Have yourself a Merry Little Women Christmas with this guide to celebrating the holidays like the March sisters and their mother did during the Civil War in America, including what to read, watch, eat, and do.
You probably already know that Little Women is the beloved classic book about the creative and adventurous childhood of the four different March sisters: Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy, and their mother Marmee. The Marches come of age in Massachusetts during the Civil War, and particularly their friendship with a local boy named Laurie, while also anticipating their father's homecoming.
It's a very easily readable classic for kids and adults alike, and it's one of my favorite books of all time.
(Read my full review of the Little Women book.)
And since scenes of an old-fashioned New England Christmas feature prominently and memorably in Little Women, true fans will surely want to follow this guide to having a Little Women Christmas of your own, filled with the traditional warmth and simple joys author Louisa May Alcott created, inspiring generation of holiday readers.
How to Have a Merry Little Women Christmas
Read and/or Gift the Little Women Book
“Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.
"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.
"We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.”
(Read more quotes from Little Women.)
There are so many editions of the Little Women book to read and/or gift, but this Puffin in Bloom deluxe hardcover edition of Little Women is the one I personally own and it is my absolute favorite. It features a stunning cover illustration by Anna Bond, the artist behind Rifle Paper Co. and looks perfect on a bookshelf.
- Louisa May Alcott's Christmas short stories or other traditional Christmas short stories
- Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott
- Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott
- Meg & Jo (modern fiction inspired by these two March sisters)
- Beth & Amy (another modern fiction book inspired by the two other March sisters)
And be sure to mark your page with these printable Little Women holiday bookmarks!
Watch a Little Women Movie Adaptation
[Jo] woke Meg with a "Merry Christmas," and bade her see what was under her pillow. A green–covered book appeared, with the same picture inside, and a few words written by their mother, which made their one present very precious in their eyes.
There's no time like the holiday season to watch the many festive Christmas scenes of Little Women.
The most recent 2019 adaptation with Laura Dern and Emma Watson is my absolute favorite version to watch. It's actually my favorite book-to-film adaptation ever, and I think it's simply breathtaking from start to finish.
Get started with the below scene from the 2019 adaptation, in which the March Sisters give Christmas breakfast to the Hummel family, then discover a Christmas miracle of their own when they return home to a scrumptious feast:
I know so many people also adore (and even prefer) the 1994 adaption with Claire Danes and Wynona Rider. I love it too, especially Christian Bale as Laurie. This particular scene shows a beautiful Christmas gift of music to an ailing Beth:
If you can't decide or want to compare the two, you can also buy this set of both Little Women film adaptations!
Eat a Little Women Inspired Christmas Meal
And when they went away, leaving comfort behind, I think there were not in all the city four merrier people than the hungry little girls who gave away their breakfasts and contented themselves with bread and milk on Christmas morning.
It wouldn't be a Little Women Christmas without a feast like the surprise Christmas meal the girls surprisingly received from Mr. Laurence after charitably donating their own breakfasts to a needy family.
You can make Amy's Christmas Day muffins with The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family.
The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends also contains several recipes for the Christmas supper from Mr. Laurence: pink ice cream, white ice cream, fine cake, and French bonbons. And it has three recipes for the Marches miracle Christmas dinner: turkey, plum pudding, and cranberry jelly.
Decorate Your Home with Festive Items
Not a very splendid show, but there was a great deal of love done up in the few little bundles, and the tall vase of red roses, white chrysanthemums, and trailing vines, which stood in the middle, gave quite an elegant air to the table.
You can also hang an art print of the Little Women home (Orchard House) at Christmastime.
Or, burn a real candle inspired by Little Women, with your choice of scents like "comforting spice" for the holidays.
Do Something Charitable and/or Artistic
The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.
On cold and snowy days like Christmas in New England, the March sisters always came up with creative ways to celebrate and relax indoors, like putting on theatrical shows.
Below are a few more things you can do at home to pass the time during your own Little Women Christmas:
- Give a Little Women themed gift or a Little Women inspired gift, like the gifts the March sisters gave Marmee on the first Little Women Christmas (gloves, Army shoes, handkerchiefs, and a little bottle of cologne).
- Explore Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, where she grew up and wrote the book, online.
- Color in a Little Women coloring book (perhaps with the drawing pencils Amy once wished for on Christmas).
- Play with Little Women paper dolls.
- Take the quiz, Which Little Women sister are you?
- Write a letter to a loved one on a greeting card featuring the Orchard House at Christmas.
- Listen to Civil War era Christmas music on YouTube.
- Listen to this SSR Podcast episode about Little Women.
- Do something creative from the book Little Women Book: Games, Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Pleasures.
- Plan ahead for the new year with a Little Women calendar.
- Relax quietly by making a Little Women puzzle.
- Simply spend time with your family, like the Marches did.
So, have yourself a Merry Little Women Christmas now...