Christmas Magic and Traditions by Penny Jones Part 2
Where did I put the bloody scissors?
The second part of our Christmas traditions comes when we are wrapping the Christmas presents. Again for this mind numbing, finger cramping, sellotape sticking fiasco, we want something cheery and Christmassy to pass the time. So as I peel the sellotape (and the skin) from my lips (ouch! Yes it did bloody hurt and I no longer rip the sellotape with my teeth), try to find the scissors which have gone walkies again, and wonder why we thought our second cousin’s baby would want a set of handkerchiefs. We put on the ever so Christmassy “Box of Delights”, again another Christmas staple I’m sure of many people. This BBC adaptation of John Masefield’s novel has the Christmas spirit in spadefuls.
From the moment it starts with the tinkling refrain of “The First Noel”, to the snowstorm and Christmas Eve Carol service at its finale, the whole series screams Christmas, and scream it certainly does. With witches, evil clergyman, demons and pagan magic; this is what Christmas is surely about.
Christmas Magic and Traditions by Penny Jones Part 1
The Gordian knot of Christmas lights
Christmas is a time of magic and tradition. But although I’m sure some families gather round their Christmas tree to eat mince pies and drink mulled wine, whilst others may go to their local church for midnight mass or to attend the carol service. Happily watching as their precious cherubs shuffle down the aisle whilst wearing a tea-towel on their head, or scratching at their tinsel halo. Our family have their own traditions (Okay we may do all of the above too; except for the mulled wine, I really hate mulled wine). However our traditions are sometimes a bit darker than the expected jolly frivolity of the season, but I’m pretty sure that when you look closely at your own family traditions, you’ll wonder yourself whether you are waiting for Santa or Satan.
Our festivities start when we put up our Christmas tree. The children (now 21 and 19 years old), still come up for the annual swearing at the tangled mess of lights, “picky food” (their term for a buffet), and the first annual showing of “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol” (one year we made the mistake of watching it before they came up, and they still haven’t forgiven us). Now that all sounds lovely and sweet. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, how Christmassy, and yes it is. There is a long tradition of ghost stories of Christmas, and The Christmas Carol is a wonderful reminder of the joys of the season. The loneliness of Scrooge, the slow starvation of the Cratchits, and the looming death of their son Tiny Tim, the family arguments with Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and of course poor Bean Bunny freezing on the streets of London.
So the four of us, safe in our warm house and with full bellies, decorate a superfluous tree with decorations that cost an arm and a leg, whilst singing along to the jolly songs that tell the story of greed, death and redemption. Oh happy times.
Leave out a saucer of milk, hang a horse shoe over the door, sprinkle a little iron round your doors and windows. The Queen of the Fae is coming.
We are delighted to announce the release of the latest novella by Shona Kinsella ‘Petra MacDonald and the Queen of the Fae’ with cover art by Tabatha Stirling.
Petra MacDonald is a bisexual, pagan artist who lives and works on a small Scottish island. While in a trance, she paints a young girl who has been abducted by the Queen of the Fae and it falls to Petra to save her.
She must travel Faery, collect three items for the Queen, escape the sex spell of the Selkie prince and steal the loyalty of her fae guard.
Can she bring the child home before it’s too late?
‘It was dusk when Petra came out of her trance, her arm sore from wielding the brush. Her hands were covered in paint and she could feel speckles drying on her face. She looked at the canvas and frowned. She had painted a young girl, facing away from the viewer, shoulders slumped and head down. That was unusual; Petra rarely painted people during trance work, except those she knew.
Even more notable was the menacing feeling of the painting. Shadows crowded around the child, claw-like shapes reaching towards her. As Petra studied the canvas she noticed the glint of eyes, peering towards the girl who hunched away from them.’