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Monday, November 27, 2023


By Holden DeMayo—Editor,, daily online magazine
--Library of America is an independent non-profit publisher based out of New York City. Recently, one of its holiday offering caught our attention at online magazine. It’s a new coffee tablecloth cover book that’s ideal to add to your holiday season (especially for real hold in your handbook readers).  Note: Snarky comments about Brits and Christmas are by me and not the serious editors at the Library of America.  My apologies.

Welcome to Library of America's “American Christmas Stories,” a compilation of 59 old, new short stories put together for readers, who have been celebrating Christmas for 150 years or so. The selections by editor of the Library of America are diverse, ingenious and genuinely American Christmas stories. Legendary brit author, Mr. Dickens was not invited. But hello to Mark Twain, W.E.B. Du Bois, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Pete Hamill, Leo Rosten and Tomas Rivera. In all the All-American team this year is up to 60 contributors. And, all the time you thought Robert Benchley and Christopher Morley were Brits. Ha! We’re an hour smarter than you. 

Here’s what is inside the nearly 500 pages of ho, ho, ho: 

 Ghost stories and crime stories, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, humor, and horror; tales of Christmas morning, trees, gifts, wise men, and family dinners everywhere from New York to Texas to outer space: this anthology is an epiphany, revealing the ways Christmas has evolved over time—and how the spirit of the holiday has remained the same. Ranging from the advent of the American tradition of holiday storytelling in the wake of the Civil War to today, this is the best and widest-ranging anthology of American Christmas stories ever assembled. 

 Author, editor Connie Willis penned the following introduction: There are stories that will make you laugh (Robert Benchley’s “Christmas Afternoon” and Thomas M. Disch’s “The Santa Claus Compromise”) and stories that will make you think (W.E.B. Du Bois’s “The Sermon in the Cradle” and Grace Paley’s “The Loudest Voice”) and stories that will make you cry (Jacob Riis’s “The Kid Hangs Up His Stocking” and Christopher Morley’s “The Tree That Didn’t Get Trimmed”).

 There are old standbys (Mark Twain’s “A Letter from Santa Claus,” William Dean Howells’s “Christmas Every Day,” and Edna Ferber’s “No Room at the Inn”) and familiar authors (Stephen Crane, Shirley Jackson, Katherine Anne Porter, and John Updike), plus some you’ve never heard of. And a couple of hidden treasures nobody’s ever heard of, like Pauline E. Hopkins’s “General Washington” and Mary Agnes Tincker’s “From the Garden of a Friend.” 

 . . . American Christmas Stories embodies what an anthology of American Christmas stories should be. It’s a book that shows just how the modern American Christmas story came to be—and at the same time it’s a perfect candidate to read aloud from on Christmas Eve. 


Bret Harte, How Santa Claus Came to Simpson’s Bar 

Louisa May Alcott, Kate’s Choice 

Mark Twain, A Letter from Santa Claus 

J. B. Moore Bristor, Lucy Marshall’s Letter 

Mary Agnes Tincker, From the Garden of a Friend 

William Dean Howells, Christmas Every Day 

John Kendrick Bangs, Thurlow’s Christmas Story 

Jack London, Klondike Christmas 

Stephen Crane, A Little Pilgrim 

Paul Laurence Dunbar, An Old-Time Christmas 

Pauline E. Hopkins, General Washington 

Jacob Riis, The Kid Hangs Up His Stocking 

George Ade, The Set of Poe 

O. Henry, A Chaparral Christmas Gift 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, According to Solomon 

Edward Lucas White, The Picture Puzzle 

Margaret Black, Xmas Party That Prevented a Split in the Church 

Dorothy Parker, Inevitable Story of the Snowbound Train 

Robert Benchley, Christmas Afternoon 

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Sermon in the Cradle 

Ben Hecht, Holiday Thoughts 

Heywood Broun, Bethlehem, Dec. 25 

Christopher Morley, The Tree That Didn’t Get Trimmed 

Sherwood Anderson, A Criminal’s Christmas 

James Thurber, A Visit from Saint Nicholas 

Langston Hughes, One Christmas Eve 

Damon Runyon, The Three Wise Guys 

Leo Rosten, Mr. K*A*P*L*A*N and the Magi 

John Henrik Clarke, Santa Claus is a White Man 

John Collier, Back for Christmas 

Edna Ferber, No Room at the Inn 

John McNulty, Two People He Never Saw Mary 

Roberts Rinehart, The Butler’s Christmas Eve 

Katherine Anne Porter, A Christmas Story 

Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, “Santa Clo” Comes to La Cuchilla 

Ray Bradbury, The Gift 

Raymond E. Banks, Christmas Trombone 

Mildred Clingerman, The Wild Wood 

Shirley Jackson, from Raising Demons 

Grace Paley, The Loudest Voice 

Mari Sandoz, The Christmas of the Phonograph Records 

Joan Didion, The Big Rock Candy Figgy Pudding Pitfall 

John Updike, The Carol Sing 

Tomás Rivera, The Night Before Christmas 

Thomas M. Disch, The Santa Claus Compromise 

Pete Hamill, The Christmas Kid 

Gene Wolfe, The War Beneath the Tree 

Cynthia Felice, Track of a Legend 

Ed McBain, And All Through the House 

George V. Higgins, The Impossible Snowsuit of Christmas Past 

Ron Carlson, The H Street Sledding Record 

Steve Rasnic Tem, Buzz 

Amy Tan, Fish Cheeks 

Ann Petry, Checkup 

Sandra Cisneros, Three Wise Guys 

Connie Willis, Inn 

José R. Nieto, Ixchel’s Tears 

Nathan Englander, Reb Kringle 

Nalo Hopkinson, A Young Candy Daughter 

 To purchase a copy 



The Library of America (LOA) is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature. Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LOA has published over 300 volumes by authors ranging from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Saul Bellow, Frederick Douglass to Ursula K. Le Guin, including selected writing of several U.S. presidents. Anthologies and works containing historical documents, criticism, and journalism are also published. Library of America volumes seek to print authoritative versions of works; include extensive notes, chronologies, and other back matter; and are known for their distinctive physical appearance and characteristics. Although, LOA is non-profit the volumes it publishes are for sale to the public, even Brits. :)


Nope.  This is a collection of American writers, but for those who cannot divorce yourself from Dickens CLICK HERE for "A Christmas Carol."

And, for the traditional poem CLICK HERE "The Night Before Christmas." By American Clement Moore.

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