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A ritual of writing Christmas stories for over 30 years has resulted in a first book for Brantford-born author Jeremy John.

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“When I was little I asked my dad what he wanted for a Christmas present,” recalls John. “I guess he was tired of ties and socks, so he told me to write him a story.”

He said he read the story to the family on Boxing Day, starting a tradition he maintains to this day.

“Every year we got together and I read a new story.

And now 10 of his favorites will be published by Dundurn Press in Robert’s Hill (or The Time I Pooped My Snowsuit) and Other Christmas Stories. The 148-page paperback ($ 20) will be available exclusively at Chapters / Indigo on November 9. It is now available for pre-order.

“It’s a whole life of work that’s finally coming out,” John said.

The 47-year-old author said he was happy that the collection included Merry Christmas Mr. Baggins. It describes how a father and son start a Christmas tradition by listening to an audio cassette of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien on a long drive.

“Many years later the son relives that magical night,” John said, noting that “people seem to connect” to the story.

He said the stories are written for a diverse audience and parents may want to preview them before sharing them with young people.

The author noted that while kids will enjoy The Pigeon King Saves Christmas, parents probably won’t want to share The Christmas Divorce and The Twelve Shots of Christmas with their kids.

John reluctantly admitted that the title of the book is based on an actual incident.

“A fat kid, me, gets a new sleigh for Christmas,” he shared. “I’m sure this cool new toy will be my ticket to popularity, but disaster leads to a ruined snowsuit.”

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As a child, John lived on Lincoln Avenue and attended Christ the King School on Dufferin Avenue.

He noted that Robert’s Hill refers to Roberts Avenue, the street he went to and from school.

He attended colleges and drama and radio schools before landing jobs at radio stations such as 680 News, CHFI and The Fan before moving to Winnipeg, where he hosted Breakfast Television for several years.

He now lives in Sudbury with his wife, Sally, and their children.

The process of making a book has been “wonderfully chaotic and very educational,” said John, adding that he hopes people will share the stories with those they are loved.

“If someone had it for Christmas and read a story to their family on Boxing Day, that would be the ultimate compliment,” he said.

“If it gives someone else these warm feelings of nostalgia, tradition and home, I think that would be absolutely wonderful.”

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