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Join the Christmas for Beginners readalong!


Christmas for Beginners packshot

To celebrate the publication of Christmas for Beginners, the brand new novel from Carole Matthews we are running a readalong with some fun festive challenges thrown in and we’d love for you to join us!

Starting on the 23rd November and hosted by Tandem Collective UK, the questions we will be discussing are below.

To take part, grab your copy and head over to Instagram from the 23rd and follow #ChristmasforBeginnersReadalong #ChristmasforBeginners

Make sure when you post to include the hashtags!


Day 1: Beginning to end of Chapter 11 (p.52)

Page 7: I’m not even a Christmas person. Usually I spend it alone with the animals. I don’t possess any decorations. I’ve never had time for it. Much as I try to ignore it, this year, I fear, will be very different. 

Molly says she isn’t a Christmas person! Do you like Christmas if you celebrate it? What are your Christmas traditions?

Challenge: Post a festive flat-lay of the book, the more Christmassy the better!


Day 2: Chapter 12 to end of Chapter 20 (p.100)

Page 53: Shelby shivers. ‘To think we could be in a nice warm pub.’ ‘This is better for you. Bracing.’

‘It’s that all right,’ he agrees.

‘Townie,’ I tease. 

Are you a ‘townie’ like Shelby or a country person like Molly? Where would you rather spend Christmas: mucking out on Hope Farm or in Homewood Manor with a housekeeper not having to lift a finger?


Day 3: Chapter 21 to end of Chapter 31 (p.156)

Page 153: Then Alan appears and together with the truck driver, Lucas and the mayor, they all unload the monster fir tree. With much heaving, grunting and shouting, they position it in the yard near the barn. When it’s up, it looks even more beautiful, full and lush. The scent of pine from it is fresh and invigorating. 

Challenge: Post a Christmas tree stack as a grid post. If you need inspiration search the hashtags #christmastreestack and #booktree, there are some amazingly creative ways to do this one!


Day 4: Chapter 32 to end of Chapter 41 (p.198)

Page 192: ‘You have a lot on here,’ he says. ‘I admire what you do.’ 

‘Keep telling me that,’ I urge. ‘This is one of those days when I could easily jack it all in.’ 

‘There aren’t enough places like this. If we’re not careful, kids like this fall through the cracks. This is a very valuable service you perform.’ 

Hope Farm is fictional but it is based on a real farm called Animal Antiks which uses animal assisted learning to help children and young adults with learning difficulties, mental health issues and autism. Do you have pets? What do you think the benefits of spending time with animals are?

Challenge: If you’ve got a pet, post a festive photo with them and the book! If not, tell us animal that you would want to have animal therapy with and why!


Day 5: Chapter 42 to end of Chapter 53 (p.252)

Page 214: There’s absolutely nothing to dislike about her and, yet, dislike her I do. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something off. I’m sure of it.

Do you agree with Molly? Is Aurora right for Lucas? What are your impressions of her?


Day 6: Chapter 54 to end of Chapter 64 (p.300)

Page 268: This is a moment that could change our relationship for good and we both know it. We either step forward together or step back from the edge. Which is it to be? Do I go with Matt or do I watch from the sideline while he goes with someone else?

Did Molly make the right decision? Who do you think Molly is best suited to?

Page 299: [Lucas’ Christmas Poem]

Challenge: Write your own Christmassy poem, about anything you like and as long or short as you want.


Day 7: Chapter 65 to end of Chapter 75 (p.346)

Page 343: Bev scrutinises me with a laser gaze. ‘How are you doing?’

‘I’m ok, I did, however, not have the restful evening I’d planned.’ I fill her in on the events of last night.

Bev and Molly have a great relationship and are constantly confiding in each other. Do you have someone in your life that you tell everything to? How important do you feel it is to have someone like that in your life?


Day 8: Chapter 76 to the end

Page 369: I pull myself out of my reverie and set to with my big spoon, doling out a few of Bev’s golden, crispy potatoes onto each plate. Jess follows behind me with the veg and Alan adds a slice of nut roast and finishes with a flourish of gravy before Lucas serves the plates to the table. There are dishes of cranberry and bread sauce on the table.

This Christmas dinner sounds amazing. What are your personal memories of Christmas dinner? What is your dream Christmas food to eat?

Challenge: Do you have an amazing Christmas recipe that you can share?