Francesca Burke | Lakshmy Mathur
“Honestly, Thalia, I don’t know why you want to have such dark hair at Christmas,” Mrs. Robinson said as she sorted greetings cards into piles on the coffee table.
“Honestly, mother, I don’t know why you’re organising Christmas when we’re just out of October,” Thalia replied as she took the last of the fake skulls and overpriced Halloween-inspired confectionery from the mantelpiece. “Anyway, what about everyone whose hair is naturally the same colour as one of these bat jelly sweets? Should they all go bleach blonde for the holidays too?”
“Well, no, but your hair isn’t naturally black, is it?” True. Thalia’s hair was mousy brown and boring. The perfect practice-space for Thalia’s friend Meg to try out her hairdressing skills.
“I just think you look so ill with hair like that,” Mrs Robinson continued. “All that fringe hiding your lovely face, and you’re so pale you almost look dead…”
“I’m perfect for your current festive obsession, then,” Thalia muttered as she stamped out to the kitchen to find a black bag big enough for all the Halloween merchandise.
It was Christmas Eve and Thalia was home late again.
“Where have you been?” Mrs Robinson called from the living room when she heard the front door squeak open. “It’s nearly time for the church carol service.”
“You aren’t even a proper Christian, you just go when there’s a party on,” Thalia grumbled, brushing snow from her boots and slouching round the door frame to greet the rest of the carol-service-victims — members of her family who didn’t have a good enough excuse to get out of the event.
“Thalia!” Mrs Robinson shrieked when she caught sight of her daughter. “You’ve made yourself all Christmassy!” Thalia’s hair had been chopped to her shoulders and was now the same shade of red as the bauble Mrs Robinson had been reattaching to the tree.
“Well, I’m not going to go blonde in the middle of December, am I?” Thalia pointed out, disgruntled. “At least this way all the church-goers will know we’re really into Christmas.”