Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – December 2021

  • Have you seen the Littlest Christmas Goat? It may look festive, but beware its legend.

Have You Seen The Christmas Goat?

  • Do you have any questions or queries about blogging? Ask me your questions and get featured on my blog.

Looking For Help With Blogging? Do You Have Any Questions About Blogging?

  • Would Christmas ever be the same again? Last Christmas – A very short Christmas story.

Last Christmas

  • Can you have as much fun as me? Answer: Show me by sharing your Christmas jumpers with me.

How Much Fun Can You Have In A Christmas Jumper? #WordlessWednesday #photography

  • What are your blogging plans for the Christmas and New Year holidays? A full update of what’s happening on Hugh’s Views And News.

Christmas And New Year 2021/22 – What Can You Expect On Hugh’s Views And News?

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How Much Fun Can You Have In A Christmas Jumper? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Have You Seen The Christmas Goat?

December 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the littlest Christmas goat. Who does the goat belong to? What is happening? Go where the prompt leads!


Have You Seen The Christmas Goat? – by Hugh W. Roberts

Many have admired the Littlest Christmas Goat. It shines as bright as the Northern Star on a dark, freezing December night.

Its sparkling eyes and inviting, warm interior help thaw out cold fingers and chilled bones. The surrounding Christmas illuminations fill the air with festivities, laughter and happy memories of Christmases’ past.

Legend says – ‘see the Littlest Christmas Goat on Christmas Eve, and all your Christmas wishes come true.’

True? Yes, but only the elf-like landlady of the Littest Christmas Goat alehouse knows the honest answer. In her world, all Christmas wishes come with a price. Your life.

***

Image of a small white goat standing next to Christmas tree in the snow
Image credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.

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Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

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The Magic Of Christmas

The Magic Of Christmas

It always snowed at Christmas, and it was one thing Fiona detested.

A white Christmas was one of the remaining bits of magic the festive season had over her. This Christmas, she needed to get rid of it once and for all.

Witnessing the arrival of the angels every Christmas Eve had helped keep the magic alive. But last year the angels seemed different; different to how they had always appeared to Fiona. Last year, the first Christmas Fiona hadn’t believed in the magic, the angels had refused to show their faces to her.

“You’re too old to be hanging up Christmas stockings,” Fiona yelled at her daughters as they approached the fireplace. “And you can lay the table and cook tomorrow’s dinner if you want to celebrate. Christmas Day is now going to be like any other day. The magic of Christmas no longer exists.”

At the stroke of midnight that night, Fiona made her way out of the house. Would the angels show their face this year?

It wasn’t long before the warm globes of light appeared. The angels had come back and made their way to the only part of the garden where virgin snow lay. It hadn’t snowed for two days, yet the footprints Fiona had made in that part of the garden were no longer visible.

“You’re not real! Why don’t you show me your faces anymore? There’s no such thing as the magic of Christmas,” she shrieked, as all but one of the angels touched the undisturbed snow and melted into it. As the winter air chilled Fiona’s bones, the last angel turned around and beckoned her towards it.

Doing all she could to stop herself moving towards the creature, its ugly face made Fiona want to scream, but nothing but a silent screech came out of her mouth. She tried thinking about the magic of Christmas in the hope the creature would go away, but her body refused to stop moving. By the time she reached it, its terrifying face had melted away.

Fiona’s heart raced. Had they gone?

A noise from behind her forced her to turn around and look back at the house. Now, before her, the whole garden was full of untrodden, virgin, snow, yet it had not snowed.

As she made the first hesitant steps towards the house, Fiona’s journey abruptly stopped. From underneath the snow, a hand appeared and grabbed her ankle. Her screams went unheard as the warm hand pulled her into the world of non-believers.

Fiona’s last sight of the magical world she had once believed in was that of a stout figure, dressed in red with a long white beard, standing on the roof of the house.

“Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas,” laughed the figure, as the final remains of Fiona melted into the virgin snow.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Dilemmas Of Christmas Cards

If receiving Christmas cards was a hobby, it would be a hobby I’d embrace and never let go.  

I’ve always preferred receiving Christmas cards to birthday cards. They’ve always been more important to me, but over the years have caused me a few dilemmas. Do you recognise any of these?

How to display Christmas cards

My parents always strung up Christmas cards along the longest wall in our lounge. I’d stand underneath the line and happily count them. And if any of the cards overlapped, I’d make it known so that they could be adjusted. 

I wanted every Christmas card to give the same pleasure to visitors as I got out of them over the festive period.

These days, we display cards on a card rack. The overlapping doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it used to. However, I seem to give priority to those cards I see as more festive.

How do you display Christmas cards?

School Days

During my early schooling years, my class would send Christmas cards to each other. Back then, Christmas cards came in different sizes in one box. The first dilemma was trying to match the correct sized envelope to the right card. 

A box of Christmas cards from the 1970s. Image taken from eBay

Usually, you’d end up with a couple of cards that didn’t fit the envelopes you had left or, on rare occasions, have cards left with no envelopes to put them in. 

These days, Christmas cards seem to come in packs and are all the same size, so the dilemma of matching envelopes with cards has gone. 

In class, we’d make a pillar box out of cardboard, cotton wool, paints and some sticky-back plastic. We were all encouraged to post Christmas cards into the box, and on the last day before the Christmas holidays, our teacher would sort them and distribute them out. 

I’d always be super excited to get a pile of cards with my name proudly written on the front of the envelopes. I’d open them all before rushing home to hang them up with the rest of the cards. 

If there wasn’t enough room on the line, I had to wait patiently for my father to put up another line. Sometimes, this could take days to do, and I’d get very frustrated that my cards were not on display.

And heaven’s forbid if any of the lines of cards came down because of the sheer weight of cards on them. I’d be inconsolable. 

After Christmas, I’d keep the cards I liked the most and make gift tags out of them for the following Christmas.

Did you send Christmas cards to your classmates?

The First Christmas Card

The first Christmas card was sent in 1843. Back then, there were no signs of robins, snow, Christmas stockings or Father Christmas on them. Most cards showed people drinking, eating and being merry.

It wasn’t until the 1870s that Christmas cards began to display some of the festive images we see today.

  

A Victorian Christmas card. Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

Back in the 1970s (when I was sending cards to those in my class), there were certain cards I loved. These include the ones I thought were associated with Christmas. Those showing scenes that included Father Christmas, Christmas stockings, robins, snow, and Christmas trees were my favourites. 

And then there were cards I didn’t particularly like because I thought they had nothing to do with Christmas. These included ones with scenes of horse-drawn carriages, fox hunting, St Paul’s Cathedral, or a hand-drawn poinsettia. 

My favourite classmates always got the cards I associated with Christmas. The classmates I didn’t bother with much (or those I didn’t like) got the boring ones. Back then, you could always tell who didn’t like you much from the type of card they sent you (or so I thought, anyway).

Christmas Postcards 

Step back to the early part of the 20th century, and some Christmas cards were like postcards. Many years ago, I picked up some on eBay. This one is my favourite. 

An Old Maid’s Christmas
On the back.

Postmarked Dec 24th 1912, I love the humour on this postcard, although I’m not sure it would go down well these days. What do you think?

I can’t make out the postmark on this postcard, but the stamp on it tells me it’s from the U.S.A. 

Christmas postcard from the early 20th century
Christmas postcard from the early 20th century

And here’s another early one from the U.S.A, postmarked Dec 23rd 1913.

Christmas postcard dated 23rd December 1913
Christmas postcard dated 23rd December 1913

Postal addresses were so short back then.

Fast-track to the 1980s and Christmas cards were very different. Here are a few of my favourites.

Yes, I have a scrapbook that includes some of my favourite Christmas cards.

The Boyfriend Dilemma

Finally, here’s a Christmas card from 1988 that was sent to me by my then boyfriend.

 

Christmas 1988
Last Christmas I gave you my heart. By New Year’s Day I’d taken it away!

Unfortunately, he went on to break my heart on New Year’s Eve, yet I kept the Christmas card he sent me. I wonder why?

Do you send and enjoy receiving Christmas cards? Have you ever had any dilemmas with them?

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Naughty Or Nice? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Naughty or Nice?

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An Advent Tradition #flashfiction

December 3, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes family traditions. It can be related to any holiday or situation. How does the tradition impact the story or change the character? Go where the prompt leads!


An Advent Tradition – by Hugh W. Roberts

Not only have the new family in your area won the Christmas lights competition, but they’ve become known as the kindest and friendliest people in your district.

Next time you’re out walking, don’t look through their dining room window and watch them carrying out the tradition of raising a glass or two of red wine.

What you don’t realise is that the dark red liquid is that of one of your neighbours.

Unless you’re a vampire, you won’t know about this Advent tradition that has been going for over 666 years.

I’m dreaming of a red Christmas. Are you?


Image credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also like –

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Festive Thursday Doors

Dan, over at No Facilities, has taken over hosting Thursday Doors.

If you’re not sure what Thursday Doors is, Dan explains more on his blog post. Basically, it’s a photography challenge centred around (yes, you’ve guessed it) ‘Doors!’

The challenge is open to everyone to participate in. So, why not join in and meet lots of other bloggers?

Here’s my entry for this week.

Festive Door

What do you think? Is the figure in the glass trying to get out or get in? And don’t you think it strange that the door handle is pushed down, yet there is no signs of any hands on it?

To participate and check out lots more Thursday Doors entries, click here.

A big thank you to Norm Frampton who created Thursday Doors and ran the challenge for its first six years. And thanks to Dan for being our new host.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Curious Christmas Objects Around The House

Over the years, I’ve collected and accumulated lots of Christmas objects. However, some items have me curious as to why I bought them.

Take, for example, this curious little pot.

The curious Christmas pot

Purchased on eBay over ten years ago, it has never seen the light of day in our house. Not even at Christmas time have I been tempted to put this strange little pot on display. I’m not even sure what it is.

However, there may be a clue in the hole on the side of the lid where maybe one could place a teaspoon.

Does the hole hold the clue?

So is it a festive pot for holding jam, mustard, cranberry sauce, or Boxing Day festive chutney?

And it’s probably no wonder why I’ve never had it out on display at Christmas. I mean, look at it. It’s the stuff of nightmares. It’s something that belongs in a horror story. Feel free to write one that includes this object.

I’m positive the words ‘Christmas Antique’ in the heading of the auction were what tempted me to buy it. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but it was no more than £20.

Was I conned at buying this supposed piece of ‘Christmas past?’ Maybe the mark on the bottom of the object answers my question? Maybe you know an antiques expert who could answer my questions?

At least we know where it was made

I wonder what’s its history is and what stories it could tell me?

Have you seen an object like this before? What do you think its purpose is? Is it an antique, or was it massed produced for the market?

Thank you to Michael at Spo-Reflections for the idea for this post.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Advent Sunday – Have Any Of Your Christmas Decorations Come Out Yet?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed Advent Sunday. It’s the day when the first few Christmas decorations start appearing around our house.

An eBay purchase from 10 years ago
Another eBay purchase from 2001
Purchased in 2019
Another eBay purchase from 2005

Although I tell myself that I’m not going to buy anymore Christmas decorations (because we have too many), I always end up buying something new every Christmas. Introducing this year’s buy

Christmas 2020

Over the next 14 days, more Christmas decorations will appear, with the grand finalé being switching on the lights on the Christmas tree.

Do you have have any Christmas decorations up yet, or is it still too early to put them up?

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Do You Believe In Father Christmas?

When I was eight-years old, I did the most despicable thing.

On Christmas Eve 1970, I told my five- year old sister that there was no such thing as Father Christmas. She was horrified.

Telling her that Father Christmas did not exist was the worst thing I ever did.

My mother was so angry with me. She sent me to my room.

I missed supper. I missed the carol-singers outside our house.

I missed seeing the first snowflakes of what was to be my first white Christmas. And I missed the evening of Christmas Eve, my favourite time of the year.

However, worse was to come.

I cried myself to sleep, blaming Father Christmas for what had happened.

Sometime during the night, I was woken by hands around my throat.

“You evil boy!” boomed the voice. I was too frightened to open my eyes.

“Open your eyes, boy! Do it, or you will never see Christmas again.”

He forced me to open my eyes. I don’t know how he did it but he somehow did.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I was shocked beyond belief. It was Father Christmas who had his hands around my throat.

“You never, never tell anyone ever again that I do not exist. Do you understand me, boy?” I tried nodding my head, despite being in complete shock.

“Good. Now, look deep into my eyes.”

Seconds later, I saw a flock of robins in his eyes and, before I knew it, they were propelled into my eyes.

The screeching sound they made hurt my ears. I could not scream for help to my mother or father because of the tightly gripped hands around my throat. I finally managed to close my eyes and the screeching robins and hands around my throat disappeared.

Terrified by what had happened, I crawled under my bed. I curled up into a tiny ball and shivered the night away. Sleep did come but only briefly.

It was the sound of laughter that woke me.

I could hear the muffled voices of my family. It was Christmas morning and they were already downstairs.

How could they have forgotten to wake me up?

I crawled out from under my bed and made my way past the open door of my bedroom. On the floor, at the top of the stairs, were two empty Christmas stockings. How could they have emptied their stockings without me?

I ran down the stairs and into the lounge, which was lit up with Christmas lights.

“Mum, Dad, Julie…I’m sorry,” I cried, but none of them took any notice of me. “Please forgive me, don’t spoil Christmas.” But it was no good, they just ignored me.

That’s when I saw the strange boy.

“Oh, that’s lovely, Hugh. Grandma sure knows how to knit Christmas jumpers,” laughed Dad, as he hugged the strange boy.

For the rest of the day, I watched as the boy with my name took my place. Nobody bothered me. Nobody even noticed I was there. It was as if I were a ghost.

I finally went to bed and cried myself to sleep. The whole family had arrived at our house and a Christmas party was in full swing.

The next morning, my mother woke me up.

“Are you feeling better, Hugh?”

“Are you talking to me?” I asked her.

“Of course, I am. Who else goes by your name in this house? Come on, it’s Boxing Day and we need to get over to Grandma’s house.”

I didn’t ever say anything to anybody about what had happened, and I didn’t see the strange-looking boy with my name again.

Well, I didn’t see him until the following Christmas Day when the whole thing happened again. And it’s happened every Christmas since then.

You see, my place is now taken by a ghost, but only on that one day of the year when I become a ghost.

I’m so happy and thankful that it’s not Christmas every day.

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

#fiction #christmas #shortstory #shortstories

Story taken from the short story collection Glimpses – Available on Amazon.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Christmas Tree

#christmas #christmastree #lights
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

“Are you sure this is what you want to see?” sobbed Moriah.

Her daughter nodded her head.

‘It’s beautiful, isn’t it? You know how much I love Christmas,” Mummy.

Choked, Moriah could not answer her young daughter’s question. The tears in her eyes made the lights on the Christmas tree blur into each other.

As they stood together, holding hands, Moriah made a Christmas wish. A wish that would prove the doctor’s predicament of her daughter’s upcoming journey into the dark, because of blindness, untrue.

High up, in the skies above Trafalgar Square, a shooting star ferried the wish.

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#flashfiction #fiction #christmas
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word Flash Fiction challenge with the theme of ‘into the dark, hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here and join thousands of other bloggers taking up the challenge.

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