7 Short Christmas Fiction Stories

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Although I’m not really a Christmas person, I had no choice but to read Christmas stories this week.

This week’s stories included a poor boy doing something thoughtful, a couple struggling to buy each other presents, an unhappy fir tree, a loved one away at war, what Nicholas really thinks about Christmas, an actor in a Christmas play, and a kidnapped Santa.

These are the stories I read this week and what I thought.

**I’m not here to criticise any writer. The fact that these writers have put themselves out there and made these stories available for me to read for free is amazing and I thank you.**

Sunday: The Sabot of Little Wolff

The Sabot of Little Wolff by François Coppée. Read on the free-short-stories.org.uk website.

The children spoke, too, of what the Christ-child would bring to them, and what he would put in their shoes, which they would, of course, be very careful to leave in the chimney before going to bed.

What it’s about: A poor boy is constantly teased and bullied by his aunt and others and hopes that this Christmas might be different from past ones.

Wolff lives with his miserly, irritable aunt “who only kissed him on New Year’s Day”. His aunt, the boys at school, and his teacher are all mean and cruel to him.

On Christmas Eve, the teacher takes the boys to church. All the boys talk about what they’ll get for Christmas and Wolff just listens. He tries to have faith and hopes that he’ll receive something pleasant this year.

After the service, a waif is seen sleeping just outside the church. Everyone ignores or complains about him, except for Wolff who shares something with him.

This is a story about the true Christmas spirit.

Monday: The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Read on the Project Gutenberg website.

Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result.

What it’s about: A couple struggle to buy gifts for each other.

Della is upset because she wants to buy her husband something nice for Christmas. But, they don’t earn enough to be able to save money for things like gifts.

They each decide to give up something precious so they can buy something exceptional for the other.

The narrator speaks directly to the reader in a very cynical tone and obviously doesn’t think much of the two characters. It’s a predictable story that has no doubt happened more than once in real life.

Tuesday: The Fir Tree

The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen. Read on HCA.Gilead.org.il.

Christmas-time drew near, and many young trees were cut down, some even smaller and younger than the fir-tree who enjoyed neither rest nor peace with longing to leave its forest home.

What it’s about: A young fir tree hates being small and is full of complaints about its life and questions about the world.

Like most children, the tree can’t wait to grow up. When trees around it are felled and removed, it wants to know where they’re going and believes it must be somewhere wonderful.

The tree is so busy complaining and imagining better places that it doesn’t realise what it’s taking for granted. It doesn’t see the pleasures of life and nature in the here-and-now.

The tree finally gets its wish.

Wednesday: Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas by Sarah Abegglen. Published on Allie Jo Andersen’s website.

Her older sister had been enlisted to fight in that war, and she had made the promise to be home in time for Christmas just before she had been sent into the field.

What it’s about: A girl is sad when her older sister doesn’t think she’ll make it home for Christmas.

Dresden’s older sister has been away for eight months fighting in a war, and they’ve barely heard from her. The last letter, sent only to Dresden, said her sister didn’t think she’d make it home for Christmas despite her original promise.

Dresden finds it hard to be festive and enjoy the season. Her brother gives her some good advice when he finds out why she’s so down.

This is a story for people with loved ones who may not make it home for Christmas.

Thursday: Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit by Lisa Holmes. Published on the Flash Fiction Magazine website.

In the Christmas season, Nicholas could almost forgive the Irvings, the Moores, the multitudes of writers who’d woken his spirit after its long and peaceful slumber.

What it’s about: Nicholas reflects on Christmas.

A nice twist on Saint Nicholas and his intentions behind delivering presents. This was my pick of the week.

Friday: The Ghost of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

The Ghost of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come by Ace Dennis. Submitted to a Reedsy short story prompt competition.

“Excuse me?” Dev asked, panicked. “I can’t play the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in my underwear! I don’t think it would make Dickens proud!”

What it’s about: Dev has his first-ever role in a play and things don’t go quite to plan.

Dev is determined not to mess up, but his costume goes missing at a crucial time.

A short funny story. If you can get past the overlong paragraphs, you might get a chuckle too.

Saturday: A Kidnapped Santa Claus

A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum. Read on the Project Gutenberg website.

Santa Claus lives in the Laughing Valley…But the Daemons who live in the mountain caves grew to hate Santa Claus very much, and all for the simple reason that he made children happy.

What it’s about: Five cave-dwelling daemons hate Santa Claus and try to do something about him.

The five Daemons — Selfishness, Envy, Hatred, Malice, and Repentance — are angry because happy children don’t visit their caves. They try to tempt Santa into being selfish, envious, hating, and malicious but they fail.

They decide to use force but have to wait until Christmas Eve for him to “drive his reindeer out into the world”. They succeed in kidnapping him but didn’t plan for all contingencies.

This was an easy read as are most L. Frank Baum stories.

TL;DR

This week’s short Christmas stories, in the order that I enjoyed them.

  1. Christmas Spirit by Lisa Holmes (Fantasy)
  2. The Ghost of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come by Ace Dennis (Contemporary)
  3. The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen (Classic)
  4. The Sabot of Little Wolff by François Coppée (Classic)
  5. Home for Christmas by Sarah Abegglen (Contemporary)
  6. A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (Classic)
  7. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (Classic)

I’m fascinated by short fiction. I write it and I read it.

As well as reading longer-form fiction, I try to read at least one short story every day. I select out-of-the-way stories and authors I’ve never read and sometimes never heard of.

Sometimes I pick competition entries, often ones that didn’t win. Sometimes I find random personal websites where someone has published their own stories. Sometimes I seek out professionally published stories from hardcopy books or online magazines. Sometimes I look for really old stories that are out of copyright and available online.

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Australian writer and reader. I particularly love short fiction. Always on the lookout for good writing.

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Gail Bird

Gail Bird

Australian writer and reader. I particularly love short fiction. Always on the lookout for good writing.

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