Christmas Stories: Mr. Kris Kringle

December 20, 2009

I didn’t love Mr. Kris Kringle, but I really wished there was more of it.

It’s very basic: a mother and her two children are spending Christmas alone. Things are going badly for them financially, and they’re going to have to give up the house. The mother tells the kids that Santa will not be visiting this year. Then she sends them to bed and cries over the portrait of her estranged husband for a bit; she sent him away because he was an alcoholic.

The kids, Alice and Hugh, are woken up in the middle of the night by a guy outside their door. It is, of course, their father, but they think it’s Kris Kringle. He brings them presents, including a check and a letter for their mother, and tells them a simplified version of his story: stopped drinking, found a gold mine, etc. They tell the mom about it the following morning, and she and the husband are reconciled.

So, I don’t know. It wasn’t a particularly interesting story, and it was a very predictable one. But there were things I liked, naturalistic touches like the mother’s restless, frustrated mood swings, and little Hugh’s lisp. Really, though, I want there to be more about the parents. Mitchell (Silas Weir Mitchell, and important doctor as well as a writer) mostly focuses on the kids, but I wanted to hear more about how that mother kicked the father out, more about their financial troubles, and much, much more about the father’s eventual redemption. So: not a bad story, but sort of a dissatisfying one.

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