Welcome back to another day of Blogmas Advent Calendar fun.

As we speak my car is warming up so I can make the perilous trek to the mall in order to pick up the last few Christmas presents still haunting my dreams.

Wish me luck friends, and enjoy my thoughts and opinions on the short story that is day twenty-two.

DAY 22: 

The Christmas Banquet by Nathaniel Hawthorne

First Appeared: Mosses From an Old Manse (1864)

Print Length: 24 pages

The Review

My first thought upon reading The Christmas Banquet was whether or not Hawthorne’s thesaurus got a workout while he wrote his anti-Christmas Carol story.

The Christmas Banquet tells the story of how, every year, the ten most miserable people in the town, that narrator Roderick speaks of, are invited to a Christmas banquet in order to both share their misery and come to an understanding that their brief afflictions will inevitably pass.

As this short story is told over several Christmas seasons, there is only one character that is shown through out, Gervayse Gastings. He was really a grumpy old bloke. One who, even though he had everything that a person hopes and dreams for, chooses to wallow in his misery.

I rather enjoyed reading a Christmas story that didn’t gloss over the fact that the holidays are not always jolly for everyone. But, even with the negative, I think Hawthorne was able to create an expert balance of going through the years and showing his readers that life’s hardships can get better if you only want to change.

However, I felt the inclusion of the skeleton bit, while it does work in say A Nightmare Before Christmas, to be a little strange. I understood what it was suppose to represent but when reading felt as if it made me picture something besides what Hawthorne was trying to get at.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

_ _ _

Purchase Links for Short Story Advent Calendar

Hingston and Olsen 


One Comment

  1. midnightamythest

    I had so many issues reading this story, I probably should have pulled out a dictionary or something. It took me forever to read this because I had to re-read sentences numerous times to make sure I understood what was being said. Granted I didn’t get a ton of sleep last night, but still, it was tough.
    I felt the premise of the story was interesting, I liked the idea of gathering the most miserable people together for the holidays, letting them speak of their misery to show the others that there is a lot of hardship out there, that you are not alone and it will hopefully pass in time.
    I definitely didn’t understand Gervayse Hastings woes until reading your review. I guess I just completely missed the fact that he actually felt miserable, I just kept expecting some revelation, like perhaps he was a relative of the man whose money was funding the parties and Gervayse had to attend in homage and remembrance to him, or maybe it was his job to record and understand the woes of the world, or (before it continued years past the first party) he had some terrible affliction that I thought would kill him within days.
    I guess I was just caught up in some big conspiracy that I didn’t notice the subtle keys to what his misery was.
    Not a terrible story, the low rating is for my issues with trying to read and understand it.
    2.5 stars.


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