I had this very edition of the Hans Christian Anderson tale, "The Little Match Girl," when I was young. The illustrations captivated me, while leaving me fairly ignorant of the horribleness of the story. Basically, a street "urchin" goes out on a cold winter day to sell matches to help support her family. Poorly dressed -- her slippers were too big and fell off, and her hand-me-down rags were no match for the biting cold and snow -- the LMG lights one of the precious matches for warmth. Her hypothermic hallucinations lead her to a wonderous holiday feast, and the LMG freezes to death under the illusion that her dear grandmother has come to take her somewhere where she'll be warm and well-fed.
What the hell kind of Christmas story is that?
Never mind -- there are plenty of political and religious entities today that want us to believe that sacrifice and suffering is the way to a glorious future. And the holiday season is an amalgam of Scroogery and commercial excess that leaves me feeling cold in spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures in my neck of the woods. But I have just 3 days to manufacture some Christmas spirit, so I'll be in the kitchen baking cookies and hoping that Santa gives all the naughty, naughty capitalists exactlly what they deserve this year.