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The Five Best Christmas Stories
Opinion Journal Online ^ | 12-22-07 | MICHAEL DIRDA

Posted on 12/22/2007 8:43:09 AM PST by paul in cape

1. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (Late 14th century).

Full of make-believe and festivity, this wonderful narrative poem possesses a Mozartean lightness and wit. Luckily, several modern versions, particularly those by W.S. Merwin and Simon Armitage, deftly replicate much of the feel and rhythm of the Middle English original.

2. "The Pickwick Papers," by Charles Dickens (1837).

No Victorian novel re-creates the cheery holiday spirit better than these bustling misadventures of kindly Mr. Pickwick, his Cockney valet, Sam Weller, and their friends (including the "fat boy" who famously whispers: "I wants to make your flesh creep").

3. "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892).

Christopher Morley--the 20th-century American journalist and founder of the celebrated Sherlockian society, the Baker Street Irregulars--once called this "a Christmas story without slush." Originally collected in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and sometimes available as a stand-alone title, "The Blue Carbuncle" opens two days after Christmas, when the now married Dr. Watson visits cozy 221B Baker Street to wish his old friend "the compliments of the season."

4. "The Box of Delights" by John Masefield (Macmillan, 1935).

Just before Christmas, English schoolboy Kay Harker is traveling home by train to Tatchester. En route, he encounters a mysterious Punch-and-Judy showman, who asks him to take a message--"The wolves are running"-- to an old woman who wears a certain strange ring.

5."A Christmas Story" by Jean Shepherd (Broadway, 2003).

Set during the Depression in an Indiana steel town, "A Christmas Story" is the funny, nostalgia-laden tale of Ralphie Parker's quest for the greatest of all Christmas presents: a Red Ryder carbine BB gun.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: christmasstories; dickens
Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" has always been my favorite. It perfectly captured my childhood dreams in the '50's, and always brought a smile to my face. The movie was pretty good, too!

Read the full outlines HERE

1 posted on 12/22/2007 8:43:10 AM PST by paul in cape
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To: paul in cape

No love for “Gift of the Magi” by O Henry?


2 posted on 12/22/2007 8:44:17 AM PST by DeaconBenjamin
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To: paul in cape

The author forgot Luke.


3 posted on 12/22/2007 8:45:44 AM PST by ex-snook ("Above all things, truth beareth away the victory.")
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To: paul in cape


4 posted on 12/22/2007 8:48:26 AM PST by paul in cape
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To: paul in cape
"Set during the Depression in an Indiana steel town..."

I was always under the impression it was set in the late 40's - early 50's, but certainly post-war.

5 posted on 12/22/2007 8:49:22 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: paul in cape

My all time favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life” with
Jimmy Stewart. Marlo Thomas’ version was a mess.

I owned a theatre for a while and di this as a
musical (Joseph Robinette wrote it). If you ever
get the chance to see this or be in it... do it.

Merry Christmas... Jo


6 posted on 12/22/2007 8:49:51 AM PST by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Another excellent choice.

7 posted on 12/22/2007 8:52:44 AM PST by paul in cape
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To: paul in cape
While not necessarily on of the, "five best Christmas stories," Chet Williamson's, "O Come Little Children..." makes for a pretty good read.
8 posted on 12/22/2007 8:54:13 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: paul in cape

“We’re no Angels”, Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray & Peter Ustinov.


9 posted on 12/22/2007 8:56:21 AM PST by ops33 (Retired USAF Senior Master Sergeant)
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To: paul in cape

10 posted on 12/22/2007 8:57:52 AM PST by paul in cape
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To: DeaconBenjamin

These things are opinions I must suppose for O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” is the absolutely most perfect story and well-written as is O’Henry’s wont.

I consider the short story my own genre of the pen but I must bow to the likes of O’Henry.

All I can see, leave out “The Gift of the Magi” as the all time best Christmas story is to not know what Christmas, and love, is all about.

It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


11 posted on 12/22/2007 9:03:18 AM PST by Fishtalk (If you liked the above post, remember I've got a Blog you might like to visit.)
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To: Jo Nuvark

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” written by Philip Van Doren Stern.


12 posted on 12/22/2007 9:15:35 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them, I won't chip away at them" -Mitt Romney)
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To: Beelzebubba

[... It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American
film produced and directed by Frank Capra and
based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”
written by Philip Van Doren Stern...]

Sorry. I meant, the musical version we did
was written by Joseph Robinette.

Thx for clearing that up for me.


13 posted on 12/22/2007 9:23:15 AM PST by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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To: paul in cape

‘’
u

Post #10. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:4

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”- Luke 18:17.


14 posted on 12/22/2007 9:41:50 AM PST by 444Flyer (NEVER take a "mark" to "buy or sell"!Rev 13:16-18,John 3:1-36, Eph 6, Rev 12:11, Jer 29:13-14)
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To: Joe 6-pack

The movie was made here in Ohio (Cleveland area) and the setting was early fifties, according to the guy who now owns the house that was the set for the movie. He said that the movie was released in 1983. The old house was completely remodeled, down to every last detail of rugs, dishes, plumbing, light switches and fixtures, furniture and more. It’s now a museum dedicated to the movie, and they sell “Leg Lamps.”


15 posted on 12/22/2007 9:45:37 AM PST by Rudder
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To: paul in cape

Don’t forget. Guns are bad.


16 posted on 12/22/2007 10:04:51 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: paul in cape
How about the classic Christmas Carol? "Scrooge" has become a verb, a part of our language.
17 posted on 12/22/2007 10:08:56 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

I go for the classics myself...Die Hard and Die Hard 2 :)


18 posted on 12/22/2007 10:14:49 AM PST by xp38
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To: Rudder; Joe 6-pack
One clue as to when the movie takes place happens in the department store scene. As Ralphie waits in line to see Santa, people dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz stroll past as part of some promotion for the movie. Ralphie (rightly, I might add) wants no part of them.

The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939.

19 posted on 12/22/2007 10:35:15 AM PST by Oratam (")
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To: Oratam

1939? Well, I think I mis-remembered what I heard on the radio (not at all unlikely). I haven’t seen that movie (A Christmas Story) for quite a while.


20 posted on 12/22/2007 10:57:38 AM PST by Rudder
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To: DeaconBenjamin
The Gift Of The Magi was perfection. Nothing else I've ever read comes close.
21 posted on 12/22/2007 11:03:49 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: paul in cape
It appears there is a demand for ten or twelve favorites. By the way, how Dickens' A Christmas Carol was left off that list is beyond me.

Anyway, another popular one to add to the list of a dozen is Home Alone.

22 posted on 12/22/2007 11:17:42 AM PST by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God is, and (2) God is good?)
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To: Oratam
I had Dim Sum today at the restaurant featured in the Christmas Story. Went to the school shown in the movie. The cars in the film were late very late 30’s automobiles, and were clearly old and rather worn. The 32 ford body in the alley was totally rusted out. I’m saying the movie was meant to take place post war, ‘49-50
Then again, Jean Shepherd was born in 1921, so it’s more likely that the movie props are misleading, and a case of artistic license.
23 posted on 12/22/2007 12:23:36 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Oratam
The number “1940” is inscribed on the Secret Decoder ring, and the discussion of the Chicago Bears being “Monsters” versus “Chipmunks” of the Midway always led me to believe it was 1939-40, pre-war...

Regards,

24 posted on 12/22/2007 12:32:19 PM PST by Thunder 6
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To: paul in cape

“The Three Trees” was always my favorite!


25 posted on 12/23/2007 6:35:36 AM PST by Bommer ("He that controls the spice controls the universe!" (unfortunately that spice is Nutmeg!)
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To: paul in cape

A Christmas Story is one of the best movies ever made. It was not set during the depression though.


26 posted on 12/23/2007 6:39:40 AM PST by Vision (Thompson/Hunter '08)
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To: paul in cape

bump


27 posted on 12/24/2007 12:42:02 AM PST by Gigantor (McCarthy’s conspiracy theory has become an American reality.)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; Oratam; Rudder; Vision

A little independent research on my part indicates that the Little Orphan Annie radio show was only on air from 1931 - 1940...so that narrows it down substantially.


28 posted on 12/24/2007 5:23:47 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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