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“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

“It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

“We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner.

~From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott~

LIttle Women Christmas Gifts for Girls

One of my favorite stories to read and watch at Christmas time is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Though technically not a Christmas novel, this story of four sisters growing up in 1860s New England begins at Christmas and features some pretty great Christmases over their years together.

As one of four sisters myself, I instantly fell in love with a story of sisters growing up together & navigating life—through sunshine & tea parties, harsh poverty, unrequited love, youthful follies, teen adventures, heartaches & disappointments, deaths, careers, marriages, babies, sorrows & joys.

I love how the book begins with Marmee giving each girl a copy of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress for Christmas—they’re too poor that year for anything else.

The girls read the book together and attempt to follow its lessons.

In part one, many of the chapter titles even refer to Bunyan’s book.

I also appreciate the types of relationships on display in the story—

  • Friendships between neighbors, buddies, and BFFs
  • Unrequited love
  • Those who have loved and lost
  • Old, settled married love
  • Sweet, young love
  • Love and respect for elders
  • Sacrificial love for the poor and needy among us

Of course, at the center of the story is the relationship among sisters and all that goes with it—the confidences, fights, sighs, tears, laughs, scrapes, adventures, and love.

And I’m sure that all of us who read the book as young girls spent time pondering the question: Which sister am I?

Now looking back at the story, I’d say that . . . 

Too often I’m shallow like Amy was, without being beautiful.

I have some of Jo’s impulsiveness & sense of adventure and too much of her temper.

I think at this age, I can finally say that I’m as responsible as Meg.

And I’m still wishing to be as gentle, kind, and giving as Beth.

How ’bout you? Have you read the book? Which sister are you?

If you don’t have time to re-read Little Women this Christmas Season—or have never read it—I’ve compiled some of my favorite quotes here for you to enjoy.

(Feel free to share—tweet, pin, download, etc.)

I hope they remind you of the simpler times and sweet memories of Christmases gone by.

Little Women Louisa May Alcott

 

Little women valley of the shadow

Little Women Christmas nostalgia

Little Women Beth Jo Amy MegLIttle Women Jo amy meg bethLittle Women

Follow the links below to access whatever version of Little Women you might need or enjoy. These make great gifts! 

little women pilgrim's progress

Thanks for stopping by today, sisters & storylovers! Blessings, friends!

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Continue Reading…

Reality shows have taken our culture by storm. Probably all of us have whiled away an hour or two watching a real life person cook a meal, decorate a room, compete in a talent contest, raise a family, or plan a wedding. The other day, I even watched a young woman have a baby. (It was tastefully filmed, of course!)

In the first chapter of The Chocolate Diaries, Karen Scalf Linamen compares life to a popular reality show. Here’s what she says . . .

“Unfortunately, when I watch the Food Network, the programs that seem to best represent my life are part of a series called Chopped. In every episode up-and-coming chefs compete for ten thousand dollars by whipping up extravagant dishes in thirty minutes or less. The timer starts as each chef is given a basket containing three or four ingredients that must be included in the dish.

I’m not talking about flour, sugar, and eggs. These chefs have to create dishes using zany combinations such as . . .

  • Oranges, grapefruit, and bacon!
  • Or apples, shrimp, and peanut butter.
  • My favorite episode is the one where the chefs are asked to create an appetizer with chocolate and sardines. A tasty chocolate-and-fish appetizer. You should see the looks on their faces.

And then the timer starts.

Now that’s real life.

After all, you and I are given a limited amount of time on earth. (Sure, it’s longer than thirty minutes, although we’re never sure how much longer. Thirty years? Sixty? Ninety?) Then we’re given a variety of zany ingredients with which to make something of our lives. Inevitably, some of the ingredients are things we don’t want and may not even know how to handle.

Just yesterday a woman was telling me about her pending divorce. Through tears she said, ‘It’s not what I thought I’d have to deal with in my life.’ I’ve had that same feeling. My guess is that you have, too.

As we stare into the kitchens of our lives, we see all sorts of ingredients we didn’t ask for . . . We can even become convinced the we’ve been given such bitter ingredients that nothing can ever make our lives sweet again.

After all, it’s hard to imagine even a skillful chef making something palatable out of a childhood hurt, a mistake from long ago, baggage from a difficult marriage, or lingering disappointment. But this philosophy suggest that the ingredients are more important than the life they produce. Don’t believe it!”

Back to me: I love reading stories of how God brought various fellow travelers through the tough times in their lives and met some amazing people through Karen’s book. Their personal testimonies bolstered my strength and renewed my hope. Some of the anecdotes Karen shares made me laugh out loud—which is an effective joy-inducer. I learned from the many practical suggestions about how to handle day-to-day stresses or make life fun no matter what our circumstances may be. And I especially loved the Chocolatherapy generously sprinkled throughout the pages, including yummy recipes like Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches (featuring heavy cream) and Microwave S’mores.

If you know someone who needs encouragement, this little book  would make a great gift! I’d feature it in a basket with some special kinds of chocolate or with the ingredients of one of the recipes. You can grab a copy at this link. ***Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing a copy for me to review. I already have plans to pass it on to a friend.

Giveaway: This is a September Giveaway Post. At the end of September, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. If you leave a comment on this post, I’ll enter you in the giveaway. If you rate my review, I’ll enter you twice!

Rate my review: I reviewed this story for the Blogging for Books Program. If you rate my review, it opens the way for me to choose another book and enters you in two giveaways. Rating is a two-step process. 1. Rate my review here.

2. Check your email account for a message from Blogging for Books and click their link to verify your email. 3. Let me know that you’ve verified your email, and I’ll enter you again in the giveaway or simply say, Thanks! 4. Also, if you rate my review, you’ll be entered in a giveaway by WaterBrook Multnomah. They’ll choose one person who rates my review to receive a copy of the book for themselves.

Before you go, check out my favorite recipe from the book . . .

Three-Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

1 large coffee mug
4 tbs. flour (not self-rising)
4 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. cocoa
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 tbs. milk (my sub strong coffee)
3 tbs. oil
2 tbs. choco chips
1 tbs. chopped pecans
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and  mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add chips, nuts, and vanilla, and mix again. Put mug in microwave and cook for 2 minutes. (Depending on strength of microwave, cook a little less or a little longer.)