A literary Christmas!
Many famous poets and writers have written Christmas stories and poems and I have collected 19 of the best. Also, I've provided a link to each one so you can read them online. Finally, there is a YouTube video for most of them, so you can watch and listen to them if you prefer.
1. Papa Panov Christmas Special by Leo Tolstoy
Christmas special by Papa PanovIt was written by the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Papa Panov is an elderly shoemaker living in a small town in Russia. Her Christmas wish is to give baby Jesus the best pair of shoes she has ever made. On Christmas Eve, Jesus appears to her in a dream and tells her that he will visit Papa Panov on Christmas Day. What follows is Papa Panov's happiest Christmas ever, as he learns that the best way to celebrate the Savior's birth is to do good things for others. He canRead the story online here(and there is a historical analysisHere), and you can also listen to it below:
2. The beggar boy at the Christmas tree by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Tolstoy was not the only famous Russian author to write Christmas stories. So did Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekhov.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote a story entitledThe beggar boy at the Christmas tree. It begins in a dark, icy, miserable hut in Petersburg. A six-year-old boy, dressed in rags, sits alone next to his recently deceased mother. He's almost starving, so he goes in search of food.
As he walks the empty streets, he looks into the houses and sees that they are full of happy children celebrating Christmas. He knocks on several doors, but no one lets him in. Fearing some older boys, the little one flees into a yard behind a pile of firewood. There he freezes to death.
But before he dies, the little boy dreams of the Christmas tree festival, a festival for all children who are victims of social injustice. There he meets that mother again, and the two join the party and are overjoyed. You can readThe beggar boy at the Christmas tree here online.
3. Not cozy by Anton Chekhov
by Anton Chekhovnot at homeIt was published in 1900 and is now considered a Christmas classic.Like Dostoyevsky's story before it, it deviates from the typical Christmas sweetness story.
The story begins with an illiterate Russian peasant woman who hires a man to write her daughter a letter she hasn't heard from for four years.Although it's a sad story, it reminds us to be thankful for what we have. You can readnot at homein lineHere.
For more Russian Christmas Stories, see “A Very Russian Christmas: The Best Russian Christmas Stories Ever“.
4. The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
The Tailor of Gloucesteris a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter. It's about a Gloucester tailor who falls ill and can't finish a waistcoat ordered by the mayor for his Christmas Day wedding.
However, on Christmas morning, the tailor enters his shop to find that the waistcoat has been finished by the grateful mice he saved from their cat. He canread online here, or you can buythe fully illustrated book here. Also, you can watch a nice adaptation on YouTube:
5. A Christmas inspiration from Lucy Maud Montgomery
a Christmas inspirationby Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known for her novelAnna on Green Gables. It's the story of five girls who spend Christmas in the boarding house where they live.
The girls happily tell about all the presents they got for Christmas. However, when they decide to buy gifts for someone who doesn't seem to have a friend in the world, they discover that it is more blessed to give than to receive. He canread hereor listen below:
"A Christmas Inspiration" is one of the stories featured in "Christmas with Anne and other Christmas stories“.
6. A Letter from Santa Claus by Mark Twain
In 1875, Mark Twain wrote a letter to his three-year-old daughter, Susie Clemens, which he mailed as Santa Claus. You can read Twain's beautiful letterHere. You can also hear it below:
7. Country Christmas de Louisa May Alcott
a rural ChristmasIt was written by Louisa May Alcott. She is, of course, the author of the popular novellittle woman(By the way, the first two chapters oflittle womanwill be discontinued around Christmas time).
However, not many know that he also wrote several stories and poems about Christmas. One of May Alcott's Christmas Carols is calledA country Christmas.
Sofia is the protagonist ofa rural Christmas. She lives with her guardian in a big city, but decides to visit her Aunt Plumy and her aunt's two grown children, Saul and Ruth, over Christmas. They live on a humble farm in Vermont and life there is much slower.
Sophie gets permission from Aunt Plumy to invite two friends over for Christmas. She shows them "a real old-fashioned party" like it's done in the country. You can reada rural Christmas here online.
8. Tilly's Christmas by Louisa May Alcott
Another charming Christmas story by May Alcott isNatal de Tilly, which is very short and can be read in a few minutes. It's about a poor girl and her mother who are faced with a somber Christmas.
However, they are both good people, always trying to do good for others, and their kindness is rewarded when a stranger leaves gifts on their doorstep for them to find on Christmas Eve. You can readNatal de Tillyhere online. In addition, most of May Alcott's Christmas writing was collected in the bookLouisa May Alcott's Christmas Sweetheart.
9. On the Morning of the Nativity by John Milton
English poet John Milton is best known for his epic poemlost paradise.On the morning of Christ's birthit was written in 1629 when Milton was still a student at Cambridge University. It is one of four of Milton's poems to be read on the 2ndThe Harvard Classics.
You can readOn the morning of Christ's birth here online, or you can hear it read below:
10. The Gift of Kings by O. Henrique
The Mage's Giftis a beautiful Christmas story written by O. Henry, a well-known American short story writer. I've heard this story since I was a kid.
It's about a young couple who love each other very much but can barely make ends meet. Each sacrifices their most prized possession to buy the other a Christmas present. The story has a surprise ending that O. Henry was known for.
You can readThe Mage's Gift here online. You can also hear it below:
11 Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christmas bellsis an inspirational poem by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote it on Christmas Day 1863 during the American Civil War.
The poem tells of the narrator's despair upon hearing the Christmas bells that "hatred is strong, mocking the song of peace on earth, men of good will". However, the poem ends on a hopeful note. The bells ring even louder with their message of peace on earth.
You can readChristmas bellshere online. The poem became a Christmas carol, which you can listen to below:
12. Los Reyes Magos von Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Wadsworth Longfellow wrote another beautiful Christmas poem entitledthe three kingsyou canread online here. It is a classic account of the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus shortly after his birth. You can hear it read below:
13. It Was Christmas Eve by Clement C. Moore
It was the night before Christmasby Clement C. Moore is the quintessential Christmas poem. The poem is largely responsible for many of the ideas we have about Santa Claus today. He canread online here. Also listen below.
14. A Christmas keepsake from Truman Capote
a Christmas memoryis a semi-autobiographical short story by Truman Capote, the author ofBreakfast at Tiffany's.
Ema Christmas souvenir,An orphaned seven-year-old boy named "Buddy" lives in rural Alabama with his older cousin, who is eccentric and childish (and many people consider him retarded). They also live with other relatives who "often make them cry."
Every year in November, when it gets colder, the old woman proclaims:
"It's fruitcake weather."
So she and her friend get all the ingredients needed to make fruitcake. They harvest wild nuts and fund everything else they need with the money they carefully save throughout the year. After four days of cooking, your fruitcakes are ready to be handed out to friends: "People we may have met once, maybe never."
Buddy and his cousin have other adventures together. Unfortunately, the special relationship Buddy shares with his cousin ends when he is sent to military school and then to another home. Although initially written off, the cousin contracted dementia a few years later and died soon after.
He canRead the story online here. a Christmas memoryIt was adapted for television by Truman Capote and Eleanor Perry. The production starred Geraldine Page and Truman Capote was the narrator. You can see below:
15. The Dead by James Joyce
The deadit's fromDubliner, a collection of short stories by James Joyce. Joyce's most important work,UlyssesIt's a difficult read. Therefore, most people will want to become familiar with Joyce by readingThe dead, which is much more accessible.
The story takes place at the annual ball and dinner hosted by Kate and Julia Morkan and their young niece, Mary Jane Morkan. It is on or just before Epiphany in January.6, celebrating the manifestation of Christ's divinity to the kings. The party brings together many family members and friends.
The central themes of the story are mortality and isolation. But there is also a lot of joy in itThe dead, while the financially prosperous characters celebrate the holiday season. He canread online here. You can also watch a movie based on the story below.
16. Match Girl von Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen is a Danish author who is best known for his fairy tales asThe ugly duckjThe little mermaid. He has also written several Christmas stories, the most popular of which is entitled:The Match Girl. It's about a little girl who was sent out into the cold by her abusive father to sell matches.
Despite her best efforts, everyone on the street runs past her and ignores her, and she cannot sell matches. When it gets dark she is afraid to go home because her father will hit her because she doesn't earn any money. So it is located in a corner of an imposing stone building.
He lights a match to keep warm and a glorious vision of a Christmas tree appears. Vision disappears when the match goes out. The girl lights a second match and a Christmas party appears in front of her. This party also dies with the departure. When she lights a match for the third time, her beloved deceased grandmother appears and the girl runs into her arms.
The girl's body was found the next morning. She was frozen.
He canread online here. Also check out the adaptation ofThe Match Girl, below (and if you're not crying, I'm afraid your heart will be made of stone):
17. Abeto de Hans Christian Andersen
the FIRis another Christmas story by Hans Christian Andersen. It's the story of a fir tree so eager to grow and so eager for greater things that it doesn't appreciate living in the moment. He doesn't understand how lucky he is until it's too late.
You can readthe FIRonline here.Or you can hear itis read here. You can also check out a short comic based onthe FIRunder.
18. Does Santa Claus exist? by Frank Church
Francis Pharcellus Church was an American editor and publisher. He was one of the chief editors of his brother's newspaper, the New York Sun, a major New York newspaper at the time. In that position, he wrote an editorial in 1897 answering a question from an eight-year-old girl named Virginia.
The girl asked: "Does Santa Claus exist?" The Church's response is now part of the Christmas story. Here is part of the Church's response:
“Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus exists. It exists as surely as love, generosity and devotion, and you know they abound and bring the greatest beauty and joy to your life. poor me! How sad would the world be if Santa Claus didn't exist! It would be so sad like there weren't any Virginias."
He canRead the entire editorial online here. Also, you can listen to it below. Eventually, the editorial was made into a TV movie, which youYou can see here(Definitely worth a look.)
19. A child's Christmas in Walesvon DylanThomas
A Children's Christmas in Walesis a prose work by Dylan Thomas, one of the most important Welsh poets of the 20th century. It's a nostalgic retelling of past Christmases. Although nothing dramatic happens in this story, it's a nice read. Here's a quote from the end of the story:
Looking out my bedroom window at the moonlight and endless smoky snow, I could see the lights in the windows of every other home on our hilltop and hear the music rising from them at night. I turned the gas down and went to bed. I said a few words in the almost holy darkness, and then fell asleep.
you can read itHere.A Children's Christmas in WalesIt was made into a TV movie which you can watch below (I recommend you watch this one):
I hope these Christmas stories and poems by famous authors have made you feel joy, love for friends and family, compassion and nostalgia. That is, the emotions of Christmas. Also, by reading these stories and poems, you will be a little more informed by the end of the year.
live your best lifea literary Christmas.
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What is the most famous Christmas story? ›
The classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the most popular Christmas story of all time. Written in 1843, it has been read by generations of adults and children, and it has been adapted many times for plays, movies, and tv, making it the most beloved story to read each holiday season.What is the oldest Christmas poem? ›
St. Hilary of Poitiers composed the Latin carol “Jesus refulsit omnium” (“Jesus illuminates all”) in the fourth century, presumably after the first recorded Christmas celebration (336 A.D.).What is the current relevance of the poem Christmas Eve? ›
Rossetti's “Christmas Eve” is a poem of anticipation: at the very end of Advent, the speaker looks forward to the hour that Christmas begins. The poem opens with three comparisons involving imagery. The first two are paradoxes in which “darkness” becomes light and “chillness” becomes warmth.How to write a poem about Christmas? ›
- Choose a theme for your poem.
- Engage all of your readers' (and listeners') senses.
- Choose a form or write in free verse.
- Use a thesaurus to find the right words.
- To rhyme or not to rhyme?
- Share your Christmas poem with the world (or just your friends).
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby is not only the best-selling Christmas/holiday single in the United States, but also the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.What is a good Christmas story? ›
- Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
- The Gift of the Magi.
- The Fir Tree.
- The Greatest Gift.
- The Elves and the Shoemaker.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
- Polar Express.
- Twas the night before Christmas.
About the Poet Michael Morpurgo The Best Christmas Present in the World is a touching story by Michael Morpurgo. The narrator buys an old desk and finds in it a letter written by an English soldier Jim Mcpherson to his wife Connie whom the narrator goes to meet and hand over the letter.What is the most popular Christmas carol? ›
Jingle bells is undoubtedly the most popular Christmas carol. It is also the easiest one to get the little ones all cheered up. It's traditionally sung at Christmas in most parts of the world.What is the name of the most famous Christmas song Who wrote it? ›
"The Christmas Song" (commonly subtitled "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or, as it was originally subtitled, "Merry Christmas to You") is a classic Christmas song written in 1945 by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé.What is the day before Christmas Eve called? ›
Christmas Adam is an American colloquialism for the day before Christmas Eve or December 23rd.
Does Christmas mean? ›
Christmas, Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ's day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice.What countries don't celebrate Christmas on December 25? ›
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, North Korea, Libya, Mauritania, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen do not recognize Christmas as a public holiday.What is a good Christmas quote? ›
- “Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind.” – ...
- “Love the giver more than the gift.” – ...
- “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – ...
- “Christmas is a stocking stuffed with sugary goodness.” – ...
- “Christmas isn't a season. ...
- “It's the most wonderful time of the year!” –
- 1. “ Little Tree” by e.e. cummings. ...
- 2. “ Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. ...
- 3. “ Winter Time” by Robert Louis Stevenson. ...
- 4. ' Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. ...
- 5. “ Music on Christmas Morning” by Anne Brontë ...
- 6. “ The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton. ...
- 7. “ ...
- 8. “
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According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.What is the number 1 most watched Christmas movie? ›
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In the familiar version of the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Because there was no room in the inn, the baby Jesus is born in a stable and placed in a manger. His humble birth is celebrated by choirs of angels and shepherds, and he is given precious gifts by the mysterious Magi.What is the real story behind Christmas? ›
Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died and then came back to life.
How old is Santa? ›
Exactly how old is Santa? According to the blog Email Santa, Santa Claus is 1,751 years old as of 2022. In fact, the origins of Santa Claus can be traced all the way back to a monk named Saint Nicholas, who was born between 260 and 280 A.D.What is the most watched thing on Christmas Day? ›
- Coronation Street – 2.85m (ITV1)
- Ant and Dec's Limitless Win – 2.69m (ITV1)
- The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special – 2.68m (ITV1)
- The Smeds and the Smoos – 2.67m (BBC One)
- Emmerdale – 2.56m (ITV1) ...
- Mrs Brown's Boys – 2.44m (BBC One)
- ITV News – 2.30m (ITV1)