Donna Andrews: The Gift of the Magpie … and Yule Candles, Candy, and Other Christmas Cheer

24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 – Winter Solstice (Yule – Dōngzhì – Soyal – Yaldā Night), Book, Task 1 and Bonus Task #2:

Book: Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, set in Persia / Iran, China or the American Southwest or prominently featuring Persian / Iranian, Chinese or Native American characters, or a collection of poetry.

Task 1: Burn a Yule log – or if you don’t have a fireplace, light a candle to chase away the winter and welcome in the longer days. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, light a candle to mourn the slow but inexorable retreat of the sun.

Bonus Task #2: Stay up all night reading a good book (or at least stay up past your usual bedtime).


I stayed up past my (theoretically) usual bedtime last night to listen to Bernadette Dunne’s narration of Donna Andrews’s most recent Meg Langslow Christmas mystery, “The Gift of the Magpie” — which instantly became a particular favorite among the Christmas mysteries from that series. (Feline accompaniment analogous to the “read by flashlight” Halloween task.)

Since this is set over Christmas (i.e., in December), I’m also going to use it as my book for Winter Solstice.

And as it’s finally Advent in my home, too, here’s the “candles” (or “candles and candy”) part, for Winter Solstice Task 1:

… and by way of context, the rest of the holiday cheer:

I don’t dare put up a tree (it would doubtlessly not withstand the onslaught of feline exuberance it would be sure to cause), so I usually put up most of the decorations as a spread on my living room table, with a few other ornaments hanging from odd pieces of the rest of the furniture.

Lastly, as this is the last Christmas for which I was able to stock up tax-free and to my heart’s content from my favorite London sources, unlike in previous years this time I indulged in including a selection of Christmas teas, too:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Literature Reviews Uncategorized

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit – Performed by Andy Serkis

Like its magnificent sequel, The Hobbit is, I think, many things to many people: the first exposition of the universe that would become Middle-earth; prelude to The Lord of the Rings; a bite-sized visit to Middle-earth whenever you don’t feel up to the full blow of the War of the Ring(s); one of the most […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Karen Wynn Fonstad: The Atlas of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth

Blurb: “Find your way through every part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s great creation, from the Middle-earth of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the undying lands of the West … The Atlas of Tolkien’s Middle-earth is an essential guide to the geography of Middle-earth, from its founding in the Elder Days – as […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings – Performed by Andy Serkis

In another online community, we recently talked about the new Andy Serkis Lord of the Rings recordings.  Well, it turns out that the pull of The Ring is still mighty strong, for however much it may have been destroyed in Mount Doom. I had barely gotten my hands on these audios and I found I […]

Read More
%d bloggers like this: