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Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas! Stories to read by the Christmas Tree

December 24, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Merry Christmas! Stories to read by the Christmas tree (2015) Original French title: Joyeux Noël ! Histoires à lire au pied du sapin.

This year my seasonal Christmas read was Merry Christmas! Stories to read by the Christmas tree. It’s a slim book that belongs to the Folio 2€ collection, a series of paperback books published by Gallimard with a length and price constraint. They aren’t longer than 120 pages and they cost 2€. I’ve bought several titles from this collection, I find it a good way to discover new writers.

This Joyeux Noël! opus is divided into three sections, Christmas Eve, Christmas day and a memory of Christmas past. Each part opens with a poem and continues with short stories from various authors.

I have to confess that I skipped A Christmas Tree by Dickens (1850) because of the lengthy description of a Christmas tree. There was no breather in the text, barely a paragraph here and there. I enjoyed Les fées by Sylvain Tesson (The Fairies), a short story set in Brittany and about a man whose views on the existence of fairies will be changed during a Christmas night.

Pat Hobby’s Christmas Wish by F-S. Fitzgerald (1940) is one of the Pat Hobby short stories that Fitzgerald wrote for Esquire in 1940-1941. In this one, Pat Hobby, a lowly screenwriter in Hollywood tries to blackmail his producer…As always Fitzgerald’s chiseled irony is a gem.

Our Christmas tour takes us to Russia with a poignant tale by Anton Chekov. Aging illiterate parents decide to ask someone in their village to send a letter to their estranged daughter who left to Petersburg with her husband. Then we’re back in France with Marcel Aymé who brought some magic in military barracks during Christmas night. Then Maupassant tells us a story of possession and exorcism that I didn’t enjoy despite his flawless prose.

My favorite one is A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. We’re somewhere in the South of the United States in the 1930s. Buddy is seven and his parents don’t know how to relate to him and entertain him. He has a special friend for that, though. She’s a distant cousin who’s in her sixties. She and Buddy prepare Christmas together, scrapping money to make cakes for friends and people they admire (They always send one to Eleanor Roosevelt), decorating a Christmas tree with home-made decorations and making each other a kite as Christmas present. It’s the lovely story of the strong bond between a little boy and an older woman, someone who brings him the affection he needs. To know more about Truman Capote’s Christmas story, have a look at Ali’s post here.

This little book helped me transition from fast-paced work days to this festive time of year. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you’ll have a good time with friends and family, that you’re doing well and enjoying the holidays.


  1. December 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Lovely post, some stories there I don’t know. I must get hold of that F Scott Fitzgerald story.


    • December 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Fitzgerald was a wonderful author of short stories.


  2. December 24, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Joyeux noel to you too, Emma. And bonne année.


    • December 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you. Merry Christmas to you too.


  3. December 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I’m currently reading a short story collection: A very French Christmas., I skipped a couple of the stories because they are religious, but there are some good ones too that have a bit more of a non traditional twist on things.
    Have a great holiday.


    • December 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      Merry Christmas to you too.
      Looking forward to reading about these French short stories.


  4. December 24, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Joyeux Noel! Que vos voeux les plus chers soient exaucés!


    • December 25, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Merci beaucoup.
      Joyeux Noël également.


  5. Aman Thakur
    December 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm



    • December 27, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Thank you and welcome to Book Around the Corner


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