You know how it is, this holiday season – Thanksgiving dinner, cookie exchanges, Christmas parties, and in my circle of close friends and family a dozen or so birthdays mixed in as well…there’s so much good stuff, so many delicious things available, you can’t possibly manage a full portion of every offering, but you have to have just a taste of each one. As with food, so with books. At this time of year more than any other, I’m likely to dip in and savor a chapter of this, and a passage of that, and just a couple paragraphs of something else too good to pass up.
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug may be one of the best-known first lines in classic children’s literature. But of course the March girls, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, go on to have a fine holiday despite wartime deprivations. And their next Christmas (in chapter 22), coming after sickness and the strain of a hard year, is blessed as well, in a quieter, more thoughtful manner.
Miss Alcott’s Campbell Clan, the Eight Cousins and the rest of the relations on the Aunt-hill, celebrate a boisterous Christmas in chapter 20, culminating in Rose prettily turning the tables on the boys when dared to take “Old Mac” under the mistletoe.
As far from boisterous as can be himself, shy and gentle Matthew Cuthbert nonetheless succeeds in sending Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne (of Green Gables) into raptures with the Christmas gift of the most “perfectly exquisite” dress, complete with puffed sleeves, in chapter 25. A few years later, Anne (now of Windy Poplars) takes on, and accomplishes with her usual determination, the formidable task of giving Katharine Brooke a happy holiday in spite of herself.
Coming soon: Christmas in the Little House