A Christmas Story! Dec Reminder Post • Willa Cather Short Story Project

We’re shaking up the order of our reading again this month. “The Burglar’s Christmas” was on the schedule to read this spring, but since it is a Christmas story, I thought it would be enjoyable to read in December.

For those of you who do not like to read digitally, Bison Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press, recently put out a new standalone edition of “The Burglar’s Christmas.” It is 24 pages with one illustration.

Here’s a link to Bison Books. You can also purchase a copy from the National Willa Cather Center here, which is where I ordered my copy — and a few other things, because all of their books & gifts are 15% off through Dec 10th.

Here’s the link to read it digitally and free, courtesy of the Willa Cather Archive: https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss031

Also, yesterday, December 7th, was Cather’s birthday. Happy 148th Birthday, Willa!

About “The Burglar’s Christmas”

Like last month’s story, “The Princess Baladina – Her Adventure,” Cather wrote this story for The Home Monthly and used the pseudonym Elizabeth L. Seymour. It was published in December 1896.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

The Burglar’s Christmas was originally published near the beginning of Willa Cather’s writing career in 1896 under the pseudonym of Elizabeth L. Seymour. The story follows William Crawford on the cold streets of Chicago as he contemplates the multiple failures plaguing his life, including his time at college and careers in journalism, real estate, and performing. Distraught, he tries one more role: thief. Attempting to burgle a residence and caught in the act by the lady of the house, William must come to terms with the choices that led him to that moment. Cather provides a heartwarming short story of redemption and love at Christmas, a timely reminder that kindness is in everyone, just waiting to be uncovered.


I’ve never been drawn to reading holiday themed stories, but am obviously going to give this one a go.

What’s next?

Read “The Burglar’s Christmas” sometime this month and then come back to discuss it on the response post I’ll share on December 24th, the fourth Wednesday of the month. Or, feel free to read it now and comment here if you can’t wait until then!

New to this blog? Learn more about the Willa Cather Short Story Project here. In a nutshell, we’re reading one Cather short story a month. I remind everyone of what story we’re reading on the second Wednesday of the month and then share a response on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Jump in anytime!

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