Christmas can mean many things to many people. For my part, I greatly enjoy Christmas, in particular the Christmas books I love. I have written many times here about A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, which I read (as I am now rereading) every Christmas. It remains an important book in my life.
But there are other books I love.
Just how A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas was written and recorded is an extremely complicated story in itself. If you are interested, Wikipedia has an account which I assume—though I don’t know it for myself—is correct if somewhat baffling and hard to follow. This said, the story itself, as it exists today, is wonderfully easy to follow. I find it utterly charming (a word I don’t use very often), full of humor, pathos, and wonderful language as befits a very great poet. If you have never read or heard it you are in for a treat. It also bears returning to many a time.
And speaking of returning, there is Chapter Five from The Wind In the Willows by Kenneth Graham. The Chapter is titled “Dulce Domum,” Latin for Sweetly at Home. In it, Ratty and Mole are heading for their riverbank home on a cold, wintery Christmas eve (or close to it) when Mole rediscovers (by animal instinct!) his old deep home, which brings on many a remembrance. Ratty urges them to go to it and when they do the two creatures experience a meager but touching homecoming that is indeed sweet. The writing is so fine that even though it is sentimental it’s wonderfully real as to the rich emotions it conveys.
Though I hesitate to mention it amidst this legendary list, I once attempted a Christmas book of my own. The Christmas Rat which inspired to be a true Christmas story is creepy and mysterious as intended for (self-proclaimed) cynical middle schoolers. School Library Journal, in a starred review, wrote: “For readers who want a different kind of holiday (or anytime) novel, fast-paced and mystifying, with juicy moral dilemmas underpinning the unique plot, this is a surefire selection.”
Perhaps readers of this blog have other Christmas tales to suggest. Please do share.
For this particular moment, however, I’ll return to A Christmas Carol and end as that story so famously ends: “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, Everyone.”