All I want for Christmas is… one of these fantastic gifts from the world of fiction. Or a book token.
Invisibility cloak from the Harry Potter books. Harry receives this gift for his first Christmas at Hogwarts. It belonged to his father and is passed on to Harry by the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. The cloak becomes essential to Harry’s adventures around and beyond the school, and later in the series we learn that this magical object is even more special than it appears.
Doll’s house from The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. A large replica of their house in 17th century Amsterdam, it’s a gift to Nella from her new husband Johannes. She hasn’t got much else to occupy her time; an unsatisfied young housewife, she focuses on the doll’s house, acquiring items for it from a mysterious ‘miniaturist’. But somehow the figures foretell the future…
The cat from Dear Santa by Rod Campbell. This lift-the-flap board book for young children features Santa wrapping up various presents which turn out to be unsuitable and not special enough. The ball is too bouncy, the trumpet is too noisy, the finger paints are too messy, etc. Finally he sends a cat (in a basket) – ‘She’s just what I wanted. I love her. Thank you Santa!’ I’m aware that cats are real and not fantastical, but I already have two and I’m not allowed to have more than that.
The One Ring from the Middle Earth books. Technically this was not a present, because the Ring seems to lose itself, change owners, or be rediscovered by its own will. However, Gollum refers to it as his birthday present. This deceptively plain bit of bling was forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in his quest for ultimate power. Which is why the good guys must destroy it before the bad guys reclaim it. So… I’ll settle for a replica, then.
A warm scarf hand-picked by Father Christmas himself, from The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. This wordless picture book, and the iconic animated film which has become a festive tradition, are about a boy whose snowman comes alive and flies him to the North Pole. After the dancing and party games are over, Father Christmas gives him a parcel, which turns out to be a scarf. Good choice, as the boy has been traipsing through the snow wearing only his nightclothes. The awful and magical thing about the end of this story is that in the morning, the snowman has melted. But the scarf is real…
Season’s Greetings. I’ll be back on New Year’s Eve with a review of 2018!