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Christmas Reading – The Classics

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Helsinki chapter.

One of the finest things in Christmas is, of course, all those engaging classic stories. Christmas tales are what make this season all the more delightful – whether they’re morality tales or the more thrilling Christmas story, the narratives are another charming form of entertainment that make this season exciting. No matter how old I get, what we deem as children’s classic Christmas stories will always be close to my heart and then also, the mystery fan in me absolutely loves those more thrilling stories that take place during this festive season. Here’s a list of classic stories I’ve thought of picking up this month and so, to recommend for reading this Christmas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)

What is Christmas without one of the most enduring morality tales ever written – the classic that trails the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from greedy old miser to a joyful kind chum? Christmas Carol is certainly a children’s classic, however, when I first read it, the story struck me by how truly grim it is. And that is its enduring effect: a story of a bitter old businessman who has sacrificed love and friendship to the devotion of making money which makes him completely unsympathetic. Not only is this tragic, but it’s also horrifying that many people are still led by the mere thought of making money because it matters more than a person’s life. Thankfully, the beauty of the story is that it becomes a tale of redemption. Not going to lie, I almost choked up.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (in the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

As London is preparing for Christmas, there’s a scuffle somewhere at night that leaves a battered old hat and a Christmas goose – both shown to Holmes but who is only left with the hat as an intellectual exercise, of course. Good old Watson visits his friend while he’s contemplating the hat, and they’re both later visited by the man who found it; however, he returns with a very rare find: a stolen gem that he found in the dropped goose. How on earth did this priceless looking gemstone end up inside a goose? Sure enough, it was stolen (gasp). The theft of the “Blue Carbuncle” gemstone from the hotel suite of a countess is reported in the newspapers and sets the detective pair on the trail to solve this bizarre robbery. A true favorite.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, pen name for William Sidney Porter (1905)

This is one of the funniest, as well as most touching, short stories I’ve ever read. A story of love and sacrifice, The Gift also demonstrates how we might become too swept up in trying to give someone material happiness. But it’s delightfully witty and quite intimately tells the story of Jim and Della Dillingham who are a poor, young married couple and who don’t have enough money to buy each other Christmas gifts. What does this lovely couple do then? Both sell their most prized possessions to pay for a gift for the other. However, the story ends with a dramatic yet very funny ironic twist. While this is an old short story, I did laugh out loud at some parts given the context – especially at Jim when he comes home and says his first words. (I won’t spoil it – it is quite short.)

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (1938)

What better way to make this snowy season more thrilling than to read a novel by the queen of mystery herself? The Belgian detective finds himself solving a locked room mystery that involves the horrid death of old multi-millionaire Simeon Lee. The tyrannical Lee unexpectedly invites his family to gather at his home for Christmas, which is met with suspicion by many of his guests since all the family members are not on good terms with one another. Not only this, but they’re accompanied by a member whom none of Lee’s children have even met before. Lee is found brutally murdered in a locked room, and after Poirot arrives to assist and question the guests, he finds them all rather suspicious than mourning for the old man. Talk about a delicious whodunit that demands all of Poirot’s skills. This is also one of Christie’s “bloodier” murder stories.

If you’re interested in seeing and reading more of the older Christmas classics, check them out from AmericanLiterature.com. After also googling collections of Christmas stories, I now know what I’ll buy myself this Christmas. Happy reading!

An English major in University of Helsinki who adores culture's most valuable and beautiful subjects like literature and art.