'A Christmas Dream and How it Came True' by Louisa M. Alcott
Short Story (c.1880)
A rich little girl who is bored of Christmas rediscovers the magic in it when she finds its true meaning.
I particularly wanted this story to come straight after A Christmas Carol, because the little heroine Effie actually reads the story on the advice of her mother, and so it inspires the events of the story. It's disappointing that Alcott thinks it was all Scrooge's dream, though not surprising when you think of her religious views; even so, she was a great admirer of Dickens, and here she shows how a little girl becomes a better person after reading one of his books. His influence is clear, while Alcott maintains her own charming style, which altogether makes for an interesting, enjoyable and moral tale.
' "Why, Effie, what a dreadful thing to say! You are as bad as old Scrooge; and I'm afraid something will happen to you, as it did to him, if you don't care for dear Christmas," answered mamma, almost dropping the silver horn she was filling with delicious candies.'
Louisa M. Alott, 'A Christmas Dream and How it Came True', Rosemary Gray (ed.), 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Other Christmas Stories (Wordsworth, 2010), p.25.