Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories, by L.M. Montgomery (1995)

Short Stories
Christmas With Anne and Other Holiday Stories, by L.M. MontgomeryWith so many demands on our time this month, it can be a challenge to make it a priority to relax and enjoy the sounds, sights, and scents of the holidays. This year I chose a classic Canadian collection by our very own Lucy Maud Montgomery. This collection of holiday stories was put together by Rea Wilmshurst, who found a number of unpublished stories in the late 1970s at Montgomery’s birthplace. She obtained a list of every item Montgomery published (more than 500), and spent years collecting as many as she could. Many of the stories were only published at the turn of the 20th century, in magazines or other formats. The list includes included a number of Christmas stories, the best of which appear here. First up is the well-known tale from Anne of Green Gables in which Matthew notices Anne’s dresses aren’t like the other girls, and enlists Rachel Lynde to create a frock as a gift for Anne. There are 16 stories in all, introducing readers to a range of characters: the wise aunt who helps youngsters understand the real meaning of Christmas, a soldier stranded with strangers on a snowbound train, well-off youngsters bored with Christmas, a newly married couple with little to share, and my favourite, three sisters who accidentally cook dinner in the wrong house. Each story ends happily, of course, but Montgomery succeeds in delivering stories that are poignant, meaningful, and even tragic at times, as her characters overcome challenges that still resonate with readers today. It’s a lovely collection of stories, and in our house my spouse read each one aloud at bedtime, a lovely way to make this accessible to younger readers, and perhaps create a new family tradition. The trade paperback is still in print and is a recommended addition to your holiday reading shelf. My library’s copy is the original hardcover edition, with includes delightful endpapers of a pretty holly pattern, so hunt that one down if you have time!
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