Merry Christmas, y'all When holiday madness limits the time you have to indulge in fine literature, don't fret. Southern Christmas: Literary Classics of the Holidays, edited by Judy Long and Thomas Payton, is a compilation of 28 short works from some of America's finest authors. A mix of fiction, poetry, and memoir of the Yuletide, this anthology, spanning 150 years of writing, reveals the diversity of experience and perspective among Southerners. Some of the talent contributing to the picturesque descriptions include Mark Twain, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Alex Haley. Each provides vivid characters and slice-of-life narratives that prove the best gifts come in little packages. Even Scrooge would have to smile at Merry Christmas You-All, poet Ogden Nash's playful wink to those Christmas card artists who apparently don't understand that the joyful season need not have snow. His last line could be this collection's final word: So cross the Mason-Dixon Line and be my Christmas Valentine.

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