Many authors have been highly inspired by the spirit of Christmas that they have created heartwarming stories to show the significance of the season. So, there is no better way to create festive memories this holiday than creating lasting memories with the people we love, especially the kids, through reading. Most of these stories have been written for children, but we know for sure that readers of all ages will never get sick of these skillfully told tales.
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
Probably the most popular piece of fiction that Charles Dickens ever wrote, this was published in 1843.
Seven years after the death of his business partner Jacob Marley, a miserable old man named Ebenezer Scrooge was working in his office. He was someone who hated happiness, love, family, generosity, Christmas, and probably also puppies. When his nephew Fred invites him over to Christmas dinner, Scrooge yelled at him and refused, spitting out an angry “Bah! Humbug!”. Scrooge then told off the people collecting charity donations, and grumbled and complained that the fact that his clerk Bob Cratchit was getting a paid day off for Christmas was theft.
Not very long, Marley’s ghost haunted him. He warned Scrooge that the dead who led bad lives were forced to roam around and not be at peace. The ghost left after telling Scrooge to change his life before it was too late and that three other ghosts were going to appear to him that night.
Sure enough he soon the Ghost of Christmas Past visited him. This spirit took him on a tour of his childhood memories and Scrooge quickly started crying when he remembered himself as a neglected boy. The past also showed scenes from his young adulthood, when he transformed into the greedy miser that he ended up being after rejecting his fiancée and not learning the lessons of hospitality taught by Fezziwig, the man he was apprenticed to.
When it was time for the Ghost of Christmas Present to appear, Scrooge was taken around the country to show how pretty much every other human was making the most of the season by getting together with friends and family. It also included a stop at Fred’s house, where a bunch of friends were living it up with dancing and games. Scrooge also got to check out the dirt-poor but loving Christmas dinner preparations of the Cratchit family. The youngest son is Tiny Tim, a sick, saintly boy. Next, Scrooge was squired around by a phantom—the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Christmas Yet to Come was revealed to be a pretty sucky place. It showed Tiny Tim being dead, the Cratchits being bankrupt, and Scrooge himself also being dead with no one to mourn him—just a bunch of people to rob his corpse. After seeing his grave and freaking out, Scrooge promised to change.
Scrooge woke up in his own bed on Christmas Day. Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, he rushed onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit. He sent a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attended Fred’s party, to the stifled surprise of the other guests. As the years go by, he remained true to his promise: he treated Tiny Tim as if he were his own child, provided lavish gifts for the poor, and treated his fellow human beings with kindness, generosity, and warmth. Truly, he became all about the spirit of Christmas.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Robert L. May)
The story was created by Robert L. May in 1939 as part of his employment with Montgomery Ward. In 1949, Johnny Marks decided to adapt May’s story into a song, which through the years has been recorded by many artists.
Rudolph was born with a red nose that glowed causing him to be bullied by the other reindeers. Everyone else had a black nose so it was quite hysterical that his was red. Because of being bullied a lot, he decided to run away. Later, he was joined by an elf named Hermey who was not interested with Santa’s toys. He dreamed to be a dentist instead which was of course unacceptable. So, he too left.
Unfortunately, Rudolph’s family and girlfriend, Zoey, who had been searching for him, were kidnapped by Bumblebee. Rudolph fought the villain and just right before the Bumble enjoyed some venison, Hermey and his other friend, Cornelius, swooped in and saved the day. Then they all returned and found out that Santa was about to cancel Christmas due a horrible weather. When one of the elves noted Santa that Rudolph had red nose that glowed, Santa went to Rudolph to ask if he could guide his sleigh. Rudolph agreed, saving Christmas, and was finally treated the way he deserved by his fellow reindeer!
The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry)
The story first appeared in The New York Sunday World on December 10, 1905 and was later published in O. Henry’s collection The Four Million on April 10, 1906.
It was Christmas Eve. Jim and Della Dillingham, a poor, young married couple who didnt have enough money to buy each other Christmas gifts. Their only two most prized possessions were Jim’s gold pocket watch that belonged to his father and his grandfather, and Della’s lustrous, long hair that falls almost to her knees.
After paying all of the bills, all Della had left was $1.87 to put toward Jim’s Christmas present. Still, she desperately rushed out into the cold December day to find a gift she could afford. She saw a chain perfect for Jim’s pocket watch, but they were all out of her price range. Rushing home, Della pulled down her beautiful hair and after a sudden inspiration, she had her hair cut to sell in which she received $20.00, just enough to buy the platinum chain she saw in a shop window for $21.00.
When Jim came home that evening, he saw Della’s cut hair. He was neither angry nor surprised, giving Della an incomprehensible expression which made her cry out. After Della explained to him why she has her hair sold off, Jim took her in his arms and consoled her, then, he takes out his gift. Inside, Della finds a pair of costly decorative hair combs that she’d long admired, but are now completely useless since she’s cut off her hair. Hiding her tears, she jumps up and holds out her gift for Jim: the watch chain. Jim shrugs, flops down onto the old sofa, puts his hands behind his head and tells Della flatly that he sold his watch to buy her combs.
Unselfish love, as the story and its title suggest, is like the gifts given by the wise men, called the Magi, who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn Jesus.
The Little Match Girl (Hans Christian Andersen)
First published in 1845, the story is about a dying child’s dreams and hope.
A tragic tale of a poor, little girl who used to make a living by selling matches in the street. It was New Year’s Eve. And like most New Year’s Eve, it was cold with the wind swirling, and snow coming down. The little girl was sitting beside a fountain in the freezing cold with nothing warm on her head and shoes on her feet. The shoes she was sent out in that belonged to her mother were too big and had already been lost. Unfortunately, no one had bought matchboxes from the poor child. Afraid to go home because she knew her father would scold her for coming back without selling anything, she stayed out in the freezing cold night. She wanted to light a match to keep herself warm but was scared that her father would scold her for wasting a matchstick.
Unable to bear the cold anymore, she took out one matchstick and lit it. That was when she found herself was sitting in front of a stove. She reached out her hands to feel the heat but the fire soon died out. Wanting to see more, she lit another match and there she saw a dinner table with a roast goose on it! She chuckled in delight but after a while, this match also died out. She looked up at the sky and saw a falling star. It reminded her of her grandmother who used to say, “A falling star is a soul that has reached the sky.” She struck another match and saw her grandmother.
The little girl burnt all her matchsticks that night wishing to keep her grandmother with her. Finally, together they went up to heaven.
The next morning, the little match girl lay frozen to death with a smile on her lips. No one would ever know the wonderful dreams she had had, the previous night.
The Elves and the Shoemaker (Brothers Grimm)
This story is a part of a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Once upon a time, there lived a shoemaker who was very hardworking and honest; but still he could not earn enough to live upon. Then came a time when all he had left was just a leather enough to make one pair of shoes.
That night, he cut his leather out, making it ready to use the next day. Despite being poor, his conscience was clear and his heart light amidst all his troubles; so, he went peaceably to bed, left all his cares to Heaven, and soon fell asleep. He woke up in the morning, and to his great wonder, there stood the shoes already made, upon the table. The good man knew not what to say or think at such an odd thing happening. He looked at the workmanship; there was not one false stitch in the whole job; all was so neat and true—a masterpiece.
The same day a customer came in, and the shoes suited him so well that he willingly paid a price higher than usual for them; and the poor shoemaker, with the money, bought leather enough to make two pairs more. In the evening, he did the usual, cutting out the work then went to bed early. But when he got up in the morning, again, to his surprise, the work was done ready to his hand. Soon in came buyers, who paid him handsomely for his goods, so that he bought leather enough for four pair more. The good man soon became thriving and well off again.
One evening, about Christmas-time, as he was sitting with his wife over the fire chatting together, he told his wife he’d like to see who did the work for him. The wife liked the idea; so, they left a light burning, and hid themselves in a corner of the room.
As soon as it was midnight, two little naked elves came, sitting upon the shoemaker’s bench. They took up all the work that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers, stitching and rapping and tapping away at such a rate, that the shoemaker was all wonder, and could not take his eyes off them. And on they went, till the job was quite done.
The next day the wife told the shoemaker to she wanted to make each of the elves a shirt, and a coat and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons and a little pair of shoes because they have nothing upon their backs to keep off the cold. And so, they did.
It was about midnight when the elves came dancing and skipping, hopped round the room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed mightily delighted. They dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they danced out at the door, and away over the green.
The good couple saw them no more; but everything went well with them from that time forward, as long as they lived.