Every year the extended family on my father's side gets together for a big Christmas party. Earlier this year I was thinking that instead of the usual arrangement, where I put my name in for our Secret Santa thing and buy for one other family member, I might do something creative for everybody. And, since the ghost stories of M. R. James were originally written to be read at Christmas, why not write a small tribute to those subtly chilling tales, print up a couple dozen copies, and distribute them at the party?
So over the summer I wrote a draft of a story about a peculiar Christmas tree. But when I'd finished it occurred to me that no one in my extended family particularly likes ghost stories other than me. So why, under the pretense of a gift, oblige them to read something they won't enjoy? I decided instead that I would put the story online, where it might potentially find its way to the attention of other enthusiasts of the classical ghost story, who might find it entertaining, or at least momentarily diverting. Over the past few months I've tinkered with the story at intervals, and now here we are.
You can click here to see the story as an online PDF, which you can also save or print if you'd like to read it offline or in dead-tree format. As with any piece of writing it's still in some sense a work in progress, so if you have any comments or suggestions for improvements, don't hesitate to let me know. And although this story happens to center around Christmas, I'd like to wish a happy holiday season to all the two or three readers of this blog, no matter what holidays they do or don't celebrate.