It’s Christmaaaaaassssss! Here are five fantastic Christmas short stories you can read online, instead of scrolling through depressing news items or the latest celebrity gossip. Maybe they’ll inspire you to write one yourself? We’ll be sharing new writing competition listings in the New Year if so – and see the link at the bottom of the page for competitions you can enter in the next week should you have one ready to go. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Writerly New Year.
1. A Child’s Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas
A piece of prose by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas this is an anecdotal reminiscence of a Christmas from the viewpoint of a young boy, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time.
2. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
First published in 1905, the story tells of a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money with an ironic twist at the end.
3. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
A largely autobiographical story set in the 1930s, focusing on the friendship between the seven-year-old narrator and an elderly woman who is his distant cousin and best friend. Published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956, it was reprinted in The Selected Writings of Truman Capote in 1963.
4. The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
A 1943 short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern which became the basis for the film ’It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946). Stern was best known for writing Civil War histories, and in the late 1930s, he had a dream that inspired him to write “The Greatest Gift.” Finally, in 1943, he published his own pamphlet edition and sent it to people as a Christmas card. Somehow, it found its way to the film director, Frank Capra.
5. The Burglar’s Christmas by Willa Cather
First published in Home Monthly in 1896 under the pseudonym of Elizabeth L. Seymour, this short story is set in Chicago on a bitterly cold Christmas night. A homeless young man attempts a burglary – but finds he is stealing jewels from his own mother.
We hope you enjoy these stories – do recommend others if you have your own favourites.