What are your favourite Christmas stories?
Even leaving aside the ones in the Bible, plenty of stories have been written about this time of year. Not surprising that it would be an inspiration to writers, given all the folklore and family traditions and emotional associations that are tied up in December 25.
I remember a pile of children’s books that my parents used to bring out every year. They were about shepherd boys and woodcarvers, drummer boys and miracles. Tomie A. de Paola wrote picture books based on The Legend of Old Befana and The Friendly Beasts. Barbara Robinson wrote The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. One picture book that I found as an adult, and bought because I liked it so much, was The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski.
For Canadians, there’s Stuart McLean’s CBC Radio show, The Vinyl Cafe, featuring the funniest Christmas story ever, “Dave Cooks the Turkey”. Though “Dave Makes Snow” is a close runner-up.
There are the perennial favourites, A Christmas Carol (take your pick: book, movie, or play) and The Nutcracker (the ballet, of course, but we also owned a jigsaw puzzle).
Then there are the TV specials and movies. Some of them don’t even have Christmas content, but are still associated with the date…for some reason, The Sound of Music usually ends up on TV around this time of year, and I usually try to catch it along with my mother (even though she owns a copy).
Short films I remember with fondness include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Full-length feature films include It’s a Wonderful Life and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
But my favourite story is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The animated version, please, not the Jim Carrey one. I’m not even sure why, and I can’t decide what I like best about it — the adorable animation or the enthusiastic Boris Karloff narration. But for whatever reason, the season’s not complete until I’ve heard “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and the singing of the Whos down in Whoville.
Which Christmas story, apart from the Bible, is your favourite?