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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Christmas chapters

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

A bookish Christmas tradition that I go back to every few years is to read Christmas chapters from books that I love. My favorite ones are from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I know that it's problematic and that some people hate it, but I loved them as a kid and I think of the Christmas stories often.

I've had the story of The Long Winter on my mind alot this year. It's the story of a family, and a town, trapped inside for months, while blizzards stack snow up to the rooftops over and over again. They are running out of food because the trains can't come in. They contrive what they can for Christmas, but in the spring, when it finally thaws and the trains come through, they have their Christmas barrel that had been shipped to them months earlier, and the stores have groceries again. I've thought about that at every holiday this year, wishing that people who can't imagine skipping holiday parties could just decide to wait.

In Little House on the Prairie, Santa can't come to the Ingalls family because the river has risen too high, but a friend of the family, Mr. Edwards, meets him in a city, and Santa gives Mr. Edwards their gifts. He brings them to the girls by swimming the river with the packages on his head. Then he sits down and tells the girls about meeting Santa while they wait for breakfast.

L. M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors ever, and there are two Christmas stories from her books that I love. The best one is from Mistress Pat, the sequel to Pat of Silver Bush. A family farmhand gives Pat's mother a Jerusalem Cherry. Her mother is very pleased and touched, but their beloved Irish housekeeper, Judy, is horrified, believing that they're unlucky. Then just about everything goes wrong that possibly can. I think that the Pat books tie with the Emily books as my favorite Montgomery books.

The second story is less funny, but sweeter. Any Anne of Green Gables fan will remember it. Matthew sees Anne with her school friends and realizes how old-fashioned and different her clothes are. He knows that she longs for pretty clothes, but that Marilla is determined to be in charge of decisions like that. So, he forces himself to overcome his extreme shyness so he can sneak off to the store to order materials for a new dress. I love Anne and Matthew so much. She gets it on Christmas morning.

The last one is the opening chapter of Little Women. The four girls and their mother trying to help each other through a hard, sad time, with their father away at the war. Even though the girls are bickering at the start, it's still cheerful.

No surprises here, just old, fairly predictable favorites. I would love to hear about any other books with good Christmases.

My other Christmas books are in storage, but maybe next year I can get them out and write about them. I would like to be able to get them out and read them now. I have been listening to Christmas music for two months- it made me feel better when the pandemic/election stress was too much- but now that it is nearly Christmas, I'm kind of out of the mood. I guess I need to pull down my mom's copies of Little House and get to reading...


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