A Louisa May Alcott Christmas: “The Little Red Purse”

I love reading Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas stories as they embody the Christmas spirit. Writing in the style of her time (19th century stories teaching moral lessons, known as didactic stories), Louisa’s stories not only taught children the meaning of giving but gave the poor a name and a story. The rich were not demonized and the poor were elevated. Louisa’s idea of Christian charity was eminently practical, showing resourcefulness and creative thinking on the part of her characters both young and old.


Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

From the Christmas Tales and Stories collection (Laura Ciolkowski, editor) comes a sweet, albeit typical offering from Louisa May Alcott known as “The Little Red Purse.”

red purse

Even though the essence of the story is very familiar (rich little girl learns how good it is to give to the poor), Louisa always manages to insert something that raises the story above the mundane.

The burning question

My first thought going into the story was, “How long will it be before Lu, the little girl who owns the little red purse, either loses it, ruins it, or gives it away?” You’ll have to read the story to find out if that happens or not. It kept me guessing right up to the last minute.

Lu’s weaknesses

Lu is ten and loves candy. She receives an allowance each week and often spends it on candy and usually makes herself sick. But she has…

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