I’ve been a fan of Nina Stibbe’s sharp observations and well timed wit since Love, Nina. Particularly appealing is the sometimes unintentional humour caused by her younger self’s evident naivety about such things as exactly how many meals it is acceptable to make with turkey mince… but in all of her work there is a relatable and instantly likeable wisdom which help us realise that real life happens to our literary heroes.

Imagine my delight then, when I got the opportunity to read Stibbe’s latest offering An Almost Perfect Christmas. Taking into my reading of this festive treat of a book everything I had gleaned about the author, I knew I was in for a very real portrayal of the holiday season.

Presented as a collection of essay-stories, the book takes us through everything from the potted history of turkey buying and cooking to creating the perfect Christmas playlist – what is the ultimate Christmas song? A particularly amusing account of pre-Christmas party distractions leave quite a different view on the subject than perhaps Stibbe would intend… There are plenty of tips on the art of gifting as well as the art of not ‘setting unrealistic precedents for the festive period.’

This book may be short, but it delivers, in its ‘do open before December 25th’ way, a good measure of festive spirit which makes it a joy to read. This is a book we thoroughly recommend as a gift for yourself of for the people in your life who are either lovers of Christmas or who are in constant pursuit of the perfect Christmas. We advise this: take a moment, get comfy with this book and a glass of the much coveted ‘Glue Vine’ and remember what you’re looking for is actually ‘an Xmassy Xmas’.

We’ll leave you with one further tip: when Christmas shopping this year, do buy this book as a gift but NOT as a ‘bulker-upper’ – it deserves its own special moment as a precedent setting guide to all things Christmas!

An Almost Perfect Christmas is out now, published by Penguin Books.