I went searching for Christmas stories, in hopes of finding books or short stories that aren’t necessarily well known and penned by authors one might not associate with the holiday. The site of Mission Podcast offered a list of the best 30 Christmas stories. I have listed 10 in no particular order. Many I’ve never heard of, one or two only came to my memory from many Christmases past.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Written in 1843, Dickens was short on time and obligated to produce a piece for his editor. He wrote this story using many details from his own life. In the story, he tells the tale of an old, bitter man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Most are familiar with Scrooge being visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through Christmases past, present, and future.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters From Father Christmas
Every December, J.R.R. Tolkien’s children would receive a letter from ‘Father Christmas’. These letters shared Father Christmas’s experiences that year — from an accident-prone polar bear to goblin wars in caves beneath the house — and are riddled with life lessons. In Letters from Father Christmas, Tolkien compiled these short stories into one book.
Susan Wojciechowski, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
This is a story about loss, love, and healing. It’s a gentle reminder to love all, even those who appear unwelcoming, because you may not know their struggle.
Henry, The Gift of the Magi
A short story about the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love.
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
I must confess I was more than a little surprised to find a Christmas story authored by Capote. First published in 1956.
Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce
In 1914 during World War I, a Christmas truce spontaneously broke out in the trenches. Almost a century later, the truce was re-enacted on a stage in St. Paul, where the Minnesota Opera premiered Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts in 2011. National recognition followed the next year, with Puts winning a Pulitzer Price for the opera’s music. In 2018, the Minnesota Opera staged the opera a second time, the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
Clement Clark Moore, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
Although commonly referred to as ’Twas The Night Before Christmas,’ this children’s Christmas poem is actually titled A Visit from St. Nicholas.
Although familiar with the story, two things I didn’t know: that the story is actually a poem and the works real title.
Frank Baum, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
Two years after publishing Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank Baum wrote this story about the life of Santa Claus. Baum follows Santa as he learns to make toys, picks out his reindeer, and visits every child in one night.
Maya Angelou, Amazing Peace
“Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward and speak the word aloud. Peace.”
In this deeply inspiring poem, Angelou calls on us to embrace one another despite differing beliefs, seek peace, and enjoy life.
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Seuss is great at sneaking deep life lessons into his stories, and in this tale, he demonstrates that Christmas is a spiritual experience, not a material one. Even as an adult I never miss the televised version from 1966.
The list of 30 stories is full of interesting facts – Charles Dickens appears several times, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a Sherlock Holmes’ Christmas mystery, and Mark Twain wrote a letter to Santa.
What’s your favorite Christmas story?