The Good-Humbug’s Guide to Christmas – Submissions Open

What if the proper Christmas fills you with so much anxiety and dread that you end up in casualty with a nervous rash so bad you need steroids (me).
You’re not alone.

This is a call out for non-fiction, fiction and poetry on the theme of a non-traditional Christmas.

Deadline 14th December 2018

So Halloween, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day are done. It’s December and we are waist deep in mid-winter. The bathroom is so cold on a morning we set the shower to ‘ouch, too hot, too hot, ahh.’ Those dark brackets around daylight are getting closer. It’s now that the red booted, many antlered, snow spangled beast of Christmas Proper is unleashed to roar ‘Iiiiiit’s Christmas you maggot’ through every supermarket speaker. We substitute weather talk for ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ The correct response must contain one or more of the following:

Tree / Turkey / Family / Paper hats / Christmas-pud / Booze / Queen’s Speech

But what if some or none of that fits with who you are, what you believe, or where you are in your life right now?

What if you’re alone? What if you prefer to honour the One Eyed God? What if you’re allergic to alcohol? What if forcing yourself through the traditional palaver will actually cause you damage?

What if the proper Christmas fills you with so much anxiety and dread that you end up in casualty with a nervous rash so bad you need steroids (me)?

You’re not alone.

If there is such a thing as a Christmas spirit it isn’t an apparation in the night sent to torture us into having a proper Christmas, especially if that is going to actually hurt us or betray an essential part of us.

Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol to shame greedy, right-wing elitists, who believed that workhouses and prisons were an acceptable solution to poverty, into having a social conscience not to beat everyone with the perfect Christmas stick.

When you dig deep under the manger into the meaning of Christmas as a festival of winter, at the turning point of the year from darkness to light, it is a time to reflect on what has been, to let go of what has passed and what you don’t need in order for new growth to happen, however you mark it.

Maybe you do honour the One-Eyed God and the spirits of the dead; or celebrate the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun; or the Anglo-Saxon vigil of the Night of the Mother. Maybe you dance, maybe you clean, maybe you dance whilst cleaning. Maybe you stay in pyjamas all day and eat bacon sandwiches with cranberry sauce whilst watching Labyrinth (me). Maybe you have a story you always tell at this, the best time of year for telling stories.

If you do something different for Christmas or can imagine an alternative in fiction or poetry or want to share a memory of a very different way to do Christmas then I’d love to read and share your responses.

I’m looking for work that will surprise, subvert, inspire and console and I will share it in the lead up to Christmas here on my blog #bookofgodlessverse. A poetry project celebrating the daily messiness of life.

You can submit

Non-fiction – up to 500 words

Poetry – up to 40 lines

Prose – up to 500 words

Please send

A Word.doc attachment with your name, email address and 50 word bio at the top of the page to:

Disclaimer – just no hate.

Author: Carmen Marcus

As the daughter of a Yorkshire Fisherman and Irish Mother, my writing brings together the visceral and the magical. My debut novel #How Saints Die was published with Harvill Secker in 2017. It won New Writing North's Northern Promise Award as a work in progress and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize in 2018. My poetry has been commissioned by BBC Radio, The Royal Festival Hall and Durham Book Festival. As a child of an 80s council estate I am an advocate for working class writers and stories. I’m currently working on my first poetry collection The Book of Godless Verse and my next novel. I try to live up to the words of my first critic and primary school teacher ‘weird minus one house point.’

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