Everything you need to understand or teach This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy.
A theme that runs through all the stories in this collection is expressed most succinctly by Miss Hall in "Pulling Together": "I think Christmas is particularly hard, we have such high expectations, and it never lives up to them." The theme is most graphically demonstrated by Orla in "The Ten Snaps of Christmas" as she ruthlessly decides "to get a picture of Christmas the way it really is, not all people just posing and smiling."
In the world of Binchy's stories, the holiday season often becomes a time to plan and calculate, instead of letting events take care of themselves, as they do in ordinary time. Christmas becomes a high drama, and Binchy's characters vividly prove that they are inferior as actors, producers, and directors. Their flawed humanity prevents them from putting on the perfect Christmas show.
The exploration of Christmas as a material myth is complemented by...