Title: Christmas Tales
Author: William McInnes
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 27th October 2020
Synopsis: ‘Tis the season to be jolly! One of Australia’s favourite storytellers is back with a collection of stories about everyone’s favourite family holiday.
I can’t help it if I’m a boring conservative dag, but I love Christmas, always have and hopefully always will. Whatever brand of faith you fly under, even if you proclaim you don’t have one, Christmas is a time of generosity, good citizenship and decency.
It’s the holiday where shopping centres become a sea of dazed shoppers bearing checklists as long as your arm, lunch is a never-ending buffet of prawns and ham and your electricity bill is doubly struck by having to run the fan all day and keep those decorative lights blinking through the night.
William McInnes, bestselling author of FATHERHOOD, WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA, and A MAN’S GOT TO HAVE A HOBBY tackles the silly season in a way only he can – telling stories brimming with good humour and nostalgia, to remind us what Christmas is all about: family.
This year, perhaps more than any, we all need a festive and fun Christmas, even if our events are smaller and quieter in 2020. We need the decorations, the carols, the movies – multiple viewings of classics like Love Actually, Home Alone and The Muppet Christmas Carol are highly recommended! Anyway, one of my favourite things is to read Christmas stories. Most of my favourites are classics, or have a distinct Northern Hemisphere, European or British slant, and this is beautiful. It gives Australians a taste of what they might expect from a snowy, cosy Christmas.
Yet lately, we have seen more Australian stories of late, some of which I’ve read, and this is just as exciting to see. To see our Australian Christmas celebrated – and even that is diverse, interesting and these books give an insight into what some of our Christmases contain, or what an imagined Christmas in Australia might be for fantastical or invented characters.
William McInnes, one of the most well-known actors in Australia, has penned a memoir about Christmas, marking moments in his life against the annual marker of Christmas, and the impact of family, both past and present, the indicators of Christmas, and at times, visitations on the presence of Christmas in television and movies – a ubiquitous backdrop to often emotional storylines, whereby everything seems like it has sorted itself out by the end of the episode.
These stories are filled with William’s classic humour that fans will know well from his days as Sergeant Nick Schultz on Blue Heelers, and it truly sounds like William is reading these stories out loud to his audience – perhaps when you know how an author sounds, this is easier to imagine. There is an irreverent tone at times, yet the charm and love of what Christmas really is remains, from his days as a child in Queensland, to his days as an adult in the West End and Melbourne. It is funny and touching, and one that has that Christmas charm we all need this year. It’s been a tough year, and the books coming out in the next few months will be filled with hope and joy and will bring a smile to our faces in these trying and unprecedented times.
These stories flow on from each other and pull you into William’s experiences, and his family, as well as what Christmas means to him, and how it has changed over the years. It’s a fun look at Christmases past, and the Christmases to come, like a COVD-era Christmas that we’re all about to experience. The uplifting nature of stories means that whilst we may be further apart than we’d like to be this year, we can still find joy in our day and what we do and connect in new ways that we may never have had to use before. The humour and emotion is there, and is a set of stories that will be entertaining and relatable. They give comfort in family and story, and comfort in the familiarity of Christmas and what it brings, yet also humour and fun in the unexpected.
I love Christmas stories, because each one has something different to offer to the audience, and everyone will have their favourites as well as their own stories. Christmas is something we all need this year, or whatever holidays or celebrations we take part in. However small, this year will be precious to all of us, and we will treasure it for many years to come.