I have a weakness for Christmas stories. Preferably simple, old-fashioned, sentimental Christmas stories. I've blogged before about how I have a few old favorites that I always like to pull out and re-read in December. But since getting a Kindle and discovering the treasure trove of the public domain, my list has grown from A Christmas Carol and Hercule Poirot's Christmas to include half a dozen delightful short tales by famous and not-so-famous authors of long ago. Now when I discover a likely-looking Christmas story sometime during the year, I stash it in a collection on my Kindle set aside for the purpose and save it up to read during the holidays. What fun!
Last year's discoveries were Beasley's Christmas Party by Booth Tarkington and The Romance of a Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin. I just love Wiggin's Christmas stories. I suppose you know that I also have a weakness for writing Christmas stories myself, and if I have a role model in this department, it's Kate Douglas Wiggin. This year I read The Old Peabody Pew and The Birds' Christmas Carol, and I am very much hoping that I have not come to the end of her Christmas oeuvre! If anybody knows of more, please do tell me.
I also discovered a new author, Leona Dalrymple, who seems to have written a number of novelette-length stories centered around an old-fashioned country Christmas. Perhaps not quite up to Wiggin's standards of craftsmanship, but delightful short holiday reading. When the Yule Log Burns was good, but it was Jimsy, the Christmas Kid that I found to be the real charmer. Written from the perspective of a stiffly-starched, elderly bank president who, evidently at his wife's instigation, has agreed to host an orphan boy from the city for Christmas, it's tremendously funny and yet touching at the same time.
And among actual short stories, my favorite discovered this year comes from the complete works of Lucy Maud Montgomery, who was also very fond of writing holiday stories. "Aunt Cyrilla's Christmas Basket" is, in my opinion, the best of them, and it may be read online here. All of the stories I just mentioned, in fact, can be read online at Project Gutenberg and downloaded for free on Kindle.
So who else loves old-fashioned Christmas tales? Which author do you think was best at writing them?