book cover of Happy Christmas
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Happy Christmas

(1953)
A collection of stories by

 
 
The Lawrences live a nice little privileged life with their two children, Bob (10) and Marigold (7). Mr. Lawrence brings home all the dollars while Mrs. Lawrence enjoys a leisurely position as lady of the house where much of her energy is applied toward improving her bridge game.

One year for the holidays, the government makes it mandatory for citizens to take in stranded, homeless refugees. The Lawrences take in a young Jewish couple. Some lowkey anti-Semitic motions / comments are made as the couple settles into the garage apartment, the only place Mrs. Lawrence had available, what with family coming in for holiday visits.

The backstory (the little we get of it) of the young Jewish couple has Nativity elements to it --- stranded in a foreign land, struggling to find accommodation, the wife heavily pregnant, etc. Near the end of this little story, the wife is rushed to the hospital and Mrs. Lawrence hangs back at home with the kids. Talk of the Nativity story gets going and little Marigold asks if Mary & Joseph were considered refugees. Mrs. Lawrence quickly reprimands her daughter for asking "silly questions", but it does leave the reader thinking.

I like where du Maurier was going with this but even for a short story it was way too rushed, to the point of leaving me wonder why we have a story at all. It's so short it's barely more than a vignette, really. But there's a seed of an idea here that could've been so moving for a Christmas story. Unfortunately, this feels like something she threw together and submitted in a hurry, maybe to get some extra holiday spending cash for herself lol.


Genre: General Fiction

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