On Christmas morning, just after hugs were given and coffee was poured, mom turned to me and said “You’re going to love the editorial page this morning!” This year, the Christmas editorial of the Dallas Morning News featured Little House in the Big Woods! The complete text can be found here.
The editorial opens by mentioning the power of story, and listing some other favorite Christmas stories of staff. And then, they wrote “One more book that comes to mind probably isn’t considered part of the Christmas canon, but it still has much to teach us about the spirit of the holiday and the foundation that our own traditions have been built upon.” They do a brief summary of Little House in the Big Woods, complete with a bit of background on Laura. They quote extensively the scene when Laura receives Charlotte. The editorial concludes: “Somewhere in our past, each of us has roots and ancestors for whom something as humble as a pair of mittens or stick of candy would make a sublime Christmas. And in these days of undertainity and political bickering, it’s never a bad thing to remember: ‘All alone in the wild Big Woods, and the snow, and the cold, the little log house was warm and snug and cozy.’ May we all, like Laura and her family, find wonder, contentment and more than a little hope in this Christmas 2010.”
First, I was thrilled to see Laura get such play in the mainstream press–and it wasn’t even Little House on the Prairie! And this article didn’t quite descend into the common trap of “look how much simpler thing were–wouldn’t that be better?” Instead, it really emphasizes the magic of Christmas, no matter what gifts were received.
Of course, in my world, Little House is definitely part of the Christmas canon! But after reading more than a few Christmas scenes from children’s literature and as I continue with The Battle for Christmas (a history of Christmas celebrations in the 19th century that is fascinating. Our current “Christmas wars” have nothing on the 19th century!), I’m struck with the idea that often the most magical part of Christmas is found around the Christmas tree, with friends and family. It’s the moments that aren’t forced or manufactured.
Here’s hoping you had a very merry–and the Christmas joy continues as long as you’d like it to!