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Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (Cold Comfort Farm)

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews

A glorious collection of stories from the author of Cold Comfort Farm. The title story tells of a typical Christmas at the farm before the coming of Flora Poste. It is a parody of the worst sort of family Christmas: Adam Lambsbreath dresses up as Father Christmas in two of Judith's red shawls. There are unsuitable presents, unp
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 10th 2011 by Vintage Classics (first published 1940)
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Aug 02, 2007 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the line "'The turkey gave out..."
MB (What she read)
I got a copy of this short story anthology just to read it's title selection "Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm" set (pre Flora Poste) at Cold Comfort. It was hilarious--full of Gibbons' signature wit. This anthology is well worth seeking out just for this story.

Held separately, the other stories in this anthology are quite dated in their outlook, and problematic for the modern reader. Although there are glimpses of Saki-like humor scattered here-and-there, the problem comes in that every story imp
Dec 27, 2011 Starry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm (CCF) is among my favorite books, so I had high hopes for this collection of short stories, finally available in the US and -- bonus! -- with an introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.

My first disappointment was that only one of the short stories in the collection was about CCF and, although it had a few funny lines, it wasn't anything special overall and didn't add anything new. (And, it didn't answer the burning questions: WHAT was nasty in the woodshed? and
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Brazilliant Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2011 Ali rated it really liked it
I have been looking forward so much to reading these stories, although I approached it nervously as I had read some fairly luke warm reviews. If anything I was disappointed in the title story - it was too short I wanted more, the only other Christmassy story was charming though. Overall I so enjoyed these old fashioned stories, and it has made me want to read more Stella Gibbons. I of course read Cold Comfort farm years and years ago, and it is now time for a re-read I think. I also have Westwoo ...more

Rating clarification: 3.5 stars.

This is a lovely volume of short stories by the author of the classic comic novel Cold Comfort Farm. But be warned, they differ in style to that popular novel, all excepting the titular story, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm, of course. Also the title of the collection as a whole is somewhat misleading, as only the fist two stories are Christmas themed.

These short stories won't be to everyone's taste as they are period pieces about the upper classes in England duri
Philip Jackson
Dec 27, 2011 Philip Jackson rated it liked it
The title of this collection of short stories is a little misleading. It would be easy to suppose that these are stories entirely related to Gibbons' most famous creation, Cold Comfort Farm. However, only one story in the collection ticks this box, and only two of the stories have a Christmas setting. The other stories are generally themed around unassuming women who find true love and conventional happiness at the conclusion.
One of the stories, Cake, makes for uncomfortable reading to a modern
Dec 22, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The one thing everyone seems to know of Stella Gibbons is that she wrote one book ' Cold Comfort Farm' and then she was destined to have it hang around her neck like the famous albatross for the rest of her less than stellar career. This may or may not be true, though I remember reading 'Here be dragons' and quite enjoying it, but it cannot be denied that for myself CCF is probably the only book of hers that i would return to. That was until I picked this up whilst Christmas shopping in Exeter. ...more
Jan 24, 2012 MN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of sophisicated and deliciously sly attacks on modernity. Although these are short stories, you become as involved with thecharacters as in a novel. The story I enoyed most: 'More than kind'; but my favourtiote quotes comes from 'The friend of man':

'She felt that if she had to spend another year of interesting, congenial work during the days, and sensitive, cultured, intelligent talk in the evenings, she would go mad or die.' (p. 211)

Like too many views, this one over Buckinghamshire co
Mar 18, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I love her book Cold Comfort Farm (and the movie based on it) so I had to check this out when I saw it on the library shelf.

One minor caution - there is only one story about the family from the Cold Comfort Farm, and it's one of the least impressive in the collection. Still, I forgive whoever named the book after that story because I would probably not have noticed the book otherwise. The collection was first published in 19
Nov 18, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this collection of short stories. Laced with wry authorial asides, and careful, subtle wit, Gibbons' stories allow us to glimpse the make-do climate of England in the 1930's. Though WWI is by no means belaboured the series of stories reveals its effects on women in their various spheres; the career woman, the domesticate, the housewife, the spinster.

The stories, if a little obvious at times, are interesting and compelling period pieces in their own right, and for my part, the collecti
Linda Munro
This was a book club selection, not one I would have chosen before or after having read it!

While the scene is supposedly rural Brithish life of the 1930's, I found references that made me wonder if it wasn't suppose to have been the 1940's.

While the plot was interesting, the British dialect was so well written, that by the time you figured out what was being said, your mind will be so confused, you need to take a rest from reading.

The most damaging aspect of the book was the illusion that yo
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

La publicación hace algunos años de ”La hija de Robert Poste” fue un bombazo para la editorial Impedimenta, fue una de esas sorpresas que la gente recomendaba naturalmente, el boca a boca (o boca a oreja) sirvió para auparla y convertirla en un clásico de obligada visita, una diversión muy loca y metaficcional con las andanzas de un grupo de brutos ingleses que son visitados por la refinada Flora Poste y hace que cambien sus vidas; no en vano
Dec 23, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid that this book of short stories, rather than being as quirky and arch as the title story and the previous book it was based on, is actually rather painful and haunting. I find myself dreading my spinsterhood as example after example of "Smart Set" who settle are paraded after me. I don't know whether I should rejoice that they've successfully evaded the smug, cruel and immoral Smart Set or mourn that they've married into the slow, uninteresting or deeply flawed world of convention. Le ...more
This was my Christmas read for 2013. Despite a little initial disappointment that the book contains only two Christmas-themed stories, that feeling was ameliorated by the quality of the writing.

Mainly concerned with the doings of middle- to upper-class folks of the inter-war years, if there is a connecting motif between the stories it would seem to be that of redemption, perhaps making an Easter marketing more appropriate (though probably less lucrative).

These are quiet stories about people tryi
Jan 07, 2013 Deborah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was a bit weird to be reading this at the same time as Mary McCarthy's The Company she keeps. Although this is from a slightly earlier period in the 20c there were some similarities and aspects that invited comparison. I'm not really a short story fan, but at least Stella Gibbons' stories were short (unlike the novella length of McCarthy) and followed more the short story tradition. Some of the stories seemed as if they belonged to a well-written edition of People's Friend and I did start to ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Clare rated it really liked it
Reading Stella Gibbons is like taking a lovely warm bath - an inherently comforting experience. Obviously the plum in the pudding is her revisiting of the eponymous Cold Comfort Farm on Christmas Day a little before Flora Post makes their aquaintance. Here the Christmas "gifts" are to be given out - although with the gothic twist expected of the Stark household. Pity the recipient of the coffin nail in the pudding. Ada Doom, the matriarch of the clan, commands her descendants to - "Be Gay, Spaw ...more
Oct 25, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Barbara Pym
Shelves: historical
A collection of short stories written and set pre-WWII. They are, perforce, very class conscious, with characters who behave as though they're in straitjackets made of conventionality. Some, like "The Little Christmas Tree" or "The Hoofer and the Lady," are quite sweet; people try to do the right thing and are gently, unobtrusively rewarded for it by making connections with other people who understand and appreciate them. Others are terrifyingly sad, like "Sisters," in which an older woman tries ...more
Girl with her Head in a Book
As a departure from tradition, this year I have picked Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm as my December read rather than A Christmas Carol. I love Stella Gibbons and not just for the Starkadder-related shenanigans, I read Starlight last year over Hallowe’en and it alternately unnerved and enthralled me. Although only one of the stories relates to Cold Comfort Farm, the collection still has a cosy and familiar feel, perfect fare for nippy December mornings on the bus or indeed chilly evenings snuggl ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jan 16, 2014 Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Christmas pudding at Cold Comfort Farm will foretell the doom that is to happen in the coming year. Just pray you don't get the coffin nail. In sixteen stories staring everyone from the Starkadders to a young rich girl obsessed with a dancer, to a librarian who thinks she's in love with a writer who happens to be not what she thinks, to people with double standards who ruin the lives of others, Stella Gibbons's short stories are sweet but insightful and thankfully back in print. Fans of Cold ...more
Dec 06, 2014 RitaSkeeter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas, 2014
The blurb on the edition I read reads as follows;
You're reading Christmas with your in-laws. You've got a cold coming on. You're worried you've forgotten to buy a gift for somebody. Apply this book to the affected area. You should soon feel like your old cheerful self again. 'Christmas as Cold Comfort Farm' will remind you that Christmas is a magical time of year and that romance can blossom in the least likely of places.

This is deceptive marketing. Firstly, there is nothing to suggest in ei
Adam Fitzroy
I received a copy of the 1943 edition of this book for Christmas from a very good friend, and I think it's fair to say that it isn't something I would have bought for myself. It's an anthology of short stories, only one of which takes place at Cold Comfort Farm, and to be perfectly frank the quality of them varies tremendously. Also, rather too many of them focus on the notion that a woman's only true calling in life is to be married and have children - a point of view which was surely out of da ...more
May 26, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I rather LIKE dated, period stories.

After a reading a couple of these, however, one has pretty much met the characters-- or character types-- that will appear in the next story one reads, and the next. These people are engaging enough, and the atmosphere is pleasant. The trick would be to read them with a nice long time-for-forgetting in between.

Ah, perhaps the title is a reader's clue: slip into a dressing gown, obtain a cup or tea (or a gin fizz) and read one of these tales every Christmas.
Sarah Tipper
I bought this book to see if it would make a good Christmas gift for my mum and mum-in-law (previous books I’ve bought them have been described as a bit racy. I’m not sure if this was a criticism or a request for more of the same). I decided this isn’t a good Christmas book because most of the stories aren’t Christmas themed. They are still well written and entertaining though.
Because these stories were written around eighty-five years ago, and because they appeared in publications like The Lad
Gibbons is like an edgier L. M. Montgomery. Her characters are terribly concerned with manners and propriety and what the neighbors think.

Some of these stories were quite sweet and amusing, but there's nothing here that's going to stick in my memory a month after closing the book.
Rachel Stevenson
The title story returns to Howling and Seth, Ada and Elfine in a funny festive tale, but the other stories in this collection are mainly about ex-bright young things hitting thirty, getting married and having a baby and moving to the countryside, leaving her old life behind, much as Gibbons did herself. In these tales, it's only because the protagonists have grown older that things must change; the Wall Street crash, the Depression, and rise of totalitarianism are never mentioned, it's only beca ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This is light and enjoyable, but a little samey. I'm pretty sure that these stories were not written with the intention of forming a coherent book, but were just collected together after they had appeared individually in other books. This means that there's not a huge amount of variation in theme, which is generally either about repressed, unhappy marriages, or repressed, unhappy nearly-spinsters.

They are beautifully written, and Gibbons' turn of phrase was beautiful and unusual in places. She
Edoardo Albert
Dec 24, 2015 Edoardo Albert rated it really liked it
Take a look at the shelves of a second-hand bookshop or, even more mournful, the library of a country hotel with pretensions. It's where books go to die, standing unread and unremarked upon bookshelves, their authors' names slowly fading. It's an achievement in itself to get a book published but... then what? A career, if you're lucky, writing, but those melancholy shelves tell the likely truth: most writers are forgotten as completely as most books.

So, in that respect, Stella Gibbons is luckier
Stephy Jay
I'm afraid to say I struggled to enjoy this one.
Apart from a couple of stories which were vaguely interesting it was a relief to finish it.
It is a smart and enjoyable collection of a short stories. Witty, wise, lovely. Most of them I really like.

1. **** for "The little Christmas Tree" - I love this atmosphere and characters. I would like to read a novel in which this short story is a first chapter. I one word: lovely.
2. ** for "Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm" - I don't feel it. Maybe I didn't understand it.
3. **** "To Love and To Cherish" - It so true and smart! Just brilliant insight in one kind of marriages. It speaks so much in
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Stella Dorothea Gibbons was an English novelist, journalist, poet and short-story writer.

Her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm, won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize for 1933. A satire and parody of the pessimistic ruralism of Thomas Hardy, his followers and especially Precious Bain by Mary Webb -the "loam and lovechild" genre, as some called it, Cold Comfort Farm introduces a self-confident young woman,
More about Stella Gibbons...

Other Books in the Series

Cold Comfort Farm (3 books)
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • Conference At Cold Comfort Farm

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