Jingle Bells, party smells, and you’re home alone.
If you’re without a plan, or simply haven’t sunk in the festive feeling, you need to grab a book.A book that provides a wonderful depiction of Christmas in Literature. So we present you with the suggestions of Top 10 Christmas tales you cannot afford to miss.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens :
Dickens writes in his preface to the novella, “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
If that does not interest you, we don’t know what else will. And who told you lights and festivities and a little happy singing keeps Ghosts away? We’ll drop the hint. If you have planned to just sit back at home and be the couch potato, not wasting a single penny this festive season, this book will be just enough to kickstart you.
Go, get out of our home, attend parties, receive visitors warmly and never refuse your purse to anybody this Christmas, okay?
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
If you loved the Oscar-winning movie, you will love the book even more. If you are in a mood for drunken carousing, this is just the book you need to get hold of. This Allsburg guy seems to take us back to our childhood where all it took was faith – faith in Dear Santa, faith in the letters loaded with open-hearted wishes that you knew he would receive, faith in the colony of elves and the bells that hung from the harness of the reindeers, faith in the very concept of Christmas.
The book ends with, “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
“Susan had never hung up a stocking. She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.”
But Pratchett isn’t talking about Christmas. And we have a leading character who wears a red cloak and flaunts a white, fluffy beard who grants children their wishes and the world is facing trust issues about this character. If you thought we are talking about Santa, then we would like to remind you that there exists a prominent character in literature across all ages and this famous character is Death.
Yes, after the assassination of Hogfather (our Santa Clause in a parallel universe), Death decides to take over the role of Hogfather. So if you have had enough of cakes and ales, about fairies and elves and Christmas trees and reindeers, you need to grab this book. Christmas in literature presented from a different universe, from a different perspective. It’s worth a little fantasy this Christmas.
The gift of the Magi, O Henry
Christmas is always incomplete without tales of selfless love, sacrifice, a bit of stupidity, and a cherry-on-the-cake philosophy at the end. As always, O Henry masters the art of creating short stories with a twist in the tail in a way that immortalizes the love of Jim and Della that trespasses the boundaries of their apartment and go straight to your heart.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Agatha Christie
Murder, mystery and Christmas – no, you cannot miss this one. Who killed Simeon Lee, and a bigger question crops in – Why? Does the murder have anything to do with the theft of the diamonds? What is a stranger doing in the house at this time of the year? If you think you have already figured out the story, go, give it a read. You will be taken in for surprise. Christie always does it great, no?
Christmas Eve, Nikolai Gogol
It is the night before Christmas; Witches fly across the night sky and the devil steals the moon, hiding it in its pocket; There’s more to it. The Devil won’t stop tormenting the villagers and this time it is the son of the village blacksmith, Vakula who is in love with the beautiful Oksana whom all the village youths desire.
Letters from Father Christmas, J. R. R. Tolkien
Apparently, the Lord of the Rings maestro can write some amazing Christmas tales too, it seems.
The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Anderson
This story by the Danish poet and author breaks your heart when the little girl selling matchsticks on New Year’s Eve chooses to stay out in the cold and succumb to hypothermia than to go return home and be beaten black and blue by her father. It is about the dying child’s hopes and dream. You cannot give this a miss. You will but shed a tear, we assure you.
Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
Dark humour on Christmas never ceases to be popular. Six Short Christmas stories that goes with these titles : SantaLand Diaries, Seasons Greeting’s to our Family Friends, Dinah The Christmas Whore, Front Row Centre with Thaddeus Bristol, Based on a True Story, and Christmas Means Giving.
The Nutcracker, ETA Hoffman
“Snow was falling gently on the streets, and people were hurrying home, their arms filled with gaily wrapped boxes and paper parcels from toy stores, candy shops and bakeries”.
That bit of romanticism grows to develop into the dreams of thousands of ballerinas. Read to know what’s in store.
There have been ample depictions of Christmas in Literature, other than the ones we mentioned here. So why not look out for a few more while you spend your vacations?