Behind today’s Advent door I present you with a very special book of mine. Given to me by my grandparents the Christmas after I returned home from my first term at University, A Literary Christmas is very precious to me. This anthology is to all intents and purposes a literary Christmas stocking, full to the brim with festive extracts from stories and novels, with sprinklings of poetry and verse.
A Literary Christmas is organised into eight different sections: Before Christmas, The Nativity, Christmas Day, Christmas Fare (my favourite – very entertaining to read about the varying success of festive foods in literature!), Christmas at War, A Child’s Christmas, Seasonal Snow and Ice and New Year. So, as you can imagine, there is something here for everyone at any point in the festive season!
We encounter a festive scene from Wuthering Heights alongside ‘The Oxen’ by Thomas Hardy. You can find Samuel Pepys’s diary entry from Christmas 1662 right next to an extract from Nancy Mitford’s highly entertaining Christmas Pudding. Or how about a giggle in the form of the brilliant Benjamin Zephaniah’s ‘Talking Turkeys!!’, an anthem for our feathered friends who have a tricky time over the festive period, with a smattering of animal magic from The Wind in the Willows? I have only mentioned a fragment of this glorious celebration of Christmas in literature which truly is a delight to dip in and out of throughout the Christmas season.