This story was first published in 1962. I wonder what Tove Jannson would make of Christmas today. Many folk absolutely love this time of year and all the busyness that goes with it. Present buying is a wonderful chance to show love and appreciation for those around us. Those who love to cook are trying out recipes and will have already sorted out their puddings and Christmas cakes. For many, decorating the home and the tree is a big part of Christmas family ritual. Yet the overwhelming message that the Moomins receive is that Christmas is a monster which needs to be fed and placated. Perhaps it is worth taking time to reflect on we think of all the preparation for Christmas. Which bits speak to us of hope, peace, joy and love? Which are the parts that make us feel that Christmas is some kind of frightening guest?
And what is the end of the story? The Moomins wait in the cold and dark for Christmas to appear. In the darkness, some very tiny creatures, woodys, start to appear – ‘small and grey and miserable and frozen’, drawn by the candlelight around the tree. They gaze in wonder at the tree and the food and the presents, as they have never had a Christmas of their own. The Moomins decide to risk the anger of Christmas and invite the woodys to have the presents and food and the tree. The Moomins go back to their slumbers and leave their little guests to enjoy all that they have prepared for Christmas. Perhaps they have understood the true meaning of Christmas after all.