the last day of our relationship.

 9th Day of Christmas:

When they had balanced the head on top, the children took a step back.

“It’s wonky,” said Lance.

“Don’t touch it,” Louise warned, “You’ll wreck it.”

But boys always know best, as Lance was well aware. He reached up and pushed the top ball of snow on straight. For a second it teetered at the perfect angle, but then it rolled onto the ground and smashed like a glass bauble.

Louise held her breath and watched her brother go through the series of emotions from shock to sadness to learning. She said nothing, but began to roll another head. After a couple of minutes, Lance came over to help.

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On the 4th day of Christmas…

Thank you to Ivan for today’s inspiration, the phrase “No one believed in Santa any more, so why bother with Christmas?” For the record, I am not trying to influence anyone’s views of Christmas or where its magic lies, I’m just messing about with everyone’s inspirational phrases. This time I’m particularly interested to hear what you think about the ending – does the last paragraph add anything or take away from the previous paragraph?
 
For your amusement, while I was researching this, I came across this page, which made me laugh out loud: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_santas_reindeer.htm
 
If you enjoy this, please consider leaving a suggestion for one of the later days of Christmas in the comments, either here, or on the original “12 Days of Christmas” post from last week. Thanks!
 
The Magic Of Christmas
 
“He’s not actually magic, you know, it’s just a dude in a red suit.”
 
Donna sighed. Her sisters’ doubt saddened her. “If even we don’t believe in him, why bother with Christmas at all?”
 
Dasher and Blitzen laughed. “It’s money!” Blitzen said, “Money pays the bills, puts food on the table. Without Christmas, how would we get our carrots?”
 
Donna turned away. She walked to the edge of the wood and watched a dog sled rushing by, the couple on board gazing intently at each other and smiling. It looked like Christmas was still magical for them. She wondered where they were going.
 
Cupid appeared through the trees to her left and whistled to her. “You’re pensive, sister. Care to join me for a nip of brandy? It is Christmas, after all!”
 
“Is that what Christmas is about? Alcohol?”
 
“No, but it’s a start. Got to do something to drown out the children’s squeals!”
 
“But they’re happy squeals,” said Donna.
 
“Happy. But loud.”
 
Donna blinked away a tear and raced out of the forest, away from the rest of the reindeer. She couldn’t face their cynicism any longer – she believed there was magic in Christmas somewhere and she wanted to find it. She raced along the sled-tracks, following the couple – the only hint of magic she had seen tonight. The tracks led to a tiny white church, glowing from inside with a warm light in the dark winter’s night.
 
Donna crept up the steps towards the cracked-open door. The scent wafting out was sweet and bitter at the same time, the air thick, bright and warm. Suddenly, the step creaked under her hoof. She paused and held her breath. She could hear singing inside, a song about choirs of angels; then a hand touched her flank and she turned to see a small angel with a wonky halo beside her.
 
“Hello,” said the angel, “I’m Jocelyn. Come in, Mary and Joseph have just arrived at the stable.”
 
Donna followed the girl down the aisle towards the altar, which was glowing with candles lit all around. People turned and stared at her, but she felt safe and loved. When they reached the front of the church, she looked up and saw a painting of Santa Claus, his long white beard flowing over white robes not red ones, but it was the man himself, of that she was certain. And here were more than a hundred people standing together and singing to him. He was the father of their Christmas, and it was magical.
 
When the singing finished, children came forward and petted her. She felt their hands on her flanks and saw the magic in their eyes. Here, at last, was the magic of Christmas.

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On the 3rd Day of Christmas…

Thank you to John for today’s inspiration, the phrase “Is Christmas a time for families or family arguments?” I’m not sure if this answers your question or not!
 
If you enjoy this, please consider leaving a suggestion for one of the later days of Christmas in the comments, either here, or on the original “12 Days of Christmas” post from last week. Thanks!
 
Sally was screaming. I walked into the living room just in time to see her aim a cracker at Kevin’s head. It would have been funny if her face weren’t so murderous.
“She’s barely older than our daughter!” she yelled.
There was no chance of their being disturbed by my entrance, but I hovered in the doorway anyway, not sure whether to beat a retreat into the kitchen or stay and watch. There was something curiously fascinating about watching a marriage disintegrate, even on Christmas Day.
“It was a mistake,” Kevin replied, his usual calm demeanour cracking as he shielded himself from another swing. “I’m sorry. Can we just try to get things ready for when the girls arrive? No point ruining their Christmas too.”
“Oh, sure,” Sally had dropped the cracker now and was reaching towards a dinner plate. Her voice crackled with rage. I finally broke off my attention and stepped backwards, pulling the door closed behind me.
“Dinner’s ready,” said Mum when I reached the kitchen. “Can you call everyone through?”
“I think we need to give them a minute,” I indicated the living room door. “It’s about to get deadly!”
“They can catch the repeat,” Mum replied; she wasn’t having Christmas dinner delayed just for the sake of my brother and his wife’s Coronation Street obsession. “Owen! Turn off that television and come on in to dinner.”

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On The Second Day Of Christmas…

Thank you to Jackie for today’s inspiration, the phrase “Oh no, another day with the relatives.” I hope this fits with what you imagined!

If you enjoy this, please consider leaving a suggestion for one of the later days of Christmas in the comments, either here, or on the original “12 Days of Christmas” post from last week. Thanks!

At Night At Uncle’s Inn

My uncle pushes the door closed and comes back to his seat in front of the fire. “More scroungers,” he scowls. “She was even pulling the pillow up the dress trick, like I’ve never seen that one before. No more pregnant than I am.” He picks up his tankard and toasts it towards my Grandmother, who hasn’t moved from her chair since lunchtime, so that I am wondering if she might perhaps have died.

“You didn’t turn them away?” says my aunt, “We’ve two empty rooms upstairs.”

“Those are for paying customers. Nobody who pulls that trick is going to pay their bill tomorrow. We still might catch a couple of late night tradesmen.”

My aunt pushes back her chair and stomps out of the front door. I hate coming here; they fight constantly, my Grandmother smells of rotten food and sharing a bed with my cousins makes my skin itch next day. But Mum insists that spending time with our relatives is good for my spirit. She and Dad have gone to bed already, but I need to stay up as long as Eugene does or he’ll tease me about it tomorrow.

 

“There. I’ve put them in the stable,” she crows when she comes back a few minutes later. “They’ll pay half rate. It’s better than nothing.” She picks up a piece of mutton and puts it to her mouth, then stops and turns to her husband, taking the tankard from his hand in one swift move. “Oh, and you’d better lay off the beer, protect our baby. I’d be surprised if she didn’t pop tonight. Pillow indeed!”

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