It's funny where our minds go, and the connections and associations the holidays bring. The past few days I've been thinking about some of my favorite children's/YA books and remembering some of the Christmas scenes from them. At the risk of sounding corny, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy, and ready to curl up by the fire and read the stories all over again!
Here are four of my favorites:
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1935
A dear friend of the Ingalls family, the wily Mr. Edwards battles the elements and a flooded creek so he can bring Christmas presents to Laura and Mary.
[Laura] heard Pa piling wood on the fire, and she heard Mr. Edwards say he had carried his clothes on his head when he swam the creek. His teeth rattled and his voice shivered. He would be all right, he said, as soon as he got warm.
"It was too big a risk, Edwards," Pa said. "We're glad you're here, but that was too big a risk for a Christmas dinner."
"Your little ones had to have a Christmas," Mr. Edwards replied. "No creek could stop me, after I fetched them their gifts from Independence."
What Katy Did by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (pen name Susan Coolidge), 1872
Once flighty and selfish, an accident caused Katy to become an invalid for a number of years, and she gains a new, mature perspective on life. In one scene, her aunt gives her $5 before Christmas, because she knows that Katy will want to use it to buy gifts for her siblings.
"I didn't know what to give you for Christmas, Katy," she said, "because Helen sends you such a lot of things that there don't seem to be anything you haven't already. So I thought I'd give you this, and let you choose for yourself. But if you've set your heart on getting presents for the children, perhaps you'd rather have it now." So saying, Aunt Izzie laid on the bed a crisp, new five-dollar bill!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1869
The Christmas morning where each of the March girls receives a little book under their pillows, from their mother:
Then [Jo] remembered her mother's promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book. She knew it very well, for it was that beautiful old story of the best life ever lived, and Jo felt that it was a true guidebook for any pilgrim going on a long journey. She woke Meg with a Merry Christmas, and bade her see what was under her pillow. A green-covered book appeared, with the same picture inside, and a few words written by their mother, which made their one present very precious in their eyes. Presently Beth and Amy woke to rummage and find their little books also, one dove-colored, the other blue, and all sat looking at and talking about them, while the east grew rosy with the coming day.
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink, 1936
Set in Wisconsin in the 1860s. The Woodlawn children run wild and have high adventures that typically get them in trouble. On one occasion, spunky little sister Caddie falls through the ice and has to spend Christmas in bed, subdued and chastised by her mother, who is always scolding Caddie for her tomboy antics.
Christmas came and went while Caddie was still recovering. She had intended to spend some of her silver dollar for presents, but it still lay snug and safe in the wooden trinket box, because she was not able to take it to the store. They hung their stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve and Santa Claus came down the chimney here in Wisconsin, just as he did in Boston and St. Louis. But the apples and nuts which he packed around the toys were strangely like those which they themselves had picked.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!