Monday, December 23, 2019

O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"

The Gift of the Magi is a short story by O. Henry first published in 1905. The story tells of a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been popular for adaptation, especially for presentation at Christmas time. The plot and its twist ending are well-known, and the ending is generally considered an example of comic irony. It was allegedly written at Pete's Tavern on Irving Place in New York City.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Charles Dickens' "The Cricket on the Hearth"

The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home is a novella by Charles Dickens, published by Bradbury and Evans, and released 20 December 1845. Dickens described the novella as "quiet and domestic ... innocent and pretty." It is subdivided into chapters called "Chirps", similar to the "Quarters" of The Chimes or the "Staves" of A Christmas Carol. It is the third of Dickens's five Christmas books, preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843) and The Chimes (1844), and followed by The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).

Friday, December 20, 2019

Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl"

The Little Match Girl is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a dying child's dreams and hope, was first published in 1845. It takes place on New Year's Eve and is considered a holiday tale. It has been adapted in various films. Below are a few versions, along with a translation of the tale.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Saint Nicholas, Patron of Children

There are many patron saints for children, but perhaps the most popular is Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is a patron of many things, including entire countries, but he is especially esteemed as a patron of children, which was greatly enhanced in the 19th century when he came to be identified with the gift-giving Santa Claus of Christmas. However, with the rise of the mythical Santa Claus, there was a decline of devotion towards the real Saint Nicholas.