⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you want Christmas stories that capture the season without being syrupy, this book is for you.
🖋 🖋🖋🖋🖋 The writing is consistently good in every entry, and many authors show they are not afraid to show a sad situation before showing the goodness.
Authors: Henry Van Dyke, Pearl S. Buck, Beatrice Joy Chute, Ruth Sawyer, Elizabeth Goudge, Selma Lagerlöf, Rebecca Caudill, Madeleine L’Engle
Published October 5, 2021 by Plough Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Short Story Collection, Holiday Stories, Christian Fiction
🔪 Some stories occur in poverty scenes with stark imagery, or feature threats of violence that aren’t carried out.
💋 No sex scenes, little romance.
🚩 🚩 🚩 🚩 🚩 A Trigger Warning: this book has references to alcoholism, sex with masochistic dialogue.
Christmas is a time that inspires many, and makes them reconsider just what they think about God (and more particularly, Jesus). For writers willing to lean into the questions that the season brings up, Christmas stories can convict as well as inspire. This collection includes twenty acclaimed Christmas stories from authors in different cultures and periods. From stories about Christmas in gritty urban environments (“Transfiguration” by Madeleine L’Engle) to historical tales set in Siberia (“The Guest” by Nikolai S. Lesskov) to fantasy stories about supernatural encounters (“The Cribmaker’s Trip to Heaven” by Reimmichl), these stories show Christmas in its many shades and environments.
Christmas books, like Christmas songs on the pop station, often lean so far into sentiment until they become silly and insubstantial. This collection aims for quality over sentiment, collecting pieces from many different decades (some going as far back as 1910, or the last 1800s). Famous Christian authors like Madeleine L’Engle are included, as well as more obscure ones like Henry van Dyke that are worth rediscovering. This gives the book a very diverse feel, and not all of the stories are for young children. However, the Christmas themes of generosity, beauty out of chaos show up in every story in some way, showing how Christmas’ core message and ideas truly resonate across social classes, generations and locations.
Quality storytelling makes this book that very rare thing: a Christmas story collection worth not only reading once, but poring over multiple times. Many readers will even find that it’s a book worth reading throughout the year.
Reviewed by G. Connor Salter
G. Connor Salter is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and storyteller. His short story series “Tapes from the Crawlspace” is available to watch on YouTube, as are various pieces published by Tall Tale TV. He has published over 300 book reviews in publications like Aphotic Realm and The Waynesdale News. He will read anything once, but prefers thrillers, fantasy and horror.