"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 atall," added little Amy, with an injured sniff."We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, butdarkened again as Jo said sadly, "We haven't got Father, and shall not have him for a long time."She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where thefighting was.Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason Motherproposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter foreveryone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are sufferingso in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly.But I am afraid I don't," and Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the prettythings she wanted.
Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) spent her childhood in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts. Influenced by her transcendentalist father's friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Alcott began writing at an early age as she sought a way to help her impoverished family. A feminist, abolitionist, and accomplished novelist with fifteen titles and numerous short stories to her name, Alcott is best known for her timeless classic Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys.