12 Days of Christmas, Day 7 – Tina Burke

And for the first day of 2010 and the 7th day of Christmas comes a wonderful Australian creator – Tina Burke.Tina is one of our hugely talented Australian children’s book creators. She grew up on Sydney’s northern beaches, and is currently living in Toronto, Canada (but she still calls Australia HOME). She has a background in animation, and now writes and illustrates children’s books. Do check out her website! Oh, and Tina planned her pre Christmas trip to Australia around our SCBWI Christmas gathering in Sydney and it was fantastic having her home!Family, especially brothers and sisters and the ever knowledgeable Santa are part of this delighful loving Christmas memory from Tina.


This illustration (left) was inspired by my own Christmas memories with my brothers, though I did allow myself some artistic license, i.e:

a) I do have two brothers but they are older. I was the youngest and definitely the smallest.

b) we did not hang our stockings from the chimney with care, because we didn’t have a chimney, and we didn’t have stockings. We used pillowslips with our names taped to the front, which we lay on the loungeroom floor by the tree.

c) we didn’t cheerfully give each other a helping hand to place our “stocking”, instead it was a fight to near death by the linen closet to see who could find the largest pillowslip (because after all, bigger pillowslip = more presents … doesn’t it?).

The middle brother, Sean, finally figured out how to win this battle. While Paul and I spent Christmas Eve rummaging through the stack of slips in the narrow hall closet, Sean had already – possibly DAYS before – carefully sifted through the pile, chosen his weapon, and hid it behind the sheets – on a different shelf. He triumphantly whipped it out at the last moment; it was the extra big homemade one, made to fit the fattest of pillows. Sheer genius.

Sean (obviously a big fan of Christmas) was also the one to tiptoe into my room well before dawn, every year, hissing “Tina, wake up – it’s Christmas morning!” (best to have the little one in on the mission, in case of trouble – and besides, trying to get Paul up before sunrise would have taken a Christmas miracle).

We would sneak out to look at the stuffed pillowcases lined up in the still-dark loungeroom, and if all was clear we’d take a little peek inside before we scampered back to bed, waiting for a sliver of daylight – our signal to wake up the rest of the household.

But somehow Santa must have cottoned on to this pre-Christmas-dawn ritual, and the party ended one year when we tiptoed out to find he had completely covered all three pillowcases with a large bedsheet, which was securely safety-pinned to the carpet the entire way around.

Aargh! That Santa – he really DOES know everything!!

Image from “It’s Christmas” by Tina Burke, First published by Penguin Books Australia

2 Responses to 12 Days of Christmas, Day 7 – Tina Burke

  1. Ha, that’s great!

    Angela January 2, 2010 at 10:59 am Reply
  2. So great to hear that someone else did the pillow slip thing. My job was to do the name tags for them in my rough style of calligraphy. My kids have those Santa sacks and it’s just not the same…

    Heather January 4, 2010 at 9:38 am Reply

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