In my collection of short stories --Left by the Side of the Road -- there are very few references to Christmas. But an early selection revealed this snapshot of a Christmas a the turn of the century:
The family has been here for Christmas. Even Chase, dullard
that he usually is, seems to realize that Christmas is more
about family than anything else. They live their busy, arid lives
in Massachusetts, but they come home to Saco, Maine, when
they need a dose of warmth and Mama’s cooking. I love having
them here even as I despair at the emptiness of their lives.
Mainly that’s because of my little Ellen, who could brighten a
coal cellar with her smile and her giggles.
On Christmas night, she and I were curled up on the sofa
in front of the fireplace. The Christmas goose had been picked
down to the bones, the chestnut stuffing and roasted potatoes
had disappeared, and Chase and Mary had taken themselves off
to bed after a last cranberry cordial. But Ellen and I lingered on,
lazily cracking the last walnuts from her stocking and watching
the logs burn down to embers.
Even the cat, Gingersnap,had finally settled down. He had had a
busy day, full of ribbon chasing, goose scrap stealing, watching
the snowflakes pile upon the windowsill, and batting around the
occasional cranberry that fell to the floor. Now he is curled in front
of the fire, tail carefully wrapped around his nose and paws to keep himself
warm, dreaming of whatever a cat dreams of when his every
wish has been granted.