Oh, I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to show a little holiday cheer once in a while. Here are two stories you might like to read this holiday seaons. Both of them are by Truman Capote.
Truman Capote is most famous for two books, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. However, he was also proficient at writing wonderful Christmas stories. Here are two that you might like to check out this year. Both are available in The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, or online if you search for like two minutes.
1. “A Christmas Memory”
“A Christmas Memory” is a sentimental tale, to be sure. However, it’s the most perfectly drawn sentimental tale that one could ever wish to read, full of preciese details and hilarity and sadness that makes it unforgettable.
This short story is about a seven-year-old boy whose best friend is a “very distant” cousin, sixty years old, with whom he lives. They are poor, misunderstood, and largely ignored by everyone they know. But in late November, when “fruitcake weather” arrives, they go about their yearly holiday adventure of making fruitcakes for their far-flung friends.
I remember reading “A Christmas Memory” on a car ride at some point, when I just needed something to pass the time. I didn’t have any expectations for this story, but as it rolled along I found myself become more and more drawn into these characters’ lives. When the ending came, an ending that I should have seen coming from a mile away, I was profoundly touched (which is not like me at all.) I chided myself for being so emotionally moved by a sentimental story like this one. A Christmas story, no less!
2. “Jug of Silver”
Less known than “A Christmas Memory” is “Jug of Silver.” I honestly have no idea how I came across this story, only that I once used it on an exam when I taught at the Catholic school. Like “A Christmas Memory,” “Jug of Silver” draws you in with a simple story and then punches you in the gut because you are a cynical bastard and deserve to be punished. Both stories have all their secrets hidden in plain sight, and it’s not until you’ve finished it that you realize you’ve witnessed a miracle of sorts.
Although “A Christmas Memory” is more magestic, “Jug of Silver” is the better story by maybe a nickel or a dime.
Another lesser-known Christmas story.