The Long Christmas
by Cath Bore

I was in the supermarket shortly after New Year 2015, earwigging to customers while I was picking up some bits. I like to listen. I’m a writer, it’s what I do. Say something spicy in front of me and it’s going in my notebook, no exceptions. Anyway, two women were next to me in the queue talking about one of their young daughters, whose birthday happened to fall that week. “She understands why she can’t have a birthday party like her brother and sister do,” said one to the other, sounding sad (but not quite sorry enough for my liking). “Their birthdays are earlier in the year, but hers is just too soon after Christmas.” Her friend nodded and agreed the January daughter was indeed good girl for being so gracious.

Me, I felt like turning around and bellowing NO, YOUR JANUARY DAUGHTER DOES NOT UNDERSTAND. She puts up with it because she’s a nice kid. Although how she managed to get that way, I don’t know. Why don’t you save money up and put it to one side for her party? Or just don’t give your other children parties, if you can’t treat them all the same? Hanging is too good for you. You’re a bad mother. What you are doing is SO UNFAIR.

I didn’t say any of this, though. I should have. Really wish I had. I wrote it in my notebook instead. The pen is mightier than the sword, I hear.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I felt so sorry for this little girl, someone I’d never even met. It stuck me, on hearing this, the myth that Christmas only lasts for a single day. That’s the lie that gets told to anyone who finds Christmas uncomfortable or sad or upsetting or irritating, isn’t it? Get through the one day and that’s it, you’re sorted. Breathe, over and done with for another year. Go for a stroll in the afternoon to break it into manageable bitesize chunks and life winds comfortably back to normal after 24 hours. In fact, Christmas stretches out like a yawn, its effects financial and otherwise, longer reaching each year.

BORE (2)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cath Bore is a writer based in Liverpool, U.K., currently writing a novel and lots of flash fiction. Her website is