“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
When Christmas comes around, I always feel like reading something Christmas-related. To paraphrase Jo, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a holiday story, or at least a holiday scene from one of my favorite novels.
In the past sometimes I’ve resorted to contemporary literature, but having recently learned that the Victorians essentially revived Christmas and gave us many of our modern traditions (thanks to the German and ever-dreamy Prince Albert), I’ve turned back to 19th-century literature to give me that holiday feeling. Generally, I turn towards one of two scenes:
Great Expectations, Chapters I – V
Though I love A Christmas Carol, one of my favorite Christmas scenes has to be the one from Dickens’ Great Expectations. This novel opens on Christmas Eve, so the holiday celebrations make up most of the beginning chapters. The scene is in sharp contrast to the warm-and-fuzzy scene in A Christmas Carol, however, as poor Pip is given moral lecture after moral lecture and Joe tries to make up for it by continually ladling more gravy on his plate.
Little Women, Chapters 1-2
If you’re more in the mood for a Christmas scene that depicts an ideal old-fashioned Christmas, there are always the first few chapters of Lousia May Alcott’s Little Women. Again, the March girls do not celebrate a traditional Christmas — their father is off at war, and they have very little money for gifts — but the warmth and spirits of giving and fun that the holiday is all about are much more present than in Great Expectations. There’s even a Christmas miracle involved, courtesy of Mr. Laurence.
What are your favorite Christmas stories, everyone?