The sun is sparkling on the frost outside my window, and my calendar keeps reminding me it’s that time of year again. Less than a fortnight to go to the Big Day for those of us whose winter festival begins with C.
So it’s time for my annual letter to the white-bearded spherically challenged guy in the red suit.
First of all, thank you for an OK year. Nobody died, no one among my nearest and dearest was whisked into Accident and Emergency, the floods and hurricanes and general meteorological mayhem passed by some distance away. We enjoyed a couple of good holidays (sorry, vacations) with only the odd mishap; I saw some great shows, read some great books, made contact with some friends I haven’t seen for a while. And we chased the developers off our beautiful field.
What I’d really like to ask for is more of the same. I’ve come to the conclusion that excitement can be overrated, and usually has to be paid for in some way. Of course, if you could arrange for a publisher to take off the gloom-coloured glasses and realize that my novel is a stunningly-written masterpiece with a gripping storyline and the potential to outsell Fifty Shades... , that would be wonderful. But first I have to check it comes within a million miles of that description. And raise the courage to send it out again.
And while we’re being unrealistic, here are a few more things you might dig around in your sack for.
Peace in the Middle East. There’s been a dire need for that for a few years now.
A little common sense in the places Britain, Europe and America seem to feel a need to pass judgement on and send troops. Don’t get me started on that.
A little more common sense among bankers, politicians, anyone who is in a position to exert influence on the way the world turns.
Enough food, medicine and rain in Africa. Please.
OK, let’s be sensible. All I really want, apart from world peace and an end to hunger, is a happy life for the people I love. And bestsellers for all my writer friends.
And for booksellers and librarians all over the world – a better year than the past two or three. I can see a certain benefit in eReaders, but there are few pleasures greater than wandering between aisles of real books, touching the spines, reading the blurbs and first pages, feeling a little overwhelmed because there’s so much good stuff to choose from. And a strong base of people who buy books will help with the bestsellers request.
For everyone still picking up the pieces over in New York and New Jersey, it would be good if you could manage a positive attitude, swift action on insurance claims and plenty of good weather to expedite the repairs.
On the family front, a little, no, a lot less stress for my beleaguered sister, who has not had a good year. For my husband, anything he wishes for himself. For my brilliant daughter, the same thing I always ask for: health, happiness, a job which stimulates and rewards her as she deserves, and enough spare time and energy to allow her to get down to writing that bestseller. And lots of calorie-free chocolate.
And if you could find some stronger glue for my dentist, that would be good. He keeps repairing my teeth (too many sweeties from my grandpa's shop when I was a kid – let that be a warning to you, children!) and the repairs keep falling out despite his best efforts.
Oh dear – this all sounds awfully serious, doesn’t it? Let’s add plenty to smile about to the list. For everyone, not just me.
I think I’ll leave it there. Don’t want to be greedy. Would you prefer chocolate chip cookies to mince pies this year, Santa? You only have to ask.