Great Christmas Stories Starting In The 1800s

Every Christmas, you’re going to want to read All Is Calm, a wonderful collection of Christmas stories starting in the 1800s. Shannon Butler did a great job finding and publishing these Christmas stories.

Shannon must have done a lot of research to find these great stories and there’s a list in the back of the book of individuals and groups that helped her. The stories range from Christmas in a lumber camp to Christmas in a one room school and even tells the story of the time Maine sent President Roosevelt a Christmas tree for the White House. But it’s the family stories I liked the best, and there are lots of them.

I especially enjoyed Dean Lunt’s story of Christmas on the remote Maine Island of Frenchboro. Dean is the owner of Islandport Press which published this book and where Shannon is the office manager.

My wife Linda and I attended Frenchboro’s lobster festival one year with Dean, who grew up there. We hiked the beautiful island and Dean drove us around the village which did not take long because their entire road is only 1 mile long. Dean’s story of Christmas on the island, when he was a kid, is very special.

This book includes stories by some of my favorite Maine authors including John Cole and Bill Caldwell, whose tree ornaments had been in his family for 150 years.

As you might expect, Christmas has changed over the years, but there are still aspects of Christmas that have always been important, including attending church and delighting kids with a visit from Santa Claus. I really loved the story of the young boy who spent years hoping for a tricycle.

Did you know that in 1659 Massachusetts Bay colony banned Christmas? Thank goodness that did not last!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.