Christmas Comforts: Helen Monks Takhar

Continuing in our Christmas Comforts series, we have an absolute classic for today’s post. Helen Monks Takhar, author of Precious You, explains why A Christmas Carol brings her comfort at Christmas.

 

Helen Monks Takhar’s Christmas Comfort Read: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

There’s something of the Victorian about my father and he hates Christmas with a passion. Actually, he hates a lot of things. He hates birthdays, Terry Wogan, any contestant on The Krypton Factor, people in general. However, it’s the festive season he seems to detest above most things. One year, he made his loathing clear by unsmilingly unwrapping his socks, Liquorice All Sorts and a Henry Cooper biography on December 28th. Somehow, both Dickens’ archetypal Christmas-hating misanthrope and my family’s in-house Ebenezer Scrooge power those around them deeper into the spirit of goodwill.

I re-read A Christmas Carol every year. I love the language, the unmistakable sense of place, and the timelessness of the themes afresh.

The winter holidays and new year have long accentuated life’s deepest pains. This season could deliver one of the bleakest periods many of us have faced. To me, A Christmas Carol’s message centres less on Scrooge’s dramatic conversion, and more on the Cratchits’ delight in their humble offerings. It focuses on their unshakeable gratitude for connectedness to family and humanity, gifts they don’t need Christmas, or Scrooge himself, to bestow. This makes A Christmas Carol a sitter for a comforting first-time or re-read.

Our dad Bernard died ten years ago this January. Therefore, around this time of year, we relive his festive outrage with fondness and humour. A Christmas Carol gives all readers a way to lose themselves in the deeply evocative atmosphere Dickens creates. It provides me with the chance to hear again the voice of one Christmas-hating but loveable old man who in the pages of a book will outlive us all.

 

Helen Monks Takhar’s gripping Precious You is available in hardback. Buy from your local independent, bookshop.org, Hive, WaterstonesAmazon.The paperback is out 21st January, and is available to pre-order now.

If you’re enjoying our Christmas Comforts series, you can read the rest of our festive recommendations here.

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