I’ll read a few more stories, and I’ll comment on those that I liked.
The Ghost of Christmas Replete by David Croser is about a man who has lost everything: his job and his family. He is considering suicide, so he climbs up to the top of the National Gallery. There he is visited by the ghost of Christmas replete, based on Dickens’ Christmas ghost, but in this case it is the personification of what Christmas has become, a fever of consumerism. The ghost makes him see that not everything is bad. He has lost his job, and after the divorce he can’t be with his children as much as he wants. Yet, the ghost reminds him of some pleasant moments that he spent with a girl he liked, Lucy. The end is when the ghost gives him Lucy’s number before he leaves. So I imagine Leon decides to keep on living and calls this woman, which might mean the key to his future happiness.
A Country Christmas by AA Abbott introduces us to Ben and Ciara, father and daughter. Ben lost Ciara’s mother in a coach accident. This year at Christmas he is invited by his first wife Michaela to spend a few days with them. While Ben and Ciara are there, the girl starts talking about Emily, who Michaela thinks is her imaginary friend. Then Ciara shows the adults a room which was behind the shelves in the room where she is staying. There they see a bed on which there is a strange doll that Ben thinks is looking at him. This is clearly a ghost story even though it is never specified. When Ben and Ciara go home, that night he sees Ciara hugging the strange doll, and there is a hint that Ciara has brought Emily, the girl who she thinks lived in the hidden room with her.
Some of the stories in this book are more enjoyable than others, and some are not really Christmas stories, only that the action happens during the holidays.