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As Jeanette Winterson wrote recently for Omnivoracious, the Christmas story is “a story about coming together, not tearing apart. You don’t have to be a believer to believe in the spirit of the story.”

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Christmas is a rather literary holiday, after all. The very way in which we celebrate has been influenced by writers; Charles Dickens canonized our Christmas dinners in A Christmas Carol, and our image of Santa himself has emerged from poems and illustrations appearing in magazines.

In the spirit of the season, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite literary takes on Christmas. All of these links are open-access, so click to download the PDF and read at your leisure (preferably by a sparkling Christmas tree, with a glass of egg nog):


JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

The North American Review, Vol. 293, No. 3/4, Annual Summer Fiction Double Issue
(MAY-AUGUST 2008), pp. 17-21
Conjunctions, No. 31, Radical Shadows: Previously Untranslated and Unpublished
Works by 19th and 20th Century Masters (1998), pp. 139-177
Ploughshares, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter, 1997/1998), pp. 130-131
Prairie Schooner, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter 1985), pp. 3-34
University of Nebraska Press
Prairie Schooner, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter 1985), pp. 3-34
University of Nebraska Press
Advocate of Peace (1847-1884), New Series, Vol. 14, No. 1 (JANUARY, 1883), pp. 3-4
World Affairs Institute
Indian Literature, Vol. 54, No. 2 (256) (March/April 2010), pp. 111-113
Sahitya Akademi
The North American Review, Vol. 284, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1999), pp. 6-7
University of Northern Iowa
Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Winter, 1957), pp. 28-31
Montana Historical Society
Cosmopolitan Art Journal , Vol. 3, No. 5 (Dec., 1859), pp. 206-207
Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art