TWELVE PEOPLE… TWELVE GIFTS… ONE CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER… ‘He felt it: the lightness, the expansiveness, the anticipation, the sense that something good was coming. And it was, wasn’t it – though the world was still licking its collective wounds and there was still suffering everywhere, suffering and loneliness and sadness. Despite all this, it was good: it was kindness, it was giving without thought of recompense, it was light in the darkness’ Maddy runs the bookshop on Market Square. She’s struggling to choose a gift (a watch? a wine subscription? a weekend bag? all too much?) for her old school friend Peter, who’s just moved back from London following a messy divorce.
Peter doesn’t have a clue what to get for his teenage daughter Chloe – furious with her mother, she’s decided to up sticks and move to Kent with him, but he worries that he really doesn’t know her at all.
Chloe wants to buy something special for her grandmother Irene, who lives alone on the other side of town. Irene doesn’t get out much these days, but she’d really like to find the right gift for Alina, who’s so much more than a carer, really – always stops to chat for a bit, have a cup of tea, even if it makes her late.
And Alina, meanwhile, has her eye on something for…