A Christmas Carol – written to pay off a debt, it sold 6,000 copies in the first week, and was hugely influential. Dickens is to blame for it all, the whole lot, turkey, relatives, spending more than you can afford on presents, it’s all his fault. Bah! Humbug! N.B. The Ghost of Christmas Present, who much resembles Father Christmas, wears green, and favours a bare chest. Chilly.
Emma - the terrific scene where she is confined in a coach on a snowy Christmas Eve with Mr Elton. Mistakenly thinking her in love with him, he proposes; then gets huffy when refused, and never forgives her. He and the vulgar new wife he petulantly acquires are Emma's enemies thenceforth.
Little Women – those pesky small females again – ‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents’. 'It's so dreadful to be poor,' (how true). But they discovered they could still be happy! And Jo made money from her stories… Those were the days.
Harry Potter - Harry getting dreadful Dursley presents – a single tissue – and a jumper from Ron’s mum, and having a great time with Ron and Hermione.
The Bachelor – Stella Gibbons wrote half a dozen novels as good as Cold Comfort Farm, the only one in print today. There's a lovely description of a wartime Christmas, capturing all the undercurrents of the characters' hopes and desires. 'Kenneth began to give out the presents and cries of "Just what I wanted!" began to sound in all their falseness upon the festal air.'
Courtesy of Lorraine: a Christmas song.