‘Tis the night before Christmas here in Europe and all through the house everyone is stirring in a desperate effort to get closer to the fireplace. It’s really, really cold, especially for those of us who have acclimatised to the Southern Hemisphere and are now being called wusses by all our Northern Hemisphere friends and family.
It’s the morning of Christmas for all of you in Australia and I suspect – I certainly hope – you are all a good deal warmer than me. Most of you are probably still in bed (funny how getting up at 5am to open presents seems less reasonable as you get older) and this message will reach you at some stage over a few lazy days spent relaxing and doing whatever you most enjoy in this lull at the end of 2011.
The business of the year is near wrapped up; the last of 2011’s books have been released, the bookshops are taking a well-deserved break and Possum Magic has topped the Boomerang Annual Advent Poll as our readers’ favourite Australian Children’s Book. Soon my email will be over-flowing again with announcements from publishers about 2012’s shiny new books but right now, with most businesses taking a few days off, it’s peaceful and – like the Christmas eve house in the poem – my inbox isn’t stirring.
I’d like to mark the occasion of this unusual and welcome time of peace and goodwill even if, like many others, I don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional Christian sense. Whether it’s a holiday for Horus, Mithra, Bacchus or Dionysus, whether it’s the Festival of Lights or the winter or summer solstice or just a couple of well-deserved days off work with your nearest and dearest, I hope you enjoy it.
Damien Kelly, a Northern Irish writer (who just released a Christmas-themed set of horror and suspense short stories this year called The Christmas Gifts, with plenty of ghoulish and creepy festive fare) blogs over at christmasmacabre.com has this greeting for everyone, and it’s so perfect for the occasion that I just have to share.
Because you’re great, it bears relatin’
From me to you, it’s worth restatin’
Raise a glass, invite your mate in
Whether or not the date’s worth ratin’
Take a break from What-You’re-Hatin’
Have a wonderful few days, whatever you are celebrating. I wish you a fantastic new year, filled with great releases from all your favourite authors, discoveries of awesome new authors and books and, of course, plenty of cash to pay for them all. A happy holidays to you all.