With Christmas around the corner, it is the perfect time to recall some of the best loved Christmas tales of all times. Christmas has an almost magical appeal and evokes a sense of nostalgia. Perhaps that is why these Christmas stories are retold again and again, and loved by children and adults alike.
Here are some of them:
1. A Christmas Carol — By Charles Dickens
This is one of the most popular stories of all time. Ebenezer Scrooge, the lonely miser is hated by everyone and he prefers it that way. Until his old departed partner Jacob Marley comes to warn him of the consequences of his wicked ways. Scrooge is then haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas who take him on an unexpected journey to make him value the true spirit of Christmas. Scrooge undergoes a change of heart and turns over a new leaf. In his company we are reminded (as we still need reminders) of the importance of generosity of spirit, and the possibilities of worth in ordinary people. And of course, nobody can forget Tiny Tim and his famous line “God bless us everyone!”
2. Gift of the Magi — By O. Henry
This gem of a story shows the Christmas spirit like no other. Della and Jim do not let lack of money deter them from getting each other the dream Christmas gift. For this they each sacrifice their dearest possession, as they feel their ultimate reward will lie in the delight of the other. And they end up buying each other gifts that turn out to be useless in the end. The earnestness and love behind their sacrifices tugs at our heartstrings. O Henry brings home the fact that it is the thought behind each gift that matters the most and celebrates the Christmas joy of giving, to others.
3. A Visit from St. Nicholas — By Clement Clark Moore
‘Twas a night before Christmas and all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.’
The opening line of this immortal poem is familiar to one and all. The poem, also known as “The Night before Christmas” has become the gospel of Santa Claus. It is Moore’s description of Santa Claus that we think of the most today, “He had a broad face, and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.” The rhyming theme of the poem keeps it lively and entertaining, and it is indeed baffling to know that Moore never intended for this poem to be published at first!
4. The Polar Express — By Chris Van Allsberg
The narrator is an old man who shares his experience of a magical journey he had when he was a little boy. The dream-like narrative tells us of the little boy who continues to believe in Santa Claus despite all his friends telling him that there is no Santa. The boy goes on an incredible journey aboard the Polar Express. He travels to meet Santa and gets a little bell that epitomizes the magical beliefs of all children, as his parents are unable to hear the sound of the little bell. The concluding lines of the story stays on with all the readers. “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.”
5. Christmas Every Day — By William. D. Howells
This is one of the lesser known stories but it portrays a very powerful message. A little girl badgers her Papa for a new story and he tells her the story of another little girl who asks a Fairy to make it Christmas every day of the year. People soon get bored and the specialness of Christmas soon vanishes with its monotony. The little girl ultimately begs the Fairy to get Christmas to come just once a year, like it normally does. For all those who wish Christmas came more than just once, this story is a perfect read to remind them that Christmas is all the more treasured because of the wait associated with it!
6. The Mouse and the Moonbeam — By Eugene Field
This is written in pompous old-fashioned English and tickles many a funny bone of the reader! The first half is the narrative of the mouse, who tells the story of his sister who met a sad end because of her disbelief in Santa Claus. It is filled with very witty dialogues, like Santa saying, “in all his experience he had never known of a mouse or of a child that had prospered after once saying that he didn’t believe in Santa Claus.” The second half is the moonbeam telling his story about Christmas which focusses on the religious beliefs of Christ. This is one of the rare tales that combine both the magical element and the religious sentiments associated with Christmas.
So if any of these stories are unfamiliar to you, or even if they have already been read, now is the perfect time to read them and celebrate the festive Christmas mood! Merry Christmas!