One special day – a cautionary Christmas tale

One special day – a cautionary Christmas tale by Bill McGuire is a short, seasonal special for our project on modern folk tales for troubling times


Ivy collapsed into the overstuffed armchair and let out an enormous sigh. It was so good to be able to relax after all the preparations. It was her favourite time of the year – no question, but there was so much to do and it always seemed to be over so quickly; fall asleep and you’d miss it. She took a sip from the mug of builder’s tea on the small table at her arm, and nibbled on a digestive. In her head, she went through everything on her to-do list; decorations; cards; presents; tree; and allowed herself a tiny smile as she mentally ticked everything off. A lot of people didn’t seem to bother too much now, just treated the day like any other – a real shame she always thought. It was a special time. Not only for celebration, but for quiet introspection; for pondering the meaning of it all.

She was just about to doze off, when the sound of the toaster popping up brought her to full wakefulness; and with it came anticipation. Hot buttered toast with tomato soup, followed by butterscotch Angel Delight. Mmmm. Tomorrow, it would be back to normality. It had taken an age to take down the decs, pack away the tree; hide the presents; and put the turkey in the bottom of the fridge, but it was so worth it. In less than twenty four hours, she would need to get them all out again, but for now, she just wanted to immerse herself in the joy and simplicity of the one day in the year she treasured above all others – June 21st, Not-Christmas Day.

She knew it couldn’t continue. Soon the commercial pressures driving the remorseless advance of Christmas creep would win out and it would be mistletoe and wine without end. How did that Christmas song from way back go? ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ Well, it wouldn’t be long now. Until then, she would savour every, single, tinsel-free moment.

Happy Not-Christmas everyone! Happy Not-Christmas!!



Bill McGuire is a contributor to Knock twice – 25 modern folk tales for troubling times,  (which makes an ideal present for the day that really is Christmas) Professor Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL and writes regularly for the New Weather Institute about our environmental predicament.

In 2018 New Weather will begin publishing a tale of the month here on this site in a continuing, practical demonstration of our belief that telling better stories about our current challenges is one of the best ways of freeing-up our minds to deal with them.

(nb: New Weather believes that getting together in the middle of winter to drink, eat, give gifts and generally have a great time is an entirely good thing, and that this can be done creatively, personally, and meaningfully without co-option by the dark side – and we all know what that is – and so, seasons greetings from us, regardless)

Knock twice, the paperback available from the Real Press

Knock twice, the ebook available from the Real Press

Knock twice, the Kindle edition and paperback


Photo credit: Creative Commons attribution.

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