Good Cheer | Winter Holiday Story Series

What would Christmas be without stories or story-telling? I cherish my childhood memories of Christmas Eve, bundled in my footed pajamas with my older sister and my younger brother, sitting on the floor under the glow of the Christmas tree lights. We listened as my grandfather and father took turns reading “The Night Before Christmas” and the Nativity story from Luke 2 (always in the King James Version). As we listened, our eyes would drift to the stockings that hung empty, waiting to be filled, and to the wrapped presents bulging out on either side of the Christmas tree. The adults sat out of the way on couches and chairs taking pictures and soaking in the family moment. I remember one year my sister memorized “The Night Before Christmas” and recited it to everyone. Very impressive. It could have been a scene straight out of Norman Rockwell.

As an adult, I now get to watch my daughter sit with grandpa and her cousins and listen to the same story from the Bible and the same poem about St. Nicholas’s visit. Christmas Eve wouldn’t be the same without those stories and without those family moments.

In addition to those two stories, we grew up watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation, and so many other classics. Even though we have seen them all before, there is something comforting about the family ritual of rewatching them each year. One of my personal favorites is Elf, in which Will Ferrell believes he’s a Christmas elf, and eats like one too. He fastidiously follows the four main food groups of elves:  candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. In one scene, he tips back and drains two liters of Coke at the dining table. He then lets out a deep and sonorous belch that lasts half a minute. Instead of apologizing, he excitedly asks, “Did you hear that?!”

Christmas invites us to return to old and familiar stories, but it also sparks the imagination and spurs the creation of new stories. In this collection, be prepared to lose yourself in the holiday stories of seven very talented authors. As part of Honors 250, Santa Claus, students crafted and edited original holiday stories. The fictitious creation could be about St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Bethlehem, Mother Mary, Rudolf the Red-Nosed, the Grinch, ordinary people, modern-day family dramas, or their own self. The plot could be religious, realistic, or fantastical, as long as it was seasonal. This assignment constituted an exercise in creativity, writing, editing, and story-telling ability. It is one thing to learn about traditions, customs, and stories, but it’s another thing to create your own.

As you read these stories, I invite you to write one yourself. You never know when you will create the next holiday classic!

This blog series would not have been possible without the support of Dr. Mike Wells, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, The Lyricist editor Nate Salsbury, who also teaches in the English Department, Dr. Sherry Truffin, Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Donna Waldron, Chair of the English Department, Kate Stoneburner, and Haven Hottel. Many thanks to all, and to all good cheer!