Giftmas was invented by Rhonda Parrish, who each year convenes a blog ‘tour’ to raise money for the Edmonton (Alberta) food bank. I joined in last year, and also sent a package to my local food bank. This year I’m doing the reverse Advent Calendar for my food bank. Each day I put one item in a box in the run up to Christmas, instead of opening the advent calendar door.

But I’m also doing Rhonda’s challenge–my story for her ‘exquisite corpse’ game. Read how the Surrealists came up with this game, on wikipedia.

giftmas 2021

What is this Giftmas Exquisite Corpse game?

We are writing a story in relays, or rather, a blogtrain. Rhonda started it off on her blog on Monday, and the full list is:

So please go back to Rhonda’s blog to read the first episode, and read through to today’s which is my 500 words. Or at least read the one before, and come back tomorrow to read the one after! Or come back next week and read them all in order 🙂


There’s no point in my doing this if nobody feels like contributing to the fund-raising aspect of it. Rhonda’s goal is to raise CAN $1,200 for the Edmonton Food Bank, which would magically transform into 3,600 meals for hungry people. As there are ten of us in the chain, that makes each of us personally responsible for raising $120. And if I have twelve readers who each contribute $10, that does it, doesn’t it? So, if you contribute the equivalent of just $10 Canadian dollars or more (use this converter) we have a great chance of reaching Rhonda’s goal.

The Giftmas Story Continues….

“You show her around, Agnes, I’m off for some grub. Meet me there in what, ten minutes?” Clover put a wing out to help Cherie slip off Septimus’s back and then galloped off alongside him through a green curtained archway.

“But…” So soon, after they’d only just been reunited?

“Don’t mind him, dear girl. Well, you’re not exactly a girl now, are you? Never mind; they’ll be hungry after that flight. The tour, yes. To your right, the East wing. Never ever, go into the East Tower. Understand?”

Cherie nodded. ‘No’ would hardly make a difference. Understanding was a long way away.

“Now, come round here with me. What do you think?”

Cherie had to stop herself gasping. The corridor, arched and vaulted, reminded her of her school cloisters, but the paintings, the decorations, sparkled, glimmered and shone with jewels and metals of all colours.

“Nice, isn’t it? I had them tone it down a little, it was far too garish when they first did it.”

“They?” Was this what sensory overload felt like?

“Elves, dear. Aided and abetted by leprechauns. I reckon it was the latter that went way over the top. Through here is the dining room. Food available at all times for humans, so be careful what you eat or, you know,” Agatha patted her ample tummy.

Cherie followed alongside her great-aunt who pointed out the view through the high windows (white-capped peaks), or a rare plant blooming by the waterfall that seemed to hang in the fireplace. They passed on, through more double doors. A carved wooden staircase hung onto the wall as it climbed up to her left, and more doors ahead opened onto the promising sight of bookshelves.

Agatha kept up a continuous stream of information on the castle, its inhabitants and the style of decoration. She had adapted some, improved others, but Cherie lost half of it as she gazed around. Why was she here? How was Agatha here?

“…but I expect you want to catch up with Clover, don’t you? Through here is the garden.”

A garden at the top of the mountain range, above the clouds? Cherie shook her head and followed Agatha outside. She wrapped her arms around herself, expecting… the very opposite of a sunny, warm, rolling meadow. Trees rustled in a wind she could hardly feel. Birdsong accompanied the plops and gurgles of a stream running over the pebbles.  In every corner the grass gave way to trees and shrubs; this way were aspens and silver birches, that way giant redwoods underset with tree ferns, over there majestic oaks and a beechwood with a dank carpet of autumn leaves, and there…

“Why are there no trees there?” She stared at the barren, rocky jumble beneath a waterspout draining a dark tower.

“Well,” said Clover, coming up behind her and breathing grassy smells on her cheek, “You can’t expect any trees to put up with the water from the East Tower, can you?”

See what happens next with Stephanie Cain tomorrow!

Giftmas 2021 – An 'Exquisite Corpse' story #giftmas2021: Read @jemima_pett's contribution to the Giftmas blogtrain story – just don't enter the East Tower – all in aid of the Edmonton Foodbank appeal #flashfiction #serial Share on X

Don’t forget – it’s GIFTMAS

Giftmas - donate now

P.S. Rhonda’s Australian friend needed a Canadian postal code to donate for some reason (this is new, this year. Rhonda’s looking into it). If you run into this problem Santa’s postal code at The North Pole is H0H 0H0 or if you’re feeling more sci-fi, the postal code for Vulcan, Alberta is T0L 2B0 (zeroes all the way).

Giftmas 2021 – An ‘Exquisite Corpse’ story #giftmas2021
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