Miracle, and other Christmas Stories / Connie Willis
Toronto: Bantam, c1999.
To get myself into the Christmas spirit, I picked up this small collection of stories by the great Connie Willis, author of numerous books I have loved. I didn't actually know about this particular book until I began stocking a Christmas display at work -- this book didn't make it from shelf to display, rather, it ended up in my own stack!
It's a collection of 8 Christmas stories she's written over time, inspired by her love of Christmassy things like Miracle on 34th Street (her preferred choice, over It's a Wonderful Life -- a choice I can fully get behind!). There are stories of love, of just punishment, of whimsy and happy endings, of alien invasions, and one quite lovely time-travelly one starring Mary & Joseph. I enjoyed them all.
Her introduction is worth reading on its own. She talks about her love of Christmas and opines that you must love Christmas in order to write about it, without falling into either cloying sentiment or cynicism. She shares many of her reasons for loving Christmas, and I have to say that I agree with most of what she shares, as I also really, really love this time of year. Also included are two lists to finish off the book -- recommendations for 12 Things To Read at Christmas, and 12 Things to Watch. She mentions one of my favourite Christmas movies, While You Were Sleeping, but misses out on my other fave, The Bishop's Wife -- the original, starring Cary Grant, of course.
These are light stories, entertaining and seasonal, and I think I've found a new Christmas tradition for myself -- rereading this set of stories and suggestions to kick off the holidays!