Classic Christmas Lit


As you know, my series The Bibliophiles delves into the lives of suburban classics book club members. In the first two novels, they have discussed such masterpieces as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, As You Like It, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Tales, and The Scarlet Letter.

Here are a few of favorite classic holiday reads I was reminded of when creating the Books and Baubles: Holiday Tales for Your E-reader blog with Karen Cantwell.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This quintessential holiday story is still as relevant today as it was when Dickens wrote it in 1843. Although there are many wonderful screen adaptations, nothing beats reading the novella. Besides, you would miss out on such great prose and gorgeous descriptions as the ones below.

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."

"You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"
                                                                                  —Charles Dickens

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss: You may scoff and laugh it off as only a children's book, but the Grinch, as with most of Dr. Seuss' stories, can tell us a lot about ourselves and the society around us. Besides, who doesn't tear up when his heart grows three sizes that day?

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
                                                                                  —Dr. Seuss

Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: This poem is probably most well known as the carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," but when it was refashioned as lyrics by Jean Baptiste Calkin, he omitted two stanzas that dealt with the Civil War. Longfellow wrote the piece in 1863, when it was not clear the North would win the war and his son had been wounded in battle. It's too bad, because Calkin removed the poignancy of the piece. Check out the full version. You won't be disappointed.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost: I love this poem. Cozy up with it and some hot chocolate, fireplace ablaze, snow gently falling outside the windows. Bliss.

Santa Calls by William Joyce: Although only written in 1993, this picture book is a classic in our house. Each of my boys loved this tale of inventor/crime fighter/whiz kid Art Atchinson Aimesworth,  his sidekick Spaulding, and his sister Esther, who receive a special invitation from Santa Claus himself to help him up at the North Pole for a special mission.

How about you? What are some of your all-time favorite holiday stories?


angel011 said…
Weird... Now that you ask, I don't think I have a favourite holiday story.
Janel Gradowski said…
I have to say, I love The Grinch!
Deborah said…
Lovely selection, Karen. A Christmas Carol must be one of the most atmospheric books ever.

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