It all began last December. I was deeply involved in promoting ‘Merry Midwinter’ in the run up to Christmas and as we approached Advent I decided that I would like to do something to mark these very special days of anticipation and preparation before Midwinter.

When I was young, I loved having an Advent calendar, with twenty-four or twenty-five doors to open throughout the days of December. Rather than simply receiving a picture to look at or a gift, I thought that it might be good to put something on my author’s blog every day of December – an idea, a suggestion – of something everyone could do to give something back to the world around them.

Some days I was so busy that I could only manage to provide the barest challenge in two or three sentences; other days I managed to flesh my ideas out with facts figures and a measure of cajolery to encourage readers to give it a go. It was very well received.

After Christmas, I once again turned my attention to my Advent blog posts. I felt that they were really beneficial to our society and it seemed a shame to allow these little bites of inspiration to slide into obscurity.

There and then I decided to collect them up and publish them… and so the idea for my next book, ‘The Alternative Advent Calendar; Secrets of the True Magic of Christmas’ was born!

Over the past couple of years I have been asked by several young friends how they could bring their little children up to celebrate Christmas authentically without involving them in all the commercialisation and consumerism of the twenty-first century.

After some consideration I got together a day-long workshop. It covered the origins of many of our Christmas and Winter customs, suggesting alternative activities which better reflect their true nature and showing everyone how to construct a selection of authentic decorations made from natural evergreens. We ended the day as dusk was falling, with a candlelit Christmas afternoon tea and carol singing around an blazing log fire. It was very successful and greatly enjoyed by everyone who participated – including myself!

Afterwards I wondered about putting my notes from the workshop into a booklet but realised that there was SO much to include – far too much for just a few pages – and quickly decided that I would jump in at the deep end and write a full-length book. Drawing on my childhood memories, my spiritual beliefs, my deep love of home and family and my passion for Midwinter and Christmas has really seemed to engage and inspire people, so I have included plenty of these ideas, observations and reminiscences to illustrate my suggestions.

The result is my first book, ‘Merry Midwinter’.

Watch the video from the Fundraiser that lead to Merry Midwinter’s existence in print here!