It's time for our fourth Christmas story by Stephen Leacock. Tonight's tale contemplates what now seems the comparatively innocent consumerism of eight decades ago:
Of all the side issues and extras that go with Christmas and make it what it is, there isn't one that for warmth and character is in it with Christmas shopping! The pleasure of anticipation, that warm glow about the heart, eh! That joy in generous giving far ahead of getting anything for yourself. That's you, isn't it? Yes, I'm sure it is.
And, of course, as we all know, the anticipation of pleasure has in it a higher quality, in reality, than the pleasure itself. Packing a picnic lunch is better than a picnic, getting fishing tackle together is better than fishing, and looking over a travel folder called Five Days in Sunny Jamaica is better than living there.
So, come on out into the street in our imagination and let's go Christmas shopping...
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Christmas Shopping simply by clicking here and logging-in. Our first three Stephen Leacock Yuletide yarns can be found here - and a cavalcade of Christmas tales by everyone from Dickens to Steyn is awaiting you here.
Thank you for all your kind comments about our Christmas season of Tales for Our Time. Wanda Sherratt, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes of our first yarn:
Thanks so much for this Leacock story, which was entirely new to me! It's very appropriate too, coming after The Mysterious Affair at Styles, because during the war, Leacock did lecture tours to raise money for a charity to help Belgian refugees, and that's how we're first introduced to Hercule Poirot - as a refugee living in England on the kind charity of Mrs. Inglethorpe.
Alas, my careless aside that Leacock, a loyal and enthusiastic imperialist, is these days too forgotten to get canceled is proving not to be true. Wanda continues:
Alas, your suggestion that the disgusting modern world might consider Leacock too obscure to molest is not to be. I just read that McGill University is erasing his name from the building named after him: the Leacock Building is to be renovated and renamed the Rimer Building, after the big-bucks bond dealer who's donating the cash. The university claims that the annual Leacock Lecture will retain his name, but I don't expect that will last much longer. And they may have bigger problems on their hands soon, as there are calls to remove the name of James McGill himself from the joint.
Nicola Timmerman, an Ontario Steyn Clubber, adds:
I gather the Leacock Prize people are having money troubles. Too bad because some of their earlier prize winners like Dan Needles for one of his Wingfield Farm sagas about a stockbroker turned Ontario farmer (Axe and Flask) was quite good although it is true his later plays were woke featuring environmental messages about nuclear waste, etc.
Thanks for the Christmas story and the Serenade featured 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'!
You may be right about earlier winners, Nicola, but these days it's just awful and formulaic.