Looks like a #littlewomenchristmas is trending now, and I realized it only after I got the idea for and started writing this post so you can have yourself a Merry Little Women Christmas!! Well, that means, for once, I am actually writing on a trending topic…
I have been a Little Women fan/stan for what it seems like forever now, and I think I have seen all the versions of the book onscreen (some more than a few times). Don’t even ask me how many times I have read the book, or about how many retellings I have explored and read!! Well, I will be getting into the retellings part tomorrow and sharing some of my favorites with you..
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And today seemed to be an apt date for this post, considering Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832.
A Little Women Christmas
Every time I pick up my copy (one of my copies) of Little Women, I find myself lingering over the Christmasy scenes, and this was the case even when I was younger, and Christmas was a festival celebrated the way within the pages of this book elsewhere. While I know that this Victorian Christmas is not the norm, it certainly is something we should try to emulate – especially the focus on giving, family, and on homemade everything (decor, food, and entertainment) as seen in Little Women.
With retail stores wanting to get holiday sales ahead of time, we see Christmassy stuff in stores as early as September (at least that is what I recall from this year!!). And while I don’t mind finding a good deal at any time, I do want each festival to stay within its season, don’t you agree? It is almost as if global warming has not only impacted the weather patterns but also the festival patterns!!
But back to Little Women. I love how the book opens and closes with Christmas, and we see both change and consistency in the two Christmases. In the first, the girls give up their dreams and breakfast, while in the second, their dreams are fulfilled and their dinner table is heaped with food. But in both, their utmost happiness and joy for the season lies in their family!
Anyway, here are tips and tricks and trends on how you can
Have Yourself a Merry Little Women Christmas
With Homemade Decor
Create handmade decorations, just like the March sisters would have done. Consider crafting paper chains, ornaments, and wreaths. And 👍🏻, those trending dried orange chains too. They look pretty and will have your home smelling amazing!
For the paper chains that you can glimpse on the tree in the Little Women Merry Christmas video above, you can make it easily with just a few strips of different colored paper and some glue. Here is a video I found online that shows you how to very simply! You can also use old music notation pages to make the chains like she does in this video…
In a Cozy and Warm Ambience
As young readers like to know ‘how people look’, we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it. – Chapter 1: Playing Pilgrims
Keep the ambience simple and cozy, with neutral and warm colors. You can do so by adding pillows and blankets with colors to inspire that cozy feel. Add some flowers, pinecones, and candles around the home to add to that cuddly coziness.
Just adding one single candle changes the atmosphere instantly for us in our home, so we have made it a point to light at least one candle on our dinner table each night as we enjoy a relaxed dinner with family. And we also light one or more later in the evening as we wind down. Our choice of candles varies though based on our mood; sometimes
- plain tapered unscented candles
- other times, tapered candles in seasonal colors(like red & green now)
- yet others, it is the simple tea light candle we love
- and then there are the scented candles.. (my daughter has so many of these that her room is well, a scentorium!)
As for myself, I get a few of these sets of scented candle tins that make for great little gifts to add in gift baskets too.
By Playing Parlor Games
They had a merry time over the bonbons and mottoes, and were in the midst of a quiet game of Buzz, with two or three other young people who had strayed in, when Hannah appeared. (Chapter 3: The Laurence Boy)
Note: “Mottoes” here likely refers to small pieces of paper or cards with inscriptions or sayings that were often included with candies during the 19th century. These mottoes might have had inspirational or sentimental messages, adding an extra touch of charm to the treats.
I grew up playing many parlor games like a few mentioned in Little Women, including a game called Buzz. From what I could gather from various sources, this Victorian parlor game is very similar to a game we played as children.
How to Play Buzz from Little Women
We used animal names often instead of ‘buzz’ and it went something like this:
Players pick a number whose multiples must be replaced by the word ‘buzz’ (or any other word of choice). And then start counting upwards from 1. So, if the chosen number is 7, then it would go like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, buzz, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, buzz… and so on.
You could make it harder by choosing two sets of multiples, for example, multiples of 3 and 7, and replace those with the words ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ respectively. And when a number is a multiple of both, like 21, then say -‘cat-dog’! So this would proceed thus: 1, 2, cat, 4, 5, cat, dog, 8, cat, 10, 11, cat, 13, dog, cat, 16, 17, cat, 19, 20, cat-dog, 22, 23, cat….
Modern Versions of Parlor Games Too
You can give this a slightly modern twist by playing modern versions of parlor games, aka, more popular board games you might already have or other cool ones you might end up gifting yourself this holiday season. Some of the ones I really love and want to have for myself include:
- Conversation Cards for Kids – 400 Fun Conversation Starters for Family Game Night or Dinner.
- As an Amazon Associate, I am also able to offer you a discount on this game – 20% off one deck of choice with 20PROMPTA (good till the New Year).
- Board Games from Op: Venn & Hues and Cues
- 10 Terrific Board Games for Book Lovers that are Perfect
- 13 Board Games For Those Days of Bored(om)
Making Homemade Treats Inspired by the Book
There was ice cream, actually two dishes of it, pink and white, and cake and fruit and distracting French bonbons and, in the middle of the table, four great bouquets of hot house flowers.
You can find references to gingerbread cookies, blanc mange, pink ice cream, plum pudding, muffins, buckwheat pancakes, and of course cake and bread in the book along with a few other items. So include those in your holiday menu in anyway you choose. And if you are looking for inspiration along with recipes, check out these books:
- The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends
- The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family (you can find my review for this one here)
Coming Up With the Entertainment Yourselves
Being still too young to go often to the theater, and not rich enough to afford any great outlay for private performances, the girls put their wits to work, and necessity being the mother of invention, made whatever they needed. Very clever were some of their productions, pasteboard guitars, antique lamps made of old-fashioned butter boats covered with silver paper, gorgeous robes of old cotton, glittering with tin spangles from a pickle factory, and armor covered with the same useful diamond shaped bits left in sheets when the lids of preserve pots were cut out. The big chamber was the scene of many innocent revels. – Chapter 2: A Merry Christmas
The March sisters, as you might remember from the book (or the movie(s)), were skilled in putting up theatrical performances. Jo wrote the plays, while everyone took up a role, and they had great fun in the end. So, like the sisters, you can come up with your own family play! Make a production of it even. Everyone can take a part in the storywriting and acting and every aspect of the play.
Of course, each sister had her own talent too, and it shone through across the pages of the book. Make the gathering an occasion to showcase your talents, whatever it be. Or have fun with a karaoke style party (you don’t even need to have mikes, just go online, find the songs needed and turn on the captions!).
Giving Gifts with Meaning
Now and then, in this workaday world, things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion, and what a comfort it is. Half an hour after everyone had said they were so happy they could only hold one drop more, the drop came. – Chapter 22: Pleasant Meadows
That ‘one drop more’ referred to in above line, of course, was Mr. March coming back home!! And this shows how much the Marches treadured family, and considered having their family as their biggest gift
As Jo says later in the book, “I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!” (Chapter 47)
“…the pretty gifts which came from friendly hands and were the fairer for the loving messages they brought.” – Chapter 24: Gossip
When gifts are given with thought to the recipient, and with a handwritten message added when possible, it makes all the difference. Even if the gift is a small one, like when Marmee gives each of the girls a copy of Pilgrims Progress with a handwritten note for each of them, and personalizing their books by covering them with different colored paper (their favorite colors).
If you want to give it a twist of sorts, you could try the “Secret Santa” tradition.
That was a very happy breakfast, though they didn’t get any of it. And when they went away, leaving comfort behind, I think there were not in all the city four merrier people than the hungry little girls who gave away their breakfasts and contented themselves with bread and milk on Christmas morning. – Chapter 2: A Merry Christmas
We see many acts of charity by the Marches, Mr. Laurence, Laurie, and other characters as well throughout the book. And in these little acts (and sometimes bigger ones) of kindness and goodheartedness lies the true spirit of humanity, and of every festivity.
We can do various charitable activities and/or kindnesses depending on our ability. Maybe, organize a donation drive with friends and family before the festival so the needy can benefit. I know many food banks and shelters are always looking for specific items during this time of the year, and we can reach out to local shelters to ask them what they need and work on acquiring them.
By Reading/Watching the Little Women!
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, hope you found inspiration from this post to have yourself a merry Little Women Christmas!! Do let me know what appealed to you the most, and do share your own ideas for a Little Women Christmas or any other festivities you plan to have!!