Some books are Christmas themed, with the celebration of the holiday foremost in the plot. Then there are other stories in which the holiday plays a brief role, just as a small part of the characters' lives. One of my favorites in this second category is Lousia May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN.
The book actually starts with the March family Christmas and gives us an up-close peek at how it was kept in the 1860's. The family has suffered an economic downturn (though when I first read this book as a child I wondered how they could consider themselves poor and yet have a servant in their kitchen) but the first thing Jo and her sisters decide to do is give up their Christmas breakfast to an even poorer German family.
This is a brilliant literary device. One of the first tasks of an author is to create a sympathetic protagonist. We immediately are shown that the March sisters are good-hearted, generous and don't feel themselves ill-used because they skipped a meal for someone else's benefit.
We like them. A lot.
Christmas is often used to show the passage of time. Even Harry Potter and his friends exchange gifts and Christmas wishes.
Can you think of other books in which Christmas occurs in passing?
PS. I'm still guesting over at Chicks of Characterization. Today the gals are going to post some reviews of A CHRISTMAS BALL. While I appreciate every single review, the ones from readers mean so much to me. If you've read A CHRISTMAS BALL and would like to share, I'd sure appreciate a comment left over there too!