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Debut author Stephen Cox shares a short festive story about Cory’s first Christmas

Molly began her Christmas lists before the first jack-o’-lanterns appeared. Gene said a couple of times, as the lists got longer, ‘We don’t need to overdo it, Molly.’ But, yes, she thought, I do. If she died, she wanted on her tombstone Cory’s First Christmas Was Perfect.

In Our Child of the Stars, one chapter is ‘His First Christmas’.  We do see sometimes from Cory’s innocent, outsider eyes.  More often we see through his new parents, Molly and Gene, how children can help adults see life again as fresh.

Poets, artists, and writers need this.  My grandmother used to quote Pablo Picasso, but I have never found the original quote. ‘To see as a child is not to think as a child.’

When Molly was a child, Christmas mattered. It smelled of baking and preserves, things hidden in forbidden places, recipes cooked only once a year and foods not for now but later. There was lots of church and they could stay up for Midnight Mass and everyone sang the old songs. Stockings waited for Santa and there were carrots for the reindeer. Even when money was tight, there was always a book and sometimes a toy. Getting it right was something parents needed to do.

Writing about the festivals and firsts of Cory’s new childhood on Earth, I draw on the energy of my memories, and the great films and books that resonate.  Of course,there is also a story, and I’m afraid I like to drop great events at these great times.

But now she had this strange son for whom everything was new and exciting. Who yes-yes-please wanted to fill the house with the smells of cinnamon and ginger, with iced cookies that looked like reindeer . . . want to go see rein-deer . . . want to see North Pole . . . and yes-please to try baking fruitcake.

May we have hope, and may love prevail in 2019.  Fifty years or so after Cory’s first Christmas.

Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox is out 24th January, £14.99. Available now