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Kathryn Hughes: It wouldn’t be Christmas without…

For author of the Kindle bestseller THE LETTER, Kathryn Hughes, Christmas is a double celebration. With so much to to celebrate, she couldn’t just pick one thing…

It’s almost that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it, it’s difficult to ignore it.  For me, Christmas is always an extra special time of year because eighteen years ago I gave birth to my daughter on Christmas Eve.  She arrived around tea time, after much pleading from me to the midwife to make sure she was born this side of midnight.  It was only a two-hour labour so my daughter obviously felt the same.  No one wants a birthday on Christmas Day.

We’ve always tried to keep her birthday special, making sure there is a birthday cake, no joint Birthday/Christmas presents and certainly no birthday presents wrapped up in Christmas paper. We’ve always celebrated her birthday on the 24th though; she doesn’t have an ‘official’ birthday in the summer.  It’s just the way it is and she knows no different.

This year will be extra special because she turns eighteen and is looking forward to tasting her first glass of champagne – first legal glass anyway!  For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Ellen’s birthday and the two go hand in hand together. Every family has its own foibles and traditions which make Christmas what it is.  So, with that in mind, in the Hughes household, it wouldn’t be Christmas without…

  • The annual hunt for the turkey baster, a curious gadget which is never used at any other time of the year.
  • An argument over who sits on the pouffe at the dinner table, because we’ve run out of chairs.
  • Ginger Ale. Every year my husband insists on buying a bottle in case someone asks for a Whisky and Ginger.  In twenty-three years of marriage, no one ever has
  • Cursing the fairy lights.  Each year they are carefully folded away, wrapped up and stored in a box.  Nobody touches them for twelve months and yet when they come out again, they are all tangled up and half the bulbs don’t work.
  • Rushing out on Christmas Eve to buy the ‘emergency’ present.  This is something to be kept wrapped up but without a gift tag, in case somebody buys me something and I’ve not got them anything.
  • Board games. We’re a competitive family so even a quiet game of Monopoly can result in mayhem.
  • Brag. Three-card or Seven-card, as long as it’s for money, nobody cares.
  • The kids asking to ‘borrow’ some money they can bet with in the aforementioned card games. Needless to say I never see it again.
  • Asking my husband fourteen times to open the red wine to let it breathe.
  • Egg Nog.  Actually, I’m joking.  I’ve no idea what this is, I just like saying it!

Kathryn Hughes debut novel THE LETTER is available in paperback and ebook now.

Liked this? Catch up on…

…some of our other author’s festive traditions

…the gifts Emma Hannigan, Katie Marsh and Nicola Doherty would like to find under the tree this year