Oscar Oliver’s Christmas

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I’m MARK HAYSOM, author of LOVE, LOVE ME DO and IMAGINE, and this short story is a gift for my readers. It can be read below – or you can click here now for a FREE download to your Kindle.’ 

1.
Oscar

On his tenth Christmas morning, Oscar Oliver sits alone on the sagging sofa in the dimly-lit front room, determined not to cry.

He knows she wouldn’t have wanted him to cry.

But the trouble is, he knows too that the house doesn’t smell like it should: it doesn’t smell like Christmas, warm and rich.

On Christmas mornings before, it had always been heady with it – that mince pie, pine-needle, roasting-turkey, brandied-pudding, chocolate and orange smell. That and Uncle Jack’s cigar and Mum’s Christmas-present perfume.

But not this year. This year it smells like any ordinary day.

It doesn’t sound like Christmas, either. By now there should be singing – ‘Frosty the Snowman’, or red-nosed Rudolph – or the radio should be playing as Mum dances and sips her sherry and juggles the pots on the steaming stove. There should be the whine and roar of new toy cars being raced across the carpet and oohs-and-aahs and shouts of laughter as everyone in turn tears at the wrapping paper of the boxes under the tree.

But there’s nothing. None of that.

The house has been so quiet this Christmas morning that when Oscar came downstairs early, in the almost dark, all he could hear was the laboured tick of the old clock in the hall.

As he pulled on his duffle-coat and Wellington boots and crept through the front door and out into the misty cold, he’d tried to carry that ticking sound in his head like an encouraging friend.

It had stayed with him as he tiptoed apprehensively around The Close and through the gates and down the deeply-shadowed garden paths of every one of its twelve identical houses.

And it had been waiting for him on his return – the slow tick, tick, tick of the clock: he’d been safely back and sitting on the sofa, listening to it still, when his dad had come downstairs, late, unshaven and heavy-eyed.

Oscar didn’t say where he’d been, what he’d done: it was his secret, his Christmas promise to himself kept.

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He sits back on the sofa now, his feet not touching the floor, closes his eyes and listens again to the hush of the house – broken only by a frustrated clatter from the kitchen and a low despairing groan from his father as he grapples with the oven and the instructions for their all-on-a-plate cook-from-frozen chicken-dinner-for-two.

Although he is intent on being brave, Oscar sighs heavily; he can’t stop himself.

He opens his eyes and looks around the room.

It certainly doesn’t look like Christmas.

He’d done his best, of course, to do what she would have wanted, what she’d always done. But it had been no good.

Two weeks ago, alone after school, he’d gone searching in the bottom of the wardrobe for Mum’s box of Christmas treasures; tinsel, crepe-paper streamers and paper-bells.

Reaching for it, he’d tried not to think of her, not to let the silk of her long dresses caress his face, not to breathe the soft perfumed smell that still distantly clung to them.

Closing the wardrobe door quickly, he’d carried the box carefully downstairs – only to discover in a moment of aching shock that he couldn’t remember where everything was supposed to go, where everything had always gone.

Did the Santa sit by the fireplace? Did the bells hang here or there?

He’d promised himself that he would remember everything about her, everything they’d done together. But he’d forgotten already.

He felt ashamed and tried to push the feeling from him with another thought: even if he could remember it wouldn’t help, he told himself, folding the paper-bells back in the box. Because he couldn’t have done it anyway. He wasn’t big enough, tall enough, to hang the decorations high where they’d always hung.

It had been the hardest thing to carry the box back up the stairs, to go again to the wardrobe. But he’d managed to do it without crying.

He was getting better at not crying.

 +

You mustn’t say ‘die’: Oscar knows that now. You have to say things like ‘gone’ or ‘passed away’ or ‘was taken’.

When he said ‘died’ in the playground – afterwards, on the day he went back to school and his dad tried to go back to work – a teacher took him into the classroom and said that he mustn’t upset the other children.

Oscar didn’t know he was upsetting them – it was his mum who’d died … was taken … not theirs – and he still doesn’t really understand why what he said was wrong. He just knows now that he mustn’t say it.

And he mustn’t say ‘cancer’.

He must say something like: ‘My mother was ill and she passed away.’ Or he mustn’t say anything at all.

+

The few Christmas decorations he had succeeded in putting up had made the house look more sad than celebratory, even to Oscar’s eyes.

He’d draped thin strands of silver tinsel through the yellowing cheese-plant by the window; he’d propped Mum’s ceramic angel with the chipped wing on the sideboard; he’d hauled a dining chair across the room to put the Christmas cards on the mantelpiece above the fireplace – but they’d kept falling down and finally he’d had to abandon his efforts to set them upright yet again.

In the corner, the Christmas tree stood like a rebuke.

Dad had asked him to decorate it. But although Oscar didn’t say anything at the time, he knew he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Not properly. He’d only put four glitter-crusted silver bells in place before he’d heard her voice in his head and had to stop.

It had always been their job. Together.

His dad had come home with the tree one afternoon, looking almost as desolate and lost as the sparse, plastic and implausibly-green thing itself. He’d put it quickly down in the corner, positioned a solitary present beneath it and hurried from the room.

‘I’m sorry, Ossie,’ he said, closing the door softly behind.

His father had spent four months apologising like this. Oscar didn’t know why: none of it was his fault. It’s not his fault either about not finding a new job, about having no money.

To begin with, Oscar had been angry with his dad about the tree – but now there was just a small ache inside him whenever he looked at it.

He knew that Mum would only ever have a real one; tall, sweet-smelling, with branches spread like welcoming arms. She would never have allowed an artificial tree through the front door.

++

2.
Michael

In the kitchen, Michael Oliver sits at the table, nursing his head and a mug of lukewarm black coffee. He’d drunk too much red wine, alone and after Oscar had gone to bed the night before.

It’s not the first time it’s happened. He has to stop: it isn’t good for him and he can’t afford it. It makes him worse with Oscar too – somehow it distances him from the boy, leaves him even more ragged with him.

‘Just get through Christmas,’ he tells himself, closing his eyes. ‘Just get through it.’

The irony, of course, is not lost on him. Cathy used to drive him mad with all her Christmas rituals – but now he is left reeling and helpless with memories.

Last night she would have put the milk and biscuits out and, as he carried Oscar warm and sleepy to bed, she would have been drinking half the glass, crumbing the biscuits, crafting Santa’s icing-sugar footprints across the carpet, arranging the presents under the tree. This morning she would have been awake at dawn, even before the boy, and …

Michael stops himself: it’s no good. There’s no point in thinking like this, remembering.

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He forces himself up from the table, goes to the oven, checks on the progress of the frozen dinners.

Christmas was one of the many ways they were different: she was always so excited about it – he’d never seen the point. He’d gone along with it for her sake and for the boy’s, of course, but Christmas had never meant much to him. When he was growing up, his father had been too sour and Scrooge-like for it and – although the last thing in the world he wanted was to be like his father – he found it hard to shake off that ingrained lack of festive cheer.

All the Christmas nonsense somehow undermined him, left him cold, indifferent. Left him strangely guilty too – guilty that in his lack of joy he was failing his family – but incapable of changing.

But now she has gone and everything has fallen apart.

He hadn’t known how much he loved her.

++

3.
Oscar

It was as he was putting the treasure box back in the bottom of the wardrobe that Oscar had the thought that wouldn’t go away: it was only his mother who could make Christmas.

Only her.

He’d found out that, because he couldn’t remember and because he was too small, he couldn’t make it for himself. And it was obvious that his dad didn’t know how or he’d forgotten. Or he didn’t want to remember.

She alone knew how it worked, how to take all the warm magic – the smells and tastes, the songs and stories, the waiting and hoping, the laughter and the games –– out of the box and make the house come alive.

And closing the wardrobe door, Oscar had another thought: without her, there could never be a proper Christmas again.

Most days, Oscar tries not to think about her too much. But alone this Christmas morning and staring at the almost bare, plastic tree in the corner, he can’t help but remember the way it used to be.

It always began with laughter, when his father arrived on the doorstep with the tree – a real one – straining in his arms; as he swayed and wrestled and eased the branches through the doorway; as he grunted with prickled effort; as she danced around telling him to go this way, that.

Laughing. Always laughing. So much so that his father finally found himself weak with laughter too.

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The tree erected, Dad did the lights and it was then Oscar’s job to hang the baubles – with help from Mum. Each one had its own story, which she told as she passed them to him in turn – where the golden bell had come from, who had given the frosted ball to her, what the man in the shop had said when she bought the silver angel – ‘An angel for an angel, he said. Made me blush!’ – what the glass icicles reminded her of, how she remembered them from when she was a child, why they were special, her favourites.

One of Oscar’s worries now is that next time he sees those baubles, he won’t remember the stories. That they too will be gone forever.

As the tree filled, she lifted him, singing, laughing – lifted him high, higher – even when he was getting too heavy for her.

She filled the house; Mum.

After the tree came the baking; mince pies with flour falling like snow. The heavy rich cake, that had been baked three months before, was then carefully removed from its tin and iced with craggy drifts and decorated with a miniature boy falling from a sledge, a proud robin, a smiling snowman and a golden ribbon.

‘I don’t suppose you want to lick the spoon?’ she said, slowly shaking her head, wrinkling her face, shuddering, teasing.

It was slicked white with icing; nothing ever tasted so sweet. Of course he wanted to lick the spoon.

There was all of this and there were letters posted to the North Pole and an advent calendar with a new window to be opened every day and a stocking hung from the end of the bed and presents opened under the tree and Uncle Jack and Auntie Jenny arriving early and leaving late and playing games and pulling crackers and watching the Queen on television.

And more. So much more.

And everything had to be done just so.

Just the same.

But all of it was gone now. Because she was gone.

All of it – except Oscar’s one thing.

++

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4.
Oscar’s one Christmas thing

Every year, three weeks before Christmas, his mother would lift her varnished wooden workbox from the sideboard cupboard. It had been her mother’s and her grandmother’s before. It was her most precious possession, she said.

Carrying it ceremoniously to the dining table, with Oscar following close behind, she would always say the same thing.

‘I don’t know why I do this,’ she would say. ‘It’s just making more work for myself. As if I haven’t got enough to do!’

But then she would smile and run her hand lovingly over the varnished wood. Remembering all the Christmases before.

The box was fastened by a clasp, tarnished and stiff from the years. Prising that open, its three-tiered trays splayed apart, cantilevered on unsteady hinges. Each tray was brimming with wonders – silk threads and fabric scraps, shining buttons and glossy bows, coloured paper and fine-nibbed pens, golden stars and phials of silver dust.

They were all familiar friends – but she would greet each as though for the first time.

‘What shall we do this year?’ she would say.

They would discuss it: Oscar always wanted to make a snowman but somehow they never did.

As they talked, from nothing but the scissors in her hands and a jumble of odds and ends plucked from her box, his mum would conjure up three perfect wise men bearing their glittering gifts or an amiable donkey in a stable full of light or a heavily-decorated tree.

‘How about that?’ she would say.

It was like magic: Oscar would nod his dazzled approval, unable to find words.

In the following weeks, every afternoon when he came home from school, they would sit side by side at the table. And he would watch and talk about his day as she cut and pasted and sprinkled silver dust to make a special card for each of their twelve neighbours in The Close.

It’s the most important thing at Christmas, she told him. To remember your friends, your neighbours.

She would then write a message to every one of them – thanking them for some kindness during the year, remembering their family, hoping they were feeling better if they’d been ill. And Oscar would sign his name next to hers and Dad’s.

+

Oscar may have forgotten some things – but he remembered this. He’d thought about it on the day when he took the box back to the wardrobe.

‘It’s the most important thing at Christmas,’ she said.

He might not be able to make a proper Christmas but he could do this. He would do this.

The cards wouldn’t be as good as Mum’s. But they would be his own work – he would draw them with his crayons and he would write special messages with his school pen. He would think about her as he worked. And try to remember.

And he would do a snowman.

++

5.
Michael

He hadn’t guessed anything, hadn’t suspected anything. He’d come home late from a long day on the road, tired and aware of a nagging irritability. His heart had sunk when she said she had something to tell him, that they needed to talk when Oscar had gone to bed. He was too tired for talking, he thought, he just wanted to collapse in front of the television. Turn the box on, his mind off.

They sat across the table, facing each other. He didn’t understand what she was saying at first; the words wouldn’t register. Hospital? Doctors? Tests?

She’d gone alone, hadn’t told him anything until she was sure.

‘We’ll fight it,’ he said, later, in bed, when it hadn’t even really begun to sink in.

We? The ‘we’ sounded ridiculous even as he said it.

She said nothing, knowing then that it was already too late.

‘Oscar mustn’t know,’ she said. ‘Until the end.’

What had shaken Michael most was the speed of it. And how at the end he could hardly recognise her.

It had left him hollowed out.

Afterwards, he knew he had to keep going, keep everything together, do his best for Oscar – she had written down everything she thought he needed to know, written down pages of notes for Christmas too – but he failed every day. And that failure drove him further into himself.

Nothing mattered any more, that was the truth.

He hadn’t even cared when the job went – he couldn’t blame them for letting him go. Who wanted a salesman who could no longer sell?

Nothing mattered.

++

6.
Oscar

It had been much harder than Oscar had imagined to make the twelve cards for Christmas.

For one thing, the snowman was fidgety and restless, he kept shuffling across the page, wouldn’t stay still for Oscar: on some of the cards he was on the left, some on the right and on some he wandered to the centre. He just went where he wanted to go.

For another, he wouldn’t stay the same: he was meant to be tall and fat – but sometimes he ended up the right height but disappointingly thin, like he’d already started to melt away, but only at the sides. And sometimes he was fat enough but came out dumpily short.

The hat was a big problem too – it never quite looked like it was properly on his head. And, on more than one card, the head itself slipped precariously to one side and was nearly falling off.

Folding the cards neatly also hadn’t been easy. And not all of them stood up properly. Or at all.

But the most difficult thing by far had been the individual messages.

He had thought of some of them quite quickly – even though he wasn’t sure about spellings and his writing wasn’t very neat. Mr and Mrs Hasan had looked after him some days after school when his dad was late and he thanked them for that and for sausage and beans before he went home. He had often played with John and Jo, the twins, and he told Mr and Mrs Webster how much he had liked their special cricket game. He thanked Mrs Jones for always giving him a big smile and said he was sorry she was quite old and had to use a walking stick. Mrs Butcher had given him his football back whenever he kicked it into her garden – and he promised to try hard not to do it again. Chloe, Mrs Cochrane’s teenage daughter, had held his hand and walked him to the bus-stop one day and had bent and tied his shoelace which had come undone and had given him a hug – he told her it was a good hug, even though she squashed him a bit too tight really. He told Mr Jennings that his black dog – a Labrador called Sam – was very well behaved and was good to stroke. He remembered that Mr and Mrs Singh had been on holiday to Torquay and he told them he hoped they’d had a nice time. Chris and Sandy – he didn’t know their proper name – had moved in to number 6 and had a new baby and Oscar said he hoped it didn’t cry too much. And he remembered that Mrs Church had given him a bar of chocolate but had hurried away because she was upset about his mum – and Oscar said he understood because he got upset too and that she should be like him and try not to cry, even though it was very hard.

But what could he say to Mrs O’Brien who had once shouted and, with bony fingers, had shaken him hard by the shoulders when he stepped into the road without looking?

And what about Mr and Mrs Kemp, at number 8, who were very old and whose house needed decorating and whose garden was so overgrown you could hardly see the path?

And what about Mr Green who had a bicycle shop and was always angry?

In the end, Oscar hoped Mrs O’Brien was keeping well, that Mr and Mrs Kemp would have their house painted soon and that Mr Green had been able to sell all his bicycles in time for Christmas.

++

7.
Michael

Michael had tried to explain it to her brother, Jack, and to Jenny: this first Christmas would be the worst. They just had to survive it – Oscar and him. On their own. In their own way.

Jack had argued, told him he was wrong, that it would be better for Oscar to try to have a proper Christmas, for him and Jenny to be there, to make it the best Christmas they could under the circumstances. It would have been what Cathy wanted, they said.

But Michael had put his foot down, insisted.

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He couldn’t do it, he said. And he certainly couldn’t even begin to do Christmas like Cathy did: Christmas belonged to her. He couldn’t even bring himself to read her notes, to even try.

No, it was simple. They just had to get through it. That’s all.

And Oscar understood that. He hadn’t even opened his present – he wasn’t interested in Christmas, was he? Next year, perhaps. But not this year.

++

8.
Oscar

It had been more frightening than Oscar had thought, posting the cards through the early-morning letterboxes in the shadowy cold before anyone was awake.

It was especially frightening going to Mr and Mrs Kemp. As he went down their garden path, something was creaking like a rusty hinge and something was flapping like the wing of a great bird. And then something old and cobwebbed had brushed against his face. Made him jump.

And it was always frightening going to Mr Green’s house. Because he might be there waiting and be angry and he might shout.

But Mr Green hadn’t been there and Oscar had gone to every house and had come running quickly home.

Sitting now in the front room, waiting for his father to come through with their chicken-on-a-plate, he should have felt proud – proud, because he had been brave and because he’d worked so hard to make the cards – but instead he just felt empty and sad.

It was his one Christmas thing and it was over.

Again he looks towards the barren tree.

No, there is one more Christmas thing, he thinks. His present from his father is still on the floor. The paper on the present is thin and slightly torn and Oscar had seen from the first that it is Lego.

Weeks before, he’d told Dad he didn’t really like Lego anymore. But he’d forgotten or hadn’t heard. When his dad had come down this morning, Oscar had told him he would open it later. He’d felt too sad to open it then – sad about it being Lego and sad also because he hadn’t been able to buy a present for his father. He hadn’t had pocket money for a long time.

But however sad he feels, Oscar doesn’t want his dad to know. He gets up from the sofa and goes towards the tree. He’ll open the present before the chicken dinner.

As Oscar bends to lift the box, he thinks he hears something outside, outside the front door. He stops. Listens.

Voices?

Angry shouting voices?

And then three loud bangs of the door knocker make his heart jump.

++

9.
Cyril

When Oscar went warily down the misty path in the half-light of the morning to his front door, Cyril Green had been at the bedroom window. Watching.

He hadn’t been able to sleep. In truth, he hadn’t been able to sleep soundly and through for years. At three o’clock every morning, his eyes opened and his day began. Always the same. Alone and in the dark. With his memories.

At the first glimmer of light, he was up. Moving around, the memories were somehow stilled.

He peered through the window, anger rising. What on earth was the boy up to? What was he doing, out and about and on his own at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning? What was his father thinking of?

Cyril checked himself. Why was his first reaction always anger?

He knew the answer, of course. He was no good on his own, that’s why. Never had been. If he’d have gone first, Ellen would have been all right, she would have coped. But not him. For all these years, all he’d had is his work. That shop.

She’d gone and had left him alone and angry at the world.

The boy stopped halfway along the path. Looked around. Anxious. What was he up to?

When Cathy Oliver died earlier in the year, it had made it all new again for Cyril. Cancer. Just like Ellen.

She was a nice woman, Cathy. Always smiling. Always a friendly word. And when he first heard the news, it had gone through Cyril’s mind that he should go to talk to Michael. After all, he’d been through it, the same thing; he understood, he might be able to help. He even thought he could have been a friend to him – much older, but still somehow a friend.

But he didn’t go to Michael, of course. Didn’t knock on his door. Didn’t want to intrude.

Down below, Cyril heard the clatter of the letterbox and saw the boy run quickly back, down the path, through the gate and out of sight.

What on earth …?

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++

10.
Oscar

Oscar doesn’t go at once to answer the door. Something tells him that whoever is knocking loudly at the door is angry. With him? About the cards?

He waits for his father to emerge from the kitchen. His father doesn’t come.

He calls to his father. His father doesn’t answer, doesn’t hear.

Slowly Oliver moves towards the door. Reaches for the handle, opens it just a crack, just enough to see out.

And then it starts.

The singing.

‘Once in royal David’s city …’

Oscar opens the door wider, steps outside, hears his father coming from the kitchen, feels his hand on his shoulder.

 They are all there, bundled in their coats and hats and scarves – Mr and Mrs Hasan who looked after him; the twins, John and Jo, and the Websters; Mrs Jones smiling, with tinsel wrapped around her stick; Mr and Mrs Butcher who always returned his football; Mrs Cochrane and Chloe who’d given him a fierce hug; Mr & Mrs Jennings and Sam, the black Labrador, panting in the cold; Mr and Mrs Singh, back from Torquay; Mrs Church who had cried and her daughter who had come home from Wales; Chris and Sandy with their baby wrapped up warm; Mrs O’Brien who was singing loudest of all; Mrs Kemp in a wheelchair and her husband standing behind. As they sing, their numbers swell: Uncle Jack and Auntie Jenny pull up in their car, hurry up the path and join in.

And all the while, at the front, conducting them like a choirmaster, is Mr Green.

‘Stood a lonely cattle shed …’

Oscar doesn’t know what to think.

And doesn’t know why he’s crying.

As the singing continues, Mrs Hasan steps forward, gives a small curtsey and hands him a plate of mince pies – and then Mrs O’Brien comes rushing busily, kisses him on both wet cheeks, and gives him the biggest box of chocolates Oscar has ever seen. And then the others, one at a time, step forward with parcels and boxes and stack them all around him.

‘For me?’ he says to old Mr Kemp, disbelieving.

He nods. He is crying too.

‘Where a mother laid her baby …’

And then, last of all, Mr Green stops conducting, goes behind the small crowd and re-emerges.

With a bicycle. Shining and new.

+

Afterwards, after the singing, they all come squeezing into the house. There is hardly room to move and there is so much talking and laughing that it’s very difficult for Oscar to know what’s being said.

Someone ruffles his hair, pats his shoulder; Auntie Jenny goes down on her knees in front of him, gives him a hug; the twins start to tickle him until he begs them to stop.

Later, his father is standing with Mr Green; they are eating, drinking – someone has produced champagne, glasses, sausage rolls, cheese on sticks, cake. Oscar hears his father laugh. He had forgotten what that sounds like.

‘But I still don’t get it,’ his father says, his voice trying to rise above the din.

Mr Green puts his arm around his shoulder, pulls him close.

‘It was the boy,’ he shouts. ‘He wrote letters to all of us. Broke our hearts. Mended them.’

+

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Much later, when everyone has gone home and the house is still and quiet and he has his pyjamas on and is falling almost asleep on the sofa in his father’s arms, Oscar has a thought that he finds he has to say aloud.

‘I thought it was only Mum who could make Christmas,’ he says.

His father pulls him closer. They hadn’t talked about Mum. Not really.

‘Me too,’ he says quietly.

Oscar hasn’t finished.

‘But it isn’t just Mum,’ he says. ‘Because Mr Hasan, Mrs O’Brien, Chloe – they can all make Christmas, can’t they? Even Mr Green.’

His father snuggles him closer still and waits some time before answering.

And when he does, his voice is thick, struggling against tears.

‘It wasn’t them who made Christmas,’ he finally manages to say.

‘It wasn’t them, Oscar. It was you.’

+++

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145 Responses to Oscar Oliver’s Christmas

  1. Lucy Gregor April 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    What a great little story. Never expected it to have such a cheery ending. Well done.will read more .(sunny Easter afternoon in Swansea)

    • Mark Haysom April 18, 2017 at 7:14 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER, Lucy. I hope you might also find time to take a look at my other free short stories. http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

    • Isabel McCormack May 9, 2017 at 7:41 am #

      Loved this and so close to home my first husband died aged 38 on 22nd dec and I had to get through Christmas with my children aged 9 and 15 but I did it somehow . My husband loved Christmas so much too . Brilliant story will be getting your book now x

      • Mark Haysom May 10, 2017 at 7:26 am #

        I’m so glad that the story meant something to you. Isabel. If you haven’t come across them already, you can find all five of my free short stories here. http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  2. Marie April 17, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    As I was checking FB and email messages, I came across your story about Oscar, it made me think about Christmas, being for me, the best time of the year, always loved snow, even though we don’t get it here in Devon, I have a grandchild in hospital after a nasty car accident, he is only 18 and he has been unconscious for 2 months now, and my daughter and son in law, have been told by top brain consultant, that he has catastrophic brain injuries, and will never be the same again, he is a strapping big lad, lovely sense of humour etc. I was thinking, this may well prove to be a bad Christmas for all of us, especially for his mum and dad, but after reading your story which was very enjoyable, even though with a lot of sadness, We will have Christmas again.xx

  3. Julia Atkinson April 2, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    Just read is story Mark. It is beautiful and sadly very near the truth fir many people. Thank you. Xx

    • Mark Haysom April 14, 2017 at 7:50 am #

      Apologies for not responding sooner: I have just returned from travelling through New Zealand. I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER, Julia. I hope you might also find time to take a look at my other free short stories. http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  4. Ruby Whitman. March 5, 2017 at 11:08 pm #

    I was about to go to bed but as I was checking to see if there were any messages for me I came across this beautiful story. I found myself in Oscar’s house and knew just what it felt like. My parents have long gone and this past Christmas, for some reason, was just another holiday and I didn’t want to put decorations up – not even the cards – so I didn’t. Even after all these years, I still remember it was moms job. Even the thought that my grandchildren and great- grandchildren would wonder why my house wasn;t Christmassy didn’t bother me. After reading this story I made a promise to myself, If the Lord spares me, this next Christmas will be just like the ones I remember – with all the trimmings. I don’t expect the neighbours to call round, after all none of them celebrate Christmas round here now nor send cards Shame. Thanks for a lovely story.

    • Rita Oldfield April 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

      Beautiful story, loved it,I was quite teary

  5. Diane Castles February 26, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    A lovely story. Left me with a lump in my throat. Thankyou very much x

  6. Benita Jenkinson January 22, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

    What a wonderful story written from the heart, that will have been read and touched so many people that have had to deal with that first Christmas after losing a loved one through cancer…

    I think you have had to experience this to write such a moving story..

  7. Kath Rennie January 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    My God! How this story got to me …

    Having lost two family members to cancer. Felt the devastation. Seen the devastation in young-ones …

    Most folk, I’m sure have experienced that Christmas day!

    The way you have written this story and have had many of us readers, in tears …!?

    Thank you for sharing this heart-wrenching story …

  8. Lisne January 8, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    Oh my days I read this out loud this morning to my husband and I can honestly say I experienced every feeling I’ve ever felt – a very talented story teller myself and my husband sobbed

    • Mark Haysom January 9, 2017 at 7:39 am #

      I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed OCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS. You might also like to take a look at my other free short stories, Lisne. http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  9. Felicity Stryjak December 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    What a beautiful, poignant, sad but uplifting story with so many messages!! It reduced me to floods of tears but gave me much food for thought. Thank you for sharing. I’ve shared it on Facebook even though it’s after Christmas. It felt as if I’d found a forgotten present under the tree at the back which, when opened, contained a treasure. Thank you again. I’ll be reading your other work. 🙂

    • Mark Haysom December 31, 2016 at 11:39 am #

      That’s very kind, Felicity. You will find my other free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/. Later, perhaps, you might like to try my two novels.

  10. Lesley Murray December 30, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Lovely story. Perfect ending 🙂

  11. Karen Thompson December 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    Amazing story. My words are not good enough to do this story justice….

    • Mark Haysom December 30, 2016 at 9:08 am #

      Thank you for your kind comment, Karen: I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS. You might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  12. Valerie December 26, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for the gift of this story. My three are in their late teens and early twenties now, and like many families, we have our ‘ traditions’ -some of mine handed down, some new ones made with them that they will pass forward.
    I hope you have had a blessed Christmas and have enjoyed your own family customs and cries of ‘but we always do it this way!’
    Valerie

    • Mark Haysom December 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Valerie. You might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  13. carol simmonds December 26, 2016 at 12:45 am #

    It was a wonderful story made me think of the people dear to us that we have lost along the way brought a tear to my eye thank you xx

    • Mark Haysom December 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed my story, OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Carol. You might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  14. Kerry miles December 19, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    A lovely story even though it made me cry we lost our farther on christmas day so sad but we try to make an christmas day for the grandchildren to remember every year

    • Mark Haysom December 20, 2016 at 8:18 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER, Kerry. You might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

    • Linda Danton December 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

      Wonderful story Mark and so sensitively written. You should be very proud. I’d live to read other stories of yours. Merry Christmas x

      • Mark Haysom December 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

        That’s very kind, Linda. I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS- you might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  15. Liz Phillips November 24, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    The most poignant, heart-rending short story I’ve read. Beautifully written both from the perspective of Oscar and his dad

    • Mark Haysom November 24, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      That’s very kind of you, Liz. You might like to know that you can find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

    • Sheila Farey December 12, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      Such a lovely story. Tugged at the heartstrings – l was in tears! I shall share x

      • Mark Haysom December 13, 2016 at 8:19 am #

        I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER, Sheila. You might also like to see my other free short stories – including another for Christmas http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  16. Carol french November 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    What a fantastic view of Christmas and loss through the eyes of a child. My tears were rolling freely and I have nothing but admiration for you as an author and how you manage to turn a sad tale into a tale or love and hope for everyone to share this Christmas thank you. X

    • Mark Haysom November 24, 2016 at 8:28 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed Oscar Oliver’s Christmas, Carol. You might like to know that you can find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  17. Sandra King November 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Managed not to cry until chapter 10 then couldn’t help it. First Christmas this year without my dad. Know it will be hard but will get through it. Loved the story and will definitely share.

    • Mark Haysom November 17, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sandra, and hope all goes well for you this Christmas. You might like to know that you can find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  18. Rosalind Garry November 3, 2016 at 9:03 am #

    Just read your story. Beautiful, and iit left me in tears.

  19. Pat Tighe October 27, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    A lovely Christmas story, showing the true meaning of Christmas

  20. Diana Marchand September 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    such a beautiful story, sad but with a wonderful ending. Thank you for sharing it..

    • Mark Haysom September 25, 2016 at 8:32 am #

      Thank you so much, Diana. You can find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/. And, perhaps, you might also like to try my two novels, LOVE, LOVE ME DO and the sequel, IMAGINE.

  21. Lyn August 29, 2016 at 5:57 am #

    Thank you for writing such a heart warming story, and thank you for understanding loss at Christmas. xx

    • Mark Haysom August 29, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Lyn, and that it meant something to you. If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  22. lily hackett August 22, 2016 at 2:06 am #

    what a lovely story i was in tears

    • Mark Haysom August 24, 2016 at 7:55 am #

      Sorry about the tears, Lily, but I’m glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS. If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  23. anita August 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Beautifully written and puts the real meaning back in Christmas

    • Mark Haysom August 19, 2016 at 8:54 am #

      Thank you, Anita. I’m glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS – even if it’s the middle of August! If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

      • Agnes August 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

        I’d been forewarned by earlier comments… but I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up. My lovely parents-in-law died within 2 years of my marrying their youngest son, so I never experienced my mum-in-law’s legendary Christmas dinners (it was the greatest compliment when my husband praised the first ever chestnut stuffing I made as “As good as Mum’s!”), and my dad-in-law succumbed only days before Christmas. So for many years the ‘festive season’ had bittersweet associations for us. This is a truly heartwarming tale.

        • Mark Haysom August 24, 2016 at 7:56 am #

          I’m glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Agnes, and that it meant something to you. If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  24. winifred dalley August 12, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Your story just goes to prove it’s not the sparkle or glitter, it’s what in your heart that Christmas starts. Thank you for reminding us xx Beautiful story. I love to write too.

    • Mark Haysom August 15, 2016 at 7:38 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Winifred. If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find all five of my free short stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  25. Penny July 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    A beautiful story. Thank you.

    • Mark Haysom July 12, 2016 at 7:06 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS, Penny. If you haven’t come across them already, you’ll find more stories here http://mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

  26. Tracey March 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    just read your wonderful Christmas story which left me sobbing at the end. It made me think of the first Christmas without my dad and it was very similar, he passed away a month before Christmas when I was a teenager so it really struck a chord with me.

    • Mark Haysom March 25, 2016 at 8:38 am #

      I’m glad that OSCAR OLIVER’S CHRISTMAS meant something to you, Tracey. You’ll find other stories of mine here that you might also enjoy http://www.mark-haysom.co.uk/the-stories/

    • Kay Bellew April 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

      A heart warming beautiful story to give us all hope ,my daughter Ellen died aged 37yrs leaving behind 2 little children aged 8yrs & 4yrs that first Xmas & every other Xmas has been haRd but with the help of family & friends we get through it.

  27. Patricia Elliott February 25, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Beautiful story very emotional.

  28. Marion. February 14, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    What a beautiful story. I really enjoyed reading it, and it also showed that a simple act of sending a Christmas card, could achieve especially from a thoughtful child.

  29. Ann Moqbel January 23, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    A beautifully moving and heart-rending story, beautifully written and deeply meaningful. So well describes the heart of the home, the mummy and how hard it is to go on without her. Box of tissues essential. Will buy more books by you and probably more tissues. Thank you.

  30. Rosemary Bridge January 22, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Beautifully written although my moist eyes struggled at the end x
    I shall read more of your work for sure.

  31. Annette January 21, 2016 at 7:56 am #

    So lovely, and heartwarming, I’m a dreadful weeper and this had me in floods. So glad I’m on my own

  32. Elizabeth Boyle January 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Just knew it was going to be a weepy, don’t know how I managed to read to the end,could hardly see through the tears. Loverly story.

  33. Chrissie December 30, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

    Lovely story. Thank you xx

  34. Sarah Nicola December 30, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    A fantastic and beautifully written story. I did shedI’d a tear and brings back memories of losing a loved one and coping at this time of year. I’d love to read more of Mark’s work.

  35. Barbara Lambert December 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    What a beautiful story – beautifully written could imagine it all in my mind – made me cry and laugh

  36. Lyn December 26, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    What a beautiful story. Made me cry. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer we don’t know the prognosis yet. We are hoping this won’t be our last Christmas together.

  37. Sue Wood December 22, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Beautiful Christmas story Mark, thank you for sharing. Passing on through Facebook now. Merry Christmas X

  38. Ellen December 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    This is so sad but also a very heart warming beautiful story, it made me cry!

  39. Paula December 21, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    Just ready this – and now need a box of tissues. All the more poignant as our mum died in June so it will be our first Christmas without her.

    • Mark Haysom December 21, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Thank you so much for your comment, Paula. I’m glad my story meant something to you. You can find more of my stories – including another for Christmas – by following the link http://markhaysom.wpengine.com/the-stories/ Best wishes, Mark

  40. An December 13, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    What a beautiful story!

  41. Valerie Oneill December 12, 2015 at 6:18 am #

    what a lovely lovely story , gives you a warm Christmassy feeling

  42. Gill December 7, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    What a brilliant story for adults and children. Gives real meaning to sharing Christmas with loved ones. Thank you.

  43. sonia December 4, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    What a lovely story really touching

  44. Linda Seward December 3, 2015 at 3:18 am #

    A beautiful story. There are probably many young children in this same position every year. Trying to be strong for the parent who’s left behind. Be it mum or dad. It breaks your heart to think about it really. Their childhood will never be the same.again. It’s a story most people wouldn’t think about writing but it is true for so many families losing loved ones. It made me cry when I read it. I think we all need a wake up call sometimes we don’t really know how blessed we are having a healthy family. Thank you a brilliant story. XX

    • Mark Haysom December 3, 2015 at 8:39 am #

      Thank you so much, Linda. A wonderful comment. Perhaps, you might also enjoy some of my other stories? http://markhaysom.wpengine.com/the-stories/

      • Jan Wright December 5, 2015 at 7:35 am #

        This story is just beautiful. I cried buckets after reading it. I pictured little Oscar trying to make his Christmas as good as his mum had always done. Lovely message to us all to help each other at sad times. Thank you for reminding me that the true meaning of Christmas is to help and join with others who are sometimes lonely and sad.

  45. Lesley November 29, 2015 at 1:37 am #

    I read this late at night when I was feeling low. It made me cry a little but it made me think. There is always someone who is there to help you. I have good friends and a lovely family, and will enjoy Christmas this year even though it is not anything like Christmas past. We can make new ones if we just try a little like Oscar did.

  46. Anne Germaine November 23, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    Such a sad but sweet little story. Thinking of everyone who is sad at Christmas 🙁

  47. Hazel Lewis November 20, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    You’ve done it again Mark. Such a sad story, hard to read through the tears but what a delightful happy ending.

    • Mark Haysom November 20, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      That’s very kind, Hazel. If you haven’t found them already, there’s more stories here http://markhaysom.wpengine.com/the-stories/. But, hopefully, you’ll now go on to my novels http://markhaysom.wpengine.com/novels/. Mark

    • Linda Cunningham November 23, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      What a lovely story. Still got the tears in my eyes. Can understand the loss they felt and how nice for their neighbours to rally round for Oscar. Let us hope people could help others like that and be there for those who suffer a loss. We all need it at times. Well done Mark.

      • Mark Haysom November 24, 2015 at 8:44 am #

        Wonderful that you enjoyed it, Linda. And thank you so much for your comments. Mark.

  48. Betty November 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    I really enjoyed this heartwarming story, and yes it diid make me cry a little x I look forward to reading more of your work x Thank you for your Christmas gift of your story to all of us Mark xx Have a very Happy Christmas xxx

  49. Heather November 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Loved this. Brought tears to my eyes. Will share. Thank you so much.

    • Mark Haysom November 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed it, Heather. You can find other free stories on my website that you might also enjoy. Mark

  50. Meg December 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Reviewed and posted on Personapaper http://personapaper.com/article/16819-story-for-christmas This post will also be submitted on some social networking sites. Really enjoyed it.

  51. margaret vincent December 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    What a lovely story, hanky at the ready plus tears for the little boy, there are so many like him that no one knows about.

  52. Lisa December 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Hi,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your story! Shared on fb. It reinforces why I do all the little things I do at christmas time for my two young children, always hoping they’ll remember everything & take their memories through life like I have. Thanks again for your beautiful story, Merry Christmas.

    • Mark Haysom December 22, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      Lisa, Thank you so much for sharing the story. I have to confess that I am now a little overwhelmed at the reaction it’s getting. Hope you and your children have a wonderful Christmas. Mark.

  53. caroline December 22, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Loved this story. My mum passed away a month ago from cancer and though I havent spent xmas with her for many years(different countries) she always made it special because she loved it. Her traditions became mine and my children’s. Its a bit harder this year but your story brings it home..its what they instill in us that gets us thru.

    • Mark Haysom December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Caroline, I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you for taking the time to comment – it means a great deal to me. Mark

  54. Tamem Michael. December 22, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    I cried, and cried and cried. What a sad, and moving story. Glad it ended well.

  55. Terry December 22, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    What a lovely story, made me cry again, this is my first christmas without my dad and it is so hard

    • Mark Haysom December 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Terry, Thank you so much for commenting on ‘Oscar Oliver’s Christmas’. Hope your Christmas is everything you would wish it to be.

  56. Ann James December 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    A beautiful story, thank you. My mum was the one who ‘made’ christmas. When she died after battling cancer, Christmas was never quite the same, quieter somehow. Amazing how one person can have such an impact on, and leave such a gaping hole in others lives.

    • Mark Haysom December 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

      Ann, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on ‘Oscar Oliver’s Christmas’ and for sharing something of your story.

  57. Louise Stephens December 19, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Started reading the story via a link on Facebook, then half way through it vanished! Distraught I searched the Internet by entering ‘Oscar Xmas Cards’ and Phew! I found it again. What a wonderful story, struggled to read the end through the tears. Love and kindness can get everyone through xx

  58. LORNA SHEAD December 19, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    Wonderful insight as to how people feel and react. A truly wonderful story and so well told.

  59. Mark Haysom December 18, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    A selection of comments from Facebook and Twitter:

    ‘Love this story even though I cry each time I read it, very heartwarming!’ – Pamela Arnold

    ‘Oh my… How beautiful. Crying heaps!’ – Sarah Ware

    ‘What a wonderful story xx so heartwarming and uplifting xx will share it with everyone x’ – Sandra Parker

    ‘Oh dear lord, I was an emotional wreck before I got to work this morning after reading this beautiful heartrending story.’ – Elaine Clark

    ‘Absolutely lovely!’ – Dorothy Higginbottom

    ‘That wasn’t fair! It should have come with a warning, I cried from start to finish……..a beautiful story.’ – Jane Walder

    ‘A very moving story. Lovely.’ – Elaine Wooden

    ‘Beautiful story.’ – Marie Scully

    ‘Beautiful tho’ sad – made me cry, but in a good way. A little reminder of what Christmas means – sharing.’ – Monica Terry

    ‘Lovely. Made me cry more than a little.’ – Margaret Clarke

    ‘So lovely and moving but so sad.’ – Jan Hawes

    ‘Lovely read through tears.’ – Gillian Maynard

    ‘A truly wonderful Christmas story, although guaranteed to make you cry …’ – Jim Knight

    ‘Yep. Got me. And in public!’ – Thayer Prime

    ‘A wonderful, moving short story for Christmas.’ – Richard Parkinson

    ‘This story is so touching. I have tears in my eyes.’ – Patricia Ann Jones

    ‘Beautiful story. Enjoy each other whilst you can.’ – Melody Bright

    ‘Tears in my eyes.’ – Ruth Bater

    ‘Wow very emotional, a well told story. I enjoyed it.’ – Maureen Wilmot

    ‘A lovely little story (although I recommend having tissues handy if you’re a big softie like me!)…’ – Jo Parkes

    ‘Such a lovely story x.’ – Rosemary

    ‘Still crying’ – Diane Jones

    ‘Very very moving’ – Miriam Ahern

    ‘It brought a tear to my eye,’ Lisa Barrett

    ‘Gulp.’ – Fiona Kelly

    ‘The true meaning of Christmas’ – Mary Hennessy

    ‘This little story makes a big impact, be sure to share it…. A lonely Xmas touches everyone. Just can’t stop the tears… Merry Xmas to all….’ – Leah Covis

    ‘Beautiful story’ – Janet Earls

    ‘Beautiful story. Full of good feelings, those ones we shouldn’t ever forget!’ – Graça Vázquez

    ‘Hard to but into words, but loved it.’ – Nora Mullin

    ‘Got to share most beautiful and meaningful story. All teary eyed here.’ – Marilyn James

    ‘Lovely story. Have shared to my friends.’ – Linda Townsend

  60. Anne Pink December 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Oh dear that was a tough read but the ending (and the message) made it worth it even though the tears flowed!! Thankyou Mark

    • Mark Haysom December 18, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Anne. Best wishes. Mark.

  61. Sue December 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Brilliant, a heart warming story and a reminder that Christmas is about love.

  62. Marie Greer December 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    My hubby (David Greer) forwarded this to me. He said the mom reminded him of me.

    I lost my dad 11 years ago and as he was dying he made me promise that Christmas would always be the same as it had been with him. He made Christmas so special and so magical for us and for many others. Through childhood and adulthood.

    The first year was hard but I think we would have made him proud. To this day the photograph of him dressed as Santa with my children on Christmas morning comes out on 1st December and we feel his spirit.

    My heart went out to the boy in the story but I also felt the joy of the memory.

    Lovely story and thankyou for sharing. I have shared it on facebook.

    David sends his best wishes from Norfolk where we now live.

    Have a lovely Christmas

    • Mark Haysom December 18, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Marie, thank you so much for sharing such special memories of your father. Please give David my best wishes.

  63. Vincent Gaten December 17, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Mark, that was lovely. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Have a great festive period.

    Vin
    UoL

    • Mark Haysom December 17, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Thank you, Vincent! Be good if you could share through Facebook? Best wishes. Mark

  64. Sarah Thewlis December 17, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    I am on the 6:40 into London and have just finished reading this and I am dabbing my eyes furiously. What a lovely story and thank you.

    • Mark Haysom December 17, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      So glad you enjoyed it, Sarah. Hope you didn’t attract too much attention on the 6:40!

  65. Shavaun December 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Oh wow … that’s just the most wonderful Christmas story. Of course I’m sitting here wiping tears away as I write and smiling at the picture I have in my mind’s eye of the final scenes. A sobering and uplifting reminder of human spirit … Merry merry Christmas Mark!

    • Mark Haysom December 17, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      Thank you, Shavaun! It would be great if you could share it as widely as possible – I’m on a mission to get as many people as possible to read it before Christmas. Best wishes. Mark.

  66. Neil Benson December 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    A touching story, Mark. I’ve shared it with my Facebook friends. Hope you’re well, and all the very best for Christmas. Neil

    • Mark Haysom December 17, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      Good to hear from you, Neil – and many thanks for sharing the story. Best wishes. Mark.

  67. Jill December 11, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Brought tears to my eyes…..
    Allowed me to see through the dreadful commercial hype and piped music;
    Thought provoking to say the least.
    Thank you Mark

    • Mark Haysom December 11, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Thank you, Jill. So glad you enjoyed it. Can you like and share on Facebook to make sure as many people as possible get a chance to read it? Mark

  68. Gill December 10, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Love a good cry!!

    • Mark Haysom December 11, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Thank you, Gill! I’m trying to make sure as many people as possible get a chance to read it before Christmas – can you like and share on Facebook?

  69. Sally December 10, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Such a lovely story – made me cry …

  70. Pamela Kirkham December 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    That was a lovely (if a little sad) story I must admit a felt a bit “teary-eyed” while reading it, Well written.

    • Mark Haysom December 11, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Thank you, Pamela – more uplifting than sad, I hope. It would be good if you could like and share on Facebook: I’m trying to make sure as many people as possible get a chance to read it before Christmas. Many thanks.

      • Margaret Patterson March 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

        Such an absorbing story Mark the tears fell whilst reading it at the start and they were for all the sadness portrayed, there were a few at the end also which were for the joy that came forth from the wonderful actions of other people who came and made Christmas for Oscar and his dad.. really enjoyed it !! brilliant writing …Thank you

    • Collette December 22, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

      A lovely Christmas story – very teary eyed at the end

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