27 Dec

Traditional

In our house, we each wrap up our right foot on Christmas Eve and unwrap it on Christmas morning. It’s odd, I know, but it’s because a few years ago my sister hurt her foot very badly. It was bandaged up for months, and she couldn’t walk on it. But on Christmas Day she unwrapped the bandage to change it, and she thought it looked well enough to leave the dressing off. She managed to get herself around on both her feet that year, and even to take a few steps out into the crisp winter air. She said it was the best present she ever got. So the next year we all wrapped our feet up, as a joke, but when we unwrapped them we felt genuinely grateful. For our bodies, for our health. We’ve kept it up ever since.

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In our house, we wrap up our right feet on Christmas Eve and unwrap them on Christmas morning. It’s something my mum used to do, and my dad thought it was weird but he went along with it because he wanted to impress her. She says it’s all about feeling grateful for what we’ve got, even if it’s just our feet, but I’ve always just liked the fun of crunching about with wrapping paper on my foot. If you can’t be silly at Christmas, when can you?

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In our family, we wrap up our feet on Christmas Eve and unwrap them on Christmas morning. My auntie goes all the way, with fancy paper and ribbons and bows; visitors sometimes compliment her on her Christmas slippers. Nobody compliments me, partly because I do my best not to meet strangers between the twenty-fourth and the twenty-seventh, but mostly because I just use brown paper bags, tied up at the top. It’s a lot easier.

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Round here, we have special socks we put on on Christmas Eve and take off on Christmas morning. Warm feet mean you sleep well so you don’t wake up for Santa. Some people like to go out and run down the street in their bare feet first thing on Christmas day, especially if it’s been snowing: a little bit of discomfort to make the cosiness of Christmas all the better. I’ve heard that’s where the whole thing comes from. But it doesn’t snow as often at Christmas these days, so mostly we just have the socks. I’ve had mine since I was ten, the same pair. They don’t wear out when you only wear them in bed once a year, and mum bought them a few sizes up so I could keep them. They’ve got reindeer on. I hated them when I got them, but now it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

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In my country we give each other socks on Christmas Eve. Some people wear their new socks to bed. Some lay them out at the foot of the bed for Christmas morning. Sometimes, especially if you’re a kid (and you’ve been good, of course), the socks you laid out on Christmas Eve will be full of little presents by the time you wake up. So of course the kids all hope to get the biggest socks they can. Those long ones for wearing under your wellies. Some of the shops have even started selling these novelty oversized socks, just for putting presents in. Which seems like missing the point to me. I suppose you can’t expect kids to care about traditions more than they care about presents, but you’d hope their parents would.

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Socks in my stocking again this year. Boring.

19 Apr

My writing with Stories of our Lives

I write regularly as part of Stories of our Lives, a community writing and storytelling project based in Chorlton in Manchester. Sometimes I’m telling my own story; sometimes someone else’s; sometimes it’s something completely different.

You can read my writing on toys, springtime, silver linings and more, along with lots more writing from the community, on the Stories of our Lives website.

You can also support the project with a donation or by buying a copy of our first book.

30 May

Dan and the Dead Boy

A transplant patient struggles to return to normal life after his operation. Available in the Fiction Desk anthology There Was Once a Place.

Lying in recovery after my first satisfying piss in three years, I ran my fingers over the dressing on my belly and imagined sliding them through the incision to tear out the dead boy’s kidney. I saw it flop off the bed, a bloody half-moon left behind on the sheet, and landing on the floor to be carried off by a cleaner; and my body being mine again. They say it might last ten years. A decade with it, as my blood runs through and becomes his blood.