Christmas Memories with Morton S. Gray

Earlier this week we celebrated the release of Morton S. Gray’s new novella, Christmas at Borteen Bay. Today we welcome her onto the blog to talk about her memories of Christmas past. Do any of her Christmas traditions match up with yours? 🎅

Writing Christmas at Borteen Bay, my first Christmas novella, made me think about what Christmas means to me and to examine my childhood memories.

We always had a very traditional Christmas when I was growing up. Mom and Dad would take us to choose a real Christmas tree each year and there would often be a disagreement about the size and shape of the tree. I can remember at least one occasion when Dad had to cut the top off the tree to fit it into the room!

We would then open the boxes of decorations retrieved from the loft. Cue more angst as we tried to get the lights to work – in those days you had to check each bulb, as just one not screwed in correctly would result in the whole set not working. It was always a relief when the tree was at last illuminated and then we could get out the decorations, some of which were quite old. The glass icicles Mom’s Dad had bought home in the war from goodness knows where (I still put these on my tree now). The cardboard glitter house with Santa on the roof, which had been on Mom’s Christmas trees for as long as she could remember. The glass candy cane my nan bought for me. The Santa and sleigh for the fireplace shelf. It always seemed (seems) magical to get these items out of the boxes.

My father’s employer usually gave staff a Christmas bird and a bottle of alcohol as a Christmas bonus. They must have had some unwritten rating system, as if you got a chicken and a bottle of cheap sherry, it seemed they weren’t pleased with your performance. One year, Dad got a huge turkey and an expensive bottle of whisky. Mom wasn’t very keen on how the turkey sat on the refrigerator shelf and it was almost too big for the oven, but I guess Dad must have worked well that year.

We used to have much deeper snow when I was young. I had a huge sledge which my uncle had made. On one occasion I took it to the local park with friends. Four of us hurtled down a steep bank and hit a bump at the bottom. The three friends at the front fell off into a snow drift and I was the only one still sitting on the sledge.

We placed empty pillow cases at the bottom of our beds for Santa to fill. At that time, I shared a room with my sister, who was seven years younger. I always enjoyed watching her open her presents before I looked at my own. One Christmas morning, my sister woke me very concerned that Santa hadn’t been. Our pillow cases were still empty. We went to tell our parents and discovered that their room was festooned with Christmas gifts. Mom and Dad must have overslept their ‘Santa alarm’. My sister and I then had to guess which gift was meant for each of us – which was actually quite fun. A Christmas to remember for sure!

Christmas at Borteen Bay is now available to purchase as an eBook and in audio. Click here for purchasing options:

Happy Publication Day Kathryn Freeman and A Second Christmas Wish!


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Especially now that we’re celebrating the release of the festive paperback of the season – A Second Christmas Wish by Kathryn Freeman! Kathryn has joined us on the blog today to talk a little bit about the book and also her first magical memories of Christmas (which of course include satsumas!) …

Today is an exciting day for me – it’s the paperback publication day for A Second Christmas Wish. The book features William, a very special little boy, who sadly doesn’t believe in Father Christmas.

When I was writing it, memories of Christmas when I was a child came flooding back. Unlike poor William, I had no hesitation in believing in the man in the red suit. And why wouldn’t I? A few weeks before Christmas I would write him a note, letting him know what I wanted for Christmas. Sometimes he even wrote back (it was years later I learnt those handwritten notes, beautifully penned in black ink, had come from my neighbour). Then on Christmas Eve, full of dizzy anticipation, I’d put my stocking on the end of my bed and dive under the covers. I was desperate to get to sleep quickly, because the faster I did, the earlier Christmas Day would arrive.

The first thing I did on Christmas morning, was wriggle my toes. Even now I can remember the joy of feeling the heavy weight of a present laden stocking. And presents weren’t just jammed into the red stocking, they spilt over onto the bed. Bubbling with excitement I’d rush to wake my brother and together we’d lug all our presents into mum and dad’s bedroom to show them. Little did we realise our poor parents knew all about the presents, because only a few hours ago they’d been wrapping them up! But my brother and I didn’t see their tired faces (who wants to be woken at dawn when you’ve got to bed late after a Christmas Eve party? Something I only appreciated when I had kids of my own). We only saw what Father Christmas had brought us.

It didn’t matter that when I dug into the stocking, the presents I unwrapped included a satsuma, a free poster from the newspaper and a Mickey Mouse painting set recycled from last year because my parents had seen it unopened in one of the cupboards. It didn’t matter because Father Christmas had handpicked and delivered these presents for me. I knew he had, because the whiskey we’d left out for him had been drunk, and the carrots we’d left for Rudolph had been nibbled.

Believing in Father Christmas is what made Christmas so special for me as a child (as you can see, it certainly wasn’t the presents…!). That’s the Christmas I hope I gave my own children (though the orange I left them was a chocolate one). And that’s the Christmas Melissa would love to give her own son, William. Perhaps, just perhaps, Daniel, William’s new tennis coach, can help her 🙂

A Second Christmas Wish is available as a paperback and in eBook from all good book retailers and platforms. Click HERE for purchasing options. 

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