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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Christmas Should Also Include the Public Domain

Is it Christmas yet?


I'm already getting excited!  My Victorian Christmas with the Hired Girl program is already starting to get booked and, while reviewing what I want to do, I found a great outlet for Public Domain stories of the period.


My Merry Christmas has been around for well over a decade.  It began online in 1999, with an offline tracing of Santa by fax machine dating even earlier to 1991.  With such a long history it has become a large source of Christmas resources I'm just beginning to discover.  Lover of old stories that I am and, searching for Victorian stories in particular, I came to it when trying to find an online copy of "Christmas Every Day."  It's there and is a great old story from 1892 by W.D. Howells.  While there I discovered lots of Christmas forums (that part started in 2004), an e-newsletter, a year-round Christmas radio station and enough resources to make you think Santa left his bag of presents there just for you!  It's definitely more than just looking at the Victorian era, but if you go to their sidebar you'll find it has a library.  I've already posted three Public Domain stories.  I've long loved telling Helen Hunt Jackson's unusual memory of "A Christmas Tree for Cats", so that was the first thing I posted.  There's a sidebar that says Christmas Library, but like everything on the site, it overflows with way more than you would expect.  This link gets you directly to the list of posts in The Christmas Library at My Merry Christmas.  It won't be just stories, or even the poetry and Christmas items from the beloved old magazine, "St. Nicholas."  Like everything about MMC, you will find much more.  There's even a legend  touching Michigan, the wreck of The Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons. On November 22, 1912 it went down with all on board and almost 5000 Christmas trees on Lake Michigan, en route from Michigan to Chicago.  As you can tell, I think this is a great spot for story lovers, so I plan to add other Christmas Public Domain stories there.  When I mentioned adding three stories, the third is actually a poem as I couldn't wait to add a spooky ballad I love to tell as a story, The Mistletoe Bough.  Remember Christmas tradition also includes "scary ghost stories" along with the necessary reminder of "Christmases long, long ago", and definitely including the first Christmas.

 By the way, My Merry Christmas obviously has its focus on Christmas, but it's also done some expanding into other holidays.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and other holidays are worth checking there, too.

This isn't one of my usual Keeping the Public in Public Domain posts.  As I said in my updated explanation of that series, I'm interrupting the current flow of stories.  Next I definitely will look at giving even more Victorian Christmas resources.  If you scan down the sidebar here you can click on Victorian Christmas to find my first article from back in 2010, "Queen Victoria Still Reigns!"  That's still worth checking out for Victorian Christmas, but I'm eager to add so much more I've found on the topic.
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