So it’s that most wonderful time of the year, with kids jingle belling and everybody telling you to be of good cheer. But it also means it’s time for Christmas stories, like “A Christmas Carol”, many Christmas movies, like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and of course, we can’t forget the Grinch. I’ve always liked Christmas stories, and considering the time of year it is, I might as well reflect on them.
I recently posted a short Christmas story of my own, Deep Space Holiday, which you can read here, if you’d like.
But when you talk about Christmas stories, you don’t simply talk about stories that take place around Christmas time. Pretty much any story can be rewritten to take place in the month of December, and the fact that is Christmas is acknowledged. Christmas decorations are up about one twelfth of the year. But typically, this would mean the Christmas season is inconsequential to the story.
Then, there are stories where Christmas occurs during the story, and its occurrence is somehow important, but the focus of the story is not the holiday, so I can’t really call these Christmas stories either.
What really defines a Christmas story is that it captures the themes of Christmas. These themes may include characters learning how they can be a better person, and learning, or learning to embrace the spirit of Christmas.
So what is the spirit of Christmas exactly? Well, it’s difficult to put in words. It’s about hope, joy, and celebration. It’s about friends and family, togetherness, but it’s about so much more. When I want to realize what the spirit of Christmas is, I just reflect on Christmases past, and how I felt during them. If you want to write a Christmas story, this is where you get inspiration.
Think about family Christmas traditions. Think about parties, Christmas carols, mistletoe, and everything else. Think about putting up the Christmas lights, and admiring your neighbors’. Think about the feelings of a child, awaiting Santa Claus’s arrival, and of course, Santa Claus himself. Think about the presents. Presents can be quite simply a symbol of giving, or a reminder that there are people out there who do love us.
But amidst all this, don’t forget to think about the first Christmas, and the birth of Jesus – the true meaning of Christmas.
If you put all this together, you have the spirit of Christmas. Reflect on this enough, and an idea of a Christmas story should come to you. I already have an idea I’m working on for next year!
So Christmas stories are really about the spirit, and not just it being Christmastime. But the Christmas setting is still important. It’s very difficult to find the spirit of Christmas in a story unless you know to look for it.
The story of “It’s a Wonderful Life” would still be a very good story if it was not set around Christmastime, but you would not draw that association between the themes in it and the spirit of Christmas without that setting.
And so, enjoy this most wonderful time of the year. This is White Rakogis saying Merry Christmas to you!