We recently asked Alison Littlewood, author of the fantastic The Unquiet House, what was on her Christmas Wish List and e thought we would share the answers with you.
First of all, every Christmas list needs a book. There’s always a book, isn’t there? This year, I’m hoping for The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. The editor, Jack Zipes, has produced translations of the original stories, the ones that existed before later versions stripped most of the darkness away. Here, Cinderella’s sisters slice up their feet to fit that slipper; Rapunzel has her ‘merry time’ with the prince; and the evil queen is no stepmother to Snow White, but her own dear parent. I’m also looking forward to reading new gems, like How the Children Played at Slaughtering. Well, the Grimms never did set out to collect their tales for children . . .
Next on the list is a pack of Santa’s Special tea from the Cumbria Tea and Coffee Company. Apparently it’s a loose leaf Ceylon complete with cinnamon, cloves and jasmine buds, but really, who cares? What matters is, it looks and smells like the most lovely festive pot pourri, and whatever those little red and green bits are, they are shaped like little teeny weeny Christmas trees. It’s gorgeous to look at and tastes like warming wintry wonderful goodness in a mug. If I don’t get any in my Christmas stocking this year there’s always chocolate tea, mocha chai or vanilla tea . . . (Ah! Tea!!) But really, it has to be Santa’s Special for me.
After a good Christmas dinner, I could probably force in one or two of these chocolate brussels sprouts, Vicar of Dibley style. Of course, some would say that chocolate sprouts are the best kind, but in the interest of avoiding arguments I shall move swiftly on.
There’s nothing like a bit of nostalgia at this time of year, so as the weather turns I might just treat myself to a new brolly from the Alice in Wonderland shop. It’s covered with Tenniel’s illustrations of some of my favourite characters from childhood.
Next on the list is what every well-dressed Christmas tree will be wearing this season. The blinking angels Christmas tree topper comes straight from Doctor Who’s nightmares to your front room . . . It’s a great excuse to sit about on the sofa, sipping fancy tea and staring at the deccies. After all, someone’s got to keep an eye on that thing, haven’t they?
And now, because pooches deserve presents too, I give you the zombie foot dog toy. There’s really no explanation needed for this one. It has to be worth it, just to see the neighbours’ faces as he tries to bury it in the garden.
Lastly, here’s a little present I give myself each year – the treat of watching this animated version of Neil Gaiman’s poem, Nicholas Was, produced by a motion design studio called 39 Degrees North. It’s festive and quirky and deliciously creepy, and I hope you enjoy it too. Happy Christmas!