Little Women and Christmas

Dear reader, your mind might imagine snowflakes dancing in the air like little ballerinas, some mistletoe and Christmas songs. It is indeed a very beautiful picture to daydream about. After all, who doesn’t like a good Christmas story that brings about a sense of sheer joy and nostalgia, with all the lovely presents and holiday cheer?

Trini Alvarado as Meg, Winona Ryder as Jo, Claire Danes as Beth, Kirsten Dunst as Amy and Susan Sarandon as Marmee in the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women (source: wordpress)

Introducing the March family

Sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy could not be any more different when it comes to their personalities. Meg is the oldest. She can be painfully good and proper but only means well. Beth is the kind-hearted, sweet and gentle girl. Amy is the youngest. She can be rather bratty but fun-loving. The main character of the story, Jo is a tomboyish, bold and outspoken young lady. She dreams of becoming a famous writer someday.

When the classic titled Little Women was first published, it was an immediate hit, being inspired by the author’s real-life family. The heart-warming storyline captures the readers’ hearts.

Dear reader, perhaps you are now absolutely perplexed as to how Little Women ties to the idea of Christmas. Well, let’s push aside the surface-level idea of Christmas that most of us have. Allow the Christmas tree, the expensive presents and the blanket of white snow to fade away from your mind for just a moment, for the core of Christmas isn’t solely about winter or dazzling decorations. It’s about love, and that is exactly what Little Women is all about as well.

Mr. March surprising his family with a visit on Christmas Day after coming back from the war (source: the silver petticoat review)

The best gift around any Christmas tree is family

We often tend to get caught up with how horrendously busy and tiresome our lives can grow to become. Sometimes, dear reader, we may even grow cold or distant even to the ones we love without realising, only to have a moment of revelation later on that the people around us do have emotions and their own personal struggles too.

In fact, this mirrors the very scene in the book where after the girls’ mother leaves home to visit their father who had been wounded during the war, the sisters, all except for Beth, begin to neglect the duties their mother had given to them. They also grow withdrawn, each of them living within their own bubble and completely forgetting about the outside world, only to come together as one and learn their lesson in a rather horrible manner after Beth was at death’s door for having caught scarlet fever while delivering food to one of the poorer families nearby.

My point to you, dear reader, is that we must not be self-absorbed. Of course, I am not implying that you mustn’t put yourself first. I am just saying that we must not forget to think about others as well, just like how in the very first chapter of Little Women, the very first act of love can be seen occurring between the four sisters where rather than buying presents for themselves, they decide to combine the small amount of pocket money they have to buy a Christmas present for their mother, who had been working extremely hard in order to make ends meet since their father is away at war.

Another touching scene Alcott had beautifully written about is when a dear neighbour of the March family, Mr. Laurence, gives Beth his late granddaughter’s piano as a Christmas present towards the end of the book. Sometimes friends really do grow to be a part of the family, don’t they?

The four March sisters and Marmee reading their father’s letter (source: the new york times)

It’s not just about the holiday season

Dear reader, the holiday season may be a time for us all to come together. Do always remember that the act of being kind shouldn’t be reserved just for the holidays. This may sound awfully cheesy. But a friendly ‘good morning’ to a simple smile can cheer someone up. It may even brighten your day up too. It truly is a gratifying to put somebody else out of their misery.

Always remember to live a life full of light and love, and that it is not about giving lavish gifts to the people around you all the time. Instead, dear reader, as the memories of her family inspired Louisa May Alcott to write the marvellous classic book called Little Women, the important thing is about remembering those that love you and keeping them in your heart regardless of the time of the year.

Written by Nicole Lee Jiaqi