Book Review – An Almost Perfect Christmas – Nina Stibbe

‘This book is the seasonal garnish we all need’ – Observer

“My mother is not a foodie. But for as long as I can remember, once a year, she becomes possessed of a profound and desperate need to serve up a perfect roast turkey. Faced with a walk into the village though, she might think ‘oh, stuff it’ and decide to get a frozen one from Bejams on the 23rd and leave it to defrost in the downstairs toilet for not quite 48 hours.”

Reading about her resistance to turkey and her annual rebellion, you may start to wonder if Stibbe is a bit of a Christmas Grinch, however, this soon gives way to sympathy as she recalls amusing childhood memories of being instructed to point a hairdryer at a frozen last-minute turkey, and her mother’s later frantic efforts to cook it.

Filled with memoirs, short stories, and advice (on mince pies: “roughed up shop ones look homemade”), this book is a light-hearted mixture of offerings that will have you chuckling at every page – it might even help you feel better when things don’t quite go to plan during the holiday season.

From perpetually dry turkeys to homemade angel Gabriel’s that look “exactly like Alan Titchmarsh”, Stibbe paints imperfection, botched efforts, and human error in an uplifting light, advising readers not to aim for a perfect Christmas, but an “Xmassy Xmas”. A great read for when you’re feeling less like the families in the TV adverts, ‘An Almost Perfect Christmas’ is an ode to the joy and insanity of the most wonderful time of the year.

Available online and in book stores.

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