Thursday, 17 December 2015

For all those Grinches out there: The Best Books for Christmas Haters - Emma Barnes

Lyn posted a beautiful post recently on the joys of preparing for Christmas. Her Christmas rituals and the pleasure she takes in them warmed the heart of even an old Grinch like me. Even so, I haven't been converted to the joys of knit-your-own-advent-calendar while rustling up a batch of mince pies. I deck the halls with holly with some reluctance (usually late, and with a scratched thumb). Hearing Slade in November is guaranteed to curdle my spirits. And I've yet to be convinced that Christmas shopping is anything but a pain, and inflatable glow-in-the-dark Santas anything but a health hazard.

So for all the other Grinches, Scrooges and old sour pusses, here are some Christmas books which are not all cosiness, snowscapes and Goodwill To All Men. Christmas is not always a perfect time of year, even for children.  Sometimes it's good to be reminded that things do go wrong.  And actually, that can be alright too.

Christmas is very hard work for some people.  One person who thinks Christmas sucks is Raymond Brigg's Father Christmas. Can you wonder at it? Getting up early, icy cold, a very long night with too many mince pies. “And a blooming Merry Christmas to you!”

Mog has been much in the public eye this Christmas - see her star performance here.  But even before her recent Christmas Calamity, her original outing in Mog's Christmas has her hiding out on the chimney in order to escape all the unheaval and the descent of all those relatives.  (I'm sure many will sympathize.)

Another moggy, Anne Fine's delightful anti-hero Tuffy, has a fabulous time dancing about in the Christmas pudding and getting locked in the garage.

Horrid Henry can also be relied on not to let any sugariness (other than the tooth-destroying variety) creep into the festive season.

This one might be my favourite funny Christmas read.  The terrible Herdman children take over the church Nativity Play and chaos ensues. The rest of the congregation tries to get them kicked out, and their minister is forced to remind everybody that when Jesus said suffer all the little children to come unto him he meant all the children – even Herdmans.

And finally, let's not forget the Grinch.

Go on then – what is your own favourite not-so-perfect Christmas book?


Emma's Website
Emma’s Facebook Fanpage
Emma on Twitter - @EmmaBarnesWrite
Emma's Wild Thing series for 8+ about the naughtiest little sister ever. (Cover - Jamie Littler)
"Hilarious and heart-warming" The Scotsman

 Wolfie is a story of wolves, magic and snowy woods...
(Cover: Emma Chichester Clark)
"Funny, clever and satisfying..." Books for Keeps


Unknown said...

Jesus' Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

It never fails to make me smile even when I'm feeling grinchy!

Emma Barnes said...

Julie - I like Nicholas Allan's books but haven't read that one - will have a look.

C.J.Busby said...

Love this post! I really enjoy Christmas, but I can relate to the darker feelings about it too. There's a great Louis McNeice poem, An Eclogue for Christmas, that starts "I meet you in an evil time. / The evil bells / Put out of our heads, I think, the thought of everything else". I used to go around quoting it at Christmas when I was in my late teens...

Nick Green said...

I do like the Grinch, because we find he's not actually anti-Christmas, he's anti-consumerism. That's what drives him nuts. And those lines, 'He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming. It came. Somehow or other, it came just the same.' Wonderful.

I only noticed recently that the metre is the same as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Emma Barnes said...

Yes, Nick, to be honest these books aren't necessarily anti Christmas so much as aspects of Christmas. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is actually the most Christmas-affirming book there is. But also the funniest.