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Featuring stories and essays by both classic and contemporary regional...
Featuring stories and essays by both classic and contemporary regional authors, including Willa Cather, Hamlin Garland, Paul Engle, Constance Vogel, and Ted Kooser, Christmas on the Great Plains offers unique geographic, historical, and cultural perspectives on winter's holiday celebrations and traditions—from lutefisk and julebukking to sleighbells and twinkling lights—that will be appreciated by anyone who has braved the wintry plains.
The stories in this collection unwrap like so many holiday packages, revealing a varied assortment of gifts. Moments of communal beauty and happiness are common, as in Mary Swander's The Living Creche, where her friends reenact the nativity scene at Fairview School, or in Mari Sandoz's The Christmas of the Phonograph Records, where isolated homesteaders travel far to hear the sounds of their first phonograph. Yet as we all know, the reality of the season is not always magical. One person's Christmas joy is countered by another's annual depression, the latter reinforced by the bleak landscape of this harsh climate. As Jane Smiley says in Long Distance, a story about a disconnected man spending the holidays with a family whom he has not seen in years, "though he cannot bear to stay here after all, he cannot bear to go either."
A thought-provoking and inspiring antidote to the dark and icy days of December, Christmas on the Great Plains is a welcome reminder of the many connections we make with each other and the landscape during the Yuletide season.
|Journey into Christmas||1|
|The Christmas that would not stop||25|
|The living creche||41|
|The Christmas of the phonograph records||47|
|One Christmas in the darkness of the plains||73|
|Christmas letter, 1997||97|
|The Christmas offering||99|
|An Iowa Christmas||123|
|My first Christmas tree||141|
|What I took from Minnesota Christmases||145|
|The burglar's Christmas||173|