What Exactly is Christmas? Guest Blog From Amy Dunne

1 Dec

It’s the first day of Advent, so deck the halls and all that! To help us celebrate this most festive of festivals, we have a guest blog from Amy Dunne, whose Christmas-themed novel Season’s Meetings is out this very month. Falalalalalalalalah.

~ ~ ~

What exactly is Christmas?

Amy DunneIt’s that time of year again. The weather outside is cold and the nights grow dark so quickly. The branches on the trees are bare and the glittery frost dusts everything in its path. Plenty of cosy nights snuggled inside with raging fires to toast our toes. The yearly prediction that this will be the UK’s worst winter since the beginning of time. It’s December. In just a few weeks, people will celebrate Christmas Day. Children will be bordering on hysteria, parents will be trying to survive the manic shopping expeditions, we’ll all buy far too much food and drink, and the festivities will begin.

I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I always have been. I always will be. I love the festivities. I can’t wait to see the expressions on my family and friend’s faces when they open the gifts I’ve chosen, and Lou’s taken time to painstakingly wrap to perfection. Lou and I are festive fanatics. From October, we count down until December 1st and then decorate our home, our fur-babies, and ourselves with Christmas paraphernalia.
season's meetings
I’m extra excited this year because my second novel, Season’s Meetings, is being released in December by Bold Strokes Books. It’s a fun, festive romance set in the Highlands of Scotland. I came up with the story and characters last October and started writing the story near the end of November. This time last year I had written only three chapters. Now I’m staring at the beautiful cover and skimming with delight through the pages of the actual book. It feels somewhat surreal—but not quite as surreal as it felt doing the edits and reading about snow and blizzards in the middle of August. The cover and story star our very own little cairn terrier, Kimmy. She was actually only added to the story last December. Inspiration struck after she (and her feline brother and sister) systematically destroyed the Christmas tree that Lou and I had slaved over for hours. She used a forty-minute window of unsupervised opportunity to break through the doggy-proof gate that we’d put in place—we still don’t know how she did it. After we got over the initial frustration, we could (eventually) laugh about it, and I realised Kimmy and her mischievousness should be added into the story.

As the time for Christmas music, decorating, shopping, and general festivity is fast approaching, I decided it was time to sit our fur-babies down and have the talk. I was adamant that I would succeed in explaining to them what Christmas is, in the vague hope they may refrain from sabotaging it and our tree this year. I must admit, at the start of this process I was enthusiastic, but by the end I’d lost all hope. I know they have smaller brains and all, but jeez! I personally think they had no intention of participating. They were only there for the treats that I’d bribed them with. Anyway, here’s the transcript:

Amy: “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. I really think you’ll appreciate everything so much more once you’ve learned what Christmas is.”
Alice: “Is it food?”
Harley: “Let’s get one thing straight. I’m only here for the treats, woman. Hand them over, or me and my fluffy behind are out of here.”
Kimmy: “This is completely pointless, Mummy Amy. Christmas is about me.”

2 minutes later…

Kimmy 2


Amy: “There you go. You’ve all had your treats. Now it’s time to listen. Okay. So, I’m not actually sure how to start. Perhaps I didn’t think this through enough. Well, anyway, let’s begin with something simple. You know how every year we bring a tree into the house and decorate it with shiny baubles, decorations, and tinsel—”
Alice: “What’s a year? Is it food?”
Harley: “It doesn’t happen every year.”
Amy: “Alice, you can’t eat a year. It’s time. And it does happen every year, Harley. Christmas happens every December.”
Harley: “How many Christmases have I had to put up with?”
Amy: “We’re kind of moving off point here, guys. Harley, you’ve had six Christmases because you’re six years old.”
Kimmy: “Have I had six Christmases?”
Amy: “No, Kimmy. You’ve had two. This will be your third.”
Kimmy: “You had Christmases without me? How could you do that? I feel so unloved.”
Harley: “I’m actually forty-two years old in cat years. So if they happen every year, I’d have had forty-two of them.”
Alice: …
Kimmy: [blatantly sulking]…
Amy: “Let’s forget about the whole time thing. Kimmy, those Christmases happened before you were born.”
Kimmy: “So it’s my fault now? I don’t believe it. Not only do you break my little heart, you’re actually blaming me.”
Alice: “How do you know I can’t eat time?”
Amy: “I’m not blaming you, Kimmy. And Alice you can’t eat time because it’s not a physical thing.”
Alice: “Can I try?”
Amy: “No.”
Harley: “So you were referring to human years?”
Amy: “Yes.”
Harley: “Well, that’s a bit rude.”
Amy: “Why is it rude?”
Harley: “Because the three of us don’t use human years. We use cat years, or in her case [glares at Kimmy] dog years. You should know your audience and do proper research.”
Kimmy: “What do you mean by dog years?”
Alice: “Can I eat audience? It sounds tasty.”
Amy: “I need a drink.”

The Tree Before...

The Tree Before…

5 minutes and one alcoholic beverage later…

Amy: “This really isn’t going how I envisioned it. Forget about years, cat, dog, or otherwise. Let’s move on. Can any of you remember the tree we have? It’s the one you destroyed last year. It’s big and green.”
Kimmy: “What’s green?”
Amy: “Sorry, Kimmy. I forgot you’re colour blind. Don’t worry about it.”
Kimmy: “Don’t worry? How can you say that? What do you mean I’m blind? When were you going to tell me? Everything’s getting dark.”
Amy: “No, it’s not.”
Kimmy: “It is! It’s so dark. Where am I?”
Harley: “I remember the tree.”
Alice: “If I’ve eaten some of it, maybe I remember. I think it tasted funny.”
Harley: “It’s not even a real tree.”
Kimmy: “I can’t see! Where have you gone? What will my life become? I’ll never get to see my pretty face again.”
Amy: “Kimmy, open your eyes and you’ll see just fine. Yes, the plastic tree we had in the house.”
Kimmy: “My special play tree? Yes, I remember it. It’s my favourite toy but you took it away from me.”
Amy: “It’s not just yours, Kimmy. It belongs to all of us. We only have it up in December—”
Alice: “Can I eat December?”
Kimmy: “Nope. It’s definitely mine. I marked it.”
Amy: “What do you mean marked it?”
Kimmy: “Do you really need me to explain?”
Amy: “You didn’t—”
Kimmy: “I did my business. That’s why it’s mine. I mark everything that’s mine. Don’t bother looking at me like that, I can’t see you because I’m blind.”
Amy: “For all that’s good in the world, please, please, give me strength.”

5 minutes later…


The Tree After…

Amy: “Okay, so we’ve established that the tree isn’t food. Right, Alice?”
Alice: “…”
Amy: “It isn’t a plaything or a toilet either. It’s just supposed to look nice. That’s why we put ornaments on it.”
Harley: “Why?”
Amy: “Why what?”
Harley: “Why do you bring a not-real tree into the house when there are lots of real trees that look better outside? And why do you put cat toys on it and then get annoyed when we play with them?”
Amy: “They’re not cat toys. They’re ornaments. It’s tradition—”
Alice: “Can I eat tra—”
Amy: “No, Alice. Kimmy, are you still sulking?”
Kimmy: “First you admit to having Christmases without me, then you blame me for it, then you tell me I’m blind, and now you say my tree isn’t mine.”
Amy: “I’ll take that as a yes then. Let’s move on from the tree. Just, please, promise not to touch, eat, play, or mark it this year. Okay?”
Harley: “What’s it worth?”
Alice: “Just a little nibble?”
Kimmy: “It’s my tree. I can do what I want with it.”

4 minutes and another alcoholic beverage later…



Amy: “So, Santa Claus brings all of the good boys and girls presents while everyone is asleep. It’s magical. He watches over every child and has a list of whether they’re good or bad. And then on Christmas morning they get to open their presents.”
Harley: “Define good?”
Alice: “He has claws? Is he related to us?”
Amy: “No, that’s his name. He’s human—I think.”
Harley: “Santa sounds like a creepy guy.”
Amy: “He’s not creepy. He’s a nice guy.”
Harley: “If it makes you sleep better at night, you tell yourself that.”
Kimmy: “So, I get presents off Santa for being a good girl?”
Amy: “Well, no. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “Why do you all keep saying that? I’m not a dog. And you always tell me I’m a good girl.”
Amy: “Yes, but that’s just a phrase. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “I’m not a dog.”
Amy: “Kimmy, we’ve been through this way too many times. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “So, I’m not a good girl then? What about a star? You said I was going to be a famous star because of agreeing to be in your book.”
Amy: “It’s not meant to be taken literally.”
Kimmy: “I’m living in a den of lies.”
Harley: “So we don’t get presents from this Santa guy?”
Amy: “No. But mummy Lou and I always get you presents.”
Harley: “Maybe Santa would choose better presents.”
Amy: “Harley, you’ve got to be grateful for all of your presents. It’s the thought that counts.”
Harley: “Hypocrite!”
Amy: “What do you—”
Harley: “You’ve never been grateful for the presents we’ve given you. Every single mouse, bird, and frog we’ve presented for you, you’ve either ungratefully thrown away or let loose again. The screaming, crying, and slamming of the door doesn’t seem very grateful to me. Where’s the thought then? Huh?”
Amy: “I appreciate what you’re saying. In the past I’ve handled your presents badly. I’m sorry. But Christmas isn’t about the mindless murder of innocent animals. Okay?”
Harley: “Oh really? What about all of the turkeys?”
Amy: “…”

6 minutes later…



Amy: “So, then baby Jesus was born in a stable. A little while later the star led the three wise men to visit him. That’s where Christmas comes from. Simple, eh?”
Kimmy: “Mentioning a star at this point is just cruel.”
Harley: “You seriously believe this?”
Amy: “Well, some people do and some don’t. Historically there’s proof it happened, but the religious side of it is always full of contention.”
Harley: “Humans are so weird.”
Alice: “I’m hungry.”
Kimmy: “I’m going to go live at grandma’s house. She appreciates that I’m a good girl and a star.”

2 minutes later…

Amy: “And then we wear our jumpers, and you wear your cute festive outfits.”
Kimmy: “I’m too upset to think about outfits right now.”
Amy: “But, Kimmy, you look so beautiful in them.”
Kimmy: “I know I do. But with being blind and not a star, I can’t make any promises.”
Amy: “Harley and Alice? You guys always wear them.”
Harley: “If you ever try to put me in one of those monstrosities again, I will cut you. You’ve been warned.”
Alice: “I’m with him on this one. They taste awful.”
Amy: “Sod it! I give up.”

So, that’s it. I accepted defeat. At least with children there’s the subtle threat of Santa’s naughty list to help with coercion. It turns out cats and our dogs don’t want to grasp what Christmas is. If it’s not entirely about them, or can’t be eaten, or played with, they’re just not bothered.

I hope you all have a safe winter, filled with love, laughter, and good health. And if you do celebrate Christmas, have a fabulous time.

~ ~ ~

Cheers, Amy!

~ ~ ~


Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology. After graduating she worked for a while with vulnerable young people. She is currently concentrating on her writing. She is married to her beautiful wife, Lou. They share a love of Dolly Parton, have two gorgeous cats, and a very mischievous little dog.

Contact Info:

Twitter: @giftofthegaborg

Website/Blog: authoramydunne.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/amy.dunne.165

E-mail: authoramydunne @ hotmail.com


3 Responses to “What Exactly is Christmas? Guest Blog From Amy Dunne”

  1. authoramydunne December 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Reblogged this on Author Amy Dunne and commented:
    Here’s a festive treat for you all! I’m very fortunate that Uklesfic invited me to write a guest blog. Have you ever wondered what our fur-babies think about Christmas? Have you ever tried to explain what Christmas is to them? I tried a few days ago–and will never, ever, attempt it again! Enjoy. 😉


  2. Jen Silver December 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I have to say, after reading this, I have some sympathy for Alice, Harley and Kimmy. None of them look particularly happy in their Christmas outfits. However, your attempts to make them understand what it’s all about was great…it made me smile. Wishing an early ‘Merry Christmas’ to you and yours!

  3. phoenixgrey85 December 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Cute conversation with your animals. 🙂 Made me smile when I needed it.

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