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A Christmas Memory

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“The mill owner's wife persists: 'A dollar, my foot! Fifty cents. That's my last offer. Goodness, woman, you can get another one.' In answer, my friend gently reflects: 'I doubt it. There's never two of anything.”

'A Christmas Memory' is a short story written by Truman Capote, first published in 1956. This much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Capote's rural Alabama boyhood has become a modern-day classic.

Seven-year-old Buddy knows that the Christmas season has arrived when his cousin, Miss Sook Falk exclaims: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd, but enduring, friendship between two innocent souls—one young and one old—and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.

Truman Capote (1924–1984) was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognized literary classics. His first novel, 'Other Voices, Other Rooms' (1948) stayed on the bestseller list for nine weeks. In the 1950s and 1960s, Capote remained prolific producing both fiction and non-fiction, such as the novella 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1958). His masterpiece, 'In Cold Blood' (1965), became a worldwide success, after which he published rarely and suffered from alcohol addiction. He died in 1984 at age 59. At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

48 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 1956

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About the author

Truman Capote

299 books6,113 followers
Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons and young Lillie Mae. His parents divorced when he was four and he went to live with his mother's relatives in Monroeville, Alabama. He was a lonely child who learned to read and write by himself before entering school. In 1933, he moved to New York City to live with his mother and her new husband, Joseph Capote, a Cuban-born businessman. Mr. Capote adopted Truman, legally changing his last name to Capote and enrolling him in private school. After graduating from high school in 1942, Truman Capote began his regular job as a copy boy at The New Yorker. During this time, he also began his career as a writer, publishing many short stories which introduced him into a circle of literary critics. His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, published in 1948, stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks and became controversial because of the photograph of Capote used to promote the novel, posing seductively and gazing into the camera.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Capote remained prolific producing both fiction and non-fiction. His masterpiece, In Cold Blood, a story about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, was published in 1966 in book form by Random House, became a worldwide success and brought Capote much praise from the literary community. After this success he published rarely and suffered from alcohol addiction. He died in 1984 at age 59.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,552 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,078 reviews59k followers
December 9, 2019
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote is a 1956 publication.

Lovely Christmas tale filled with humor and warm fondness!

Every year one of my friends on social media will write a review for this story, reminding me, once again, that I STILL haven't read it. By the time I make it to the library, the hold time for this popular classic goes well beyond the Christmas holidays- so I put it off for another year.

This year I got lucky and found a collection of short stories by Truman Capote, which also had the Thanksgiving story in it, which I’d been meaning to read forever, as well. Although, I think I read them out of order- I was thankful I finally got a chance to read these lovely holiday stories.

This is a super quick read, but the love that leaps from the pages is powerful and very touching. I’m not a fan of fruitcake, but I do remember my grandmother made several fruitcakes for Christmas every year and often gave them as gifts- so the book brought back a few fond memories of my own.
Capote’s autobiographical tale is humorous and heartfelt, and of course we all know he had a real knack for weaving a tale- even a short one.

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it! It’s a story anyone of any age can enjoy, but the older one gets, the more meaningful stories like this one are. No wonder this book is considered a holiday classic!
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,444 reviews7,062 followers
November 13, 2021
Published in 1956 by Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory is a beautifully written tale of love and friendship, that can be read and loved by all ages. It’s about the friendship of 7 year old Buddy, and his distant cousin Miss Sook, who is in her 60’s. They share a house together with numerous other relatives.
Every year on a morning in November, Miss Sook will announce "It's fruitcake weather! Fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat." And so begins their yearly ritual of gathering together windfall pecans and all the other numerous ingredients needed to bake 30 fruitcakes.
This is what Christmas should really be about. Just beautiful!

Profile Image for Angela M .
1,308 reviews2,191 followers
December 24, 2018
I never liked fruitcake, but after reading this beautifully written story, I love the idea of fruitcake. I love that it represents love and caring and the spirit of giving and tradition. My childhood Christmas memories are nothing like Truman Capote’s, but after I read this I couldn’t help but think of all of the Christmas Eves at my grandparents’ house with so many cousins and aunts and uncles. My mother was one of ten children so there was a crowd of us. My father and my uncles sitting at card tables playing pinochle and my mother and aunts and my grandmother in the kitchen. My grandfather drinking a tall glass of his own homemade wine sitting there with his legs crossed, smiling. Meanwhile all of us grandchildren sat at a long table playing bingo. There were so many of us that we never had enough bingo chips. Anyone from an Italian family knows what lupine beans are. We had to use the skins, of course after we ate the salty bean inside as chips. I know I’m digressing, but I imagine if you read this lovely story, it will stir your own memories of your childhood Christmases.
Profile Image for Candi.
622 reviews4,715 followers
December 20, 2018
"Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!"

This has to be one of the sweetest, most nostalgic of little stories I’ve ever read. I loved it! Seven-year-old Buddy and sixty-something Miss Sook are distant cousins and best friends. They share a house with one another, along with various other relatives, and have a precious bond due to the fact that Miss Sook, despite her age, is like a child herself. This story recounts one of Capote’s Christmas childhood memories of this unlikely friendship. Surely, we all have a memory or two of holidays long-gone that seem to endure more than others. Perhaps a certain tradition that we hold dear to our hearts is recollected when we catch a glimpse of something familiar, or hear a certain song, or maybe even smell a particular aroma of a savory or sweet treat baking in an oven. Buddy’s special Christmas memory captures the pleasure of preparing fruitcakes with Miss Sook, creating homemade gifts for one another, and sharing the companionship of a beloved dog. What I delighted in most about A Christmas Memory is that Capote tells the story in such a way that I feel like I’ve ‘been there, done that’ – although I’ve never in my life baked a fruitcake! I don’t even like fruitcake – perhaps because I’ve never tasted one made with such love (and just the right whiskey, to boot!). I might even go so far as to make one myself… or not! In any case, I highly recommend this little treasure to anyone that loves to reminisce about the good old days. I will make the reading of this short story an annual tradition in my house. A new 5-star favorite :)
Profile Image for ♡ ⊱ Sonja ⊰ ♡.
2,734 reviews449 followers
February 7, 2022
Buddy ist sechs Jahre alt und lebt in Alabama bei seinen Verwandten. Seine Eltern sind getrennt; er sieht beide nur selten. Über die Weihnachtstage soll er zu seinem Vater nach New Orleans reisen…
* Meine Meinung *
Dieses nur schmale Buch lässt sich sehr schnell lesen. Die Geschichte ist schnell erzählt und eigentlich nichts Besonderes. Dennoch hat sie mich berührt und es geschafft, einen bleibenden Eindruck bei mir zu hinterlassen.
Aus Sicht des sechsjährigen Jungen wird erzählt, wie er dieses ganz besondere Weihnachtsfest erlebt hat. Er hat endlich seinen Vater „kennengelernt“ und der Vater seinen Sohn.
Mir hat die Geschichte sehr gefallen, und ich werde sie bestimmt noch öfter lesen.
Profile Image for Lawyer.
384 reviews841 followers
November 23, 2014
Capote's Holiday Memoirs: The Whispers of Memory

Truman Capote's The Thanksgiving Visitor was chosen as a Moderator's Choice by Laura Webber, "The Tall Woman," as a read for the group On the Southern Literary Trail for November, 2014

These reflections have been written over the course of nearly three years. After my wife read these thoughts, she pointed out the importance of marking the time of thoughts in connection with the events of our lives.

December 24, 2011

Perhaps I should say this is not so much the review of a book, but the response A Christmas Memory still draws from me each year when I read it. Perhaps it is just a simple statement of the preciousness of memory and the gift it brings us to keep things alive within us, though those things have been gone from us for many years.

Things. Toys, books, friends, parents, lovers, spouses, children. What would we do without the gift of memory? How would we survive? Without it, we would be nothing but empty shells mindlessly living in the moment.

On an old revolving bookcase in my library are some of my favorite books. Faulkner and Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Steinbeck fill the little shelves that turn easily at the push of a finger. Eudora Welty is there, as is Flannery O'Conner, Carson McCullers and Thomas Wolfe. My beloved "To Kill a Mockingbird" rests underneath a miniature of the old Monroeville courthouse on a shelf up on the wall overlooking the little bookcase that holds the treasures of my imagination.

I glance up at it and back down to the little case that spins so easily. There is Erskine Caldwell. And there is Truman Capote. There is a copy of the complete short stories of the little man who spent his summers with Harper Lee in Monroeville when they were children.

Normally two slender volumes stand next to the Capote short stories . They are slipcased editions of "The Thanksgiving Visitor" and a "Christmas Memory." I have taken them to the bedside table because it is time to read them once more. The Holidays have begun. Thanksgiving has come and gone. I could re-shelve "The Thanksgiving Visitor, but I never do until I have read "A Christmas Memory" once more.

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Remembrance of Things Past

They are a matched set in more ways than one. "The Thanksgiving Visitor" is in a blue slipcase, "A Christmas Memory" is in red. Each has a photograph of a very young Truman Capote and his best childhood friend, Aunt Sook, tipped onto the case. The books slide easily from their cases for I have read them so many times. Each is a testament to the art of making books one does not often find anymore. The gold titles still gleam along the spines. Each page is on paper so thick I can feel the rag content between my fingers. There is still the faint smell of the typesetter's ink. Or is it only my imagination? Does it matter? The dark green endpapers turn stiffly at the insistence of my finger, reminding me something special is inside. And in each of them is the spidery Spenserian handwriting of my grandmother, "Xmas 1980, Ammomie and Papa."

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Evidence of love surrounds us

It is that inscription that urges me to take these little books out each year. For in addition to the joy and simple kindness of Capote's holiday memories are the memories of my own Thanksgivings and Christmases, some joyous and some not, especially those holidays without my grandparents, both of whom have been gone now over twenty years. Yet I still long for their presence, I find them with me more often now because of the gift of memories, especially the sweetest ones.

But reading these little stories, seeing my grandmother's little inscription, bring my grandparents back to me in ways I could not have without the weight of these books in my hand. They are the physical ties that bind us together no matter how many years we may be apart, no matter how many years it may be before we hopefully are together again, or not. Who is to say? Who knows? I certainly don't.

So it is Christmas Eve once more. Tonight I will read "A Christmas Memory." I have lost count of the times I have read it.

Today my mother's kitchen will be redolent with the aromas of Roast Turkey, buttermilk pie, sweet potato souffle and sweet bourbon corn pudding. The cornbread dressing will be steaming and the giblet gravy will be hot and succulent. I will share the table today with my wife and mother. I will be thankful for home and family and the memory of those I love who will not be sharing our table today, whether separated by simple miles or death itself. I will raise a toast to each of those dear to me and I will feel their presence around the table because of two little books given to me one Christmas morning more than thirty years ago.

Though there will be no fruitcake at our table, I will delight in Sook's excited call to Buddy. "It's Fruitcake Weather!"

I have walked the streets of Monroeville, Alabama, many times. There is little sign of Truman Capote or Nelle Harper Lee in that town, other than the old Courthouse, now a museum. Truman Capote's childhood summer and Christmas home is a vacant lot. Ms. Lee's home, if my geography is right, is occupied by something akin to a Dairy Queen, though some owner long past decided the name recognition was not worth the franchise price to have it.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or nothing at all, I wish each of you the best of memories for the coming day.

To Life--


December 24, 2013

The Christmas dinner described above was the last my wife and I shared with my Mother. We were fortunate to have her with us through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our homes were two doors apart. My wife and I moved into her home to be her caregivers. Mother died February 1, 2012. I am fortunate to have a number of books given to me by her through the years. I am mindful of the poet W.S. Merwin who told us, “What you remember saves you.” Yes, it does.

Another Thanksgiving, Evening, November 22, 2014

Tomorrow, my wife Martha Jo and I begin our Thanksgiving trip to Wilmington, North Carolina. Waiting for us there will be MJ's brother, Bill, whom MJ once hit over the head with a cast iron skillet because he insisted on watching Bonanza when she wanted to watch Lucy. His wife, Anne, will be producer and director of all activities. She was not the former Postmistress of Killingsworth, Connecticut, for nothing. Bill commonly tells people he is also from Connecticut. However the most important person in Wilmington we will see is Zola Mae Boston, MJ and Bill's mother. Zola Mae is ninety-five years young. She is from Dallas, Texas, as is MJ, and, of course, Bill. Although Bill is quite adroit in addressing anyone in a clipped Connecticut accent, when he tells anyone in Zola Mae's presence he is from Connecticut, she corrects him. "Why, Bill Boston, you're not from Connecticut. You're from Dallas, Texas. I ought to know. I was there when you were born." I rather enjoy seeing a Texan denying his heritage chastened. *chuckle*

So it is not that I am without family. I am embraced by them, particularly Zola Mae who loves how I say Alabama. That our accents are not that different has not occurred to her.

The Thanksgiving Visitor and A Christmas Memory have both been carried to Wilmington. Holiday dinners there are not small affairs. Friends and neighbors fill the house. Extra tables and chairs are brought in. Each couple, group, single, brings a dish.

Following dinner, I have read each of Capote's memoirs aloud in character. And these stories have become part of the memories of many others over two previous holiday seasons. I can do it straight. And, yes, I can channel Capote, which rather unnerves even me.

This year these little books grow even more special to me as I read the comments of "The Trail" members while they experience Capote's stories. One mother is reading "The Thanksgiving Visitor" to her ten year old daughter. She's a smart child. She likes Buddy's friend and says the narrator is good. Now there's another child who will have some special memories of her own.

In all our lives we have memories both bitter and sweet. Nobody said it better than Robert Frost. "In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on."

Happy Thanksgiving. Should you not have occasion to celebrate that holiday, simply find a reason to remember it. Each day is a gift.

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,487 reviews842 followers
December 19, 2022
“The black stove, stoked with coal and firewood, glows like a lighted pumpkin. Eggbeaters whirl, spoons spin round in bowls of butter and sugar, vanilla sweetens the air, ginger spices it; melting, nose-tingling odors saturate the kitchen, suffuse the house, drift out to the world on puffs of chimney smoke. In four days our work is done.”

How could anyone read this without a sense of nostalgia? Even if you never lived in a place with a fireplace or a wood stove or made any kind of holiday food, you can imagine what it must have been like for little Truman Capote, for this is his Christmas and his elderly relative who is making her annual fruitcakes.

He is seven, she is sixty-something and they are the best of pals. We’re told there are others in the household, but they don’t figure in this gorgeous little story of scrimping and saving all year for the money to buy the ingredients.

“Lovely dimes, the liveliest coin, the one that really jingles. Nickels and quarters, worn smooth as creek pebbles. But mostly a hateful heap of bitter-odored pennies.”

I loved his descriptions of the coming of winter and trekking with her through the frozen woods as they prepared for Christmas. It’s a bittersweet story, and “Sook”, as he actually called the real woman, Nanny Rumbley Faulk, made such an impact that it obviously remained with him forever. This is the cover of one edition of the book, and it’s a photograph of the two of them.

Photograph of Truman Capote and his beloved Sook, Nanny Rumbley Faulk

What a delight for anyone who loves seeing small children and old people do what they do best – love each other and be kind to the world.

You can enjoy the story here;

And you can watch the film with Geraldine Page on YouTube.

Another reviewer, Cynda, posted a link to the illustrations from this edition.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,190 reviews1,131 followers
December 18, 2019
My thanks to my goodfriend's who read and reviewed this book so beautifully and in doing so brought me back 40 years to Christmas of years ago when neighbours and older people impacted so much on my childhood.

I too as a child growing up in a house of boys had a lovely old lady who lived next door and to whose house I escaped when I wanted to be pampered and spoiled, a lady who impacted so much on my childhood and from who I learnt so many skills from baking to knitting and cooking and this book just brought me right back to Christmas time when gifts composed of homemade produce that was shared and gifted among neighbours and when giving and receiving meant so much more than in today's society.

A short story with so much memories and good in it. Might not be everyone's 5 star read but it sure gave me a lovely warm feeling and put the true spirt of Christmas right back where it belongs.
Profile Image for Nika.
151 reviews163 followers
December 23, 2022
After reading several reviews, I expected that I would enjoy this slim story, but it exceeded my expectations. This was a complete five-star read for me.

The story centers around the friendship between a seven-year-old boy called Buddy and his sixty-something friend - a superstitious woman who “wouldn’t even dream of getting out of bed on the thirteenth” but who has a kind heart. They are very distant cousins, but this does not seem important.
We are each other’s best friend.

This sums up their relationship best. I liked how the narrator constantly called the lady “my friend.” The narrator's pride in their friendship can be felt in how he constantly calls the lady “my friend.” She is the only person who understands Buddy.
This may be so because she is herself a child.

Oh my,” she [Buddy’s friend] exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!
That means that they will need to bake thirty cakes. The story unfolds from there.

The financial resources of our friends are very limited, and, in addition to baking cakes, presents have to be prepared, and a Christmas Tree found and decorated. But do not worry, Buddy and his friend will find a solution and both end up being delighted with their holidays and the presents they give each other. They have another friend - a dog named Queenie. She also expects to receive a Christmas present.
The universe of these two is restricted to the house in which they live with other somewhat abstract relatives, walks in the nearby woods, and occasional visits to local shops. They, however, regard their simple life as equal to the most pleasant one that may be had in the world outside.

This little tale is considered to be semi-autobiographical. Truman Capote many years later reminisces about one of his childhood Christmases - the one that was destined to be the last he spent together with his best friend.
This sense of the frailty of life and transience of the moments of happiness makes the whole story special. Capote, in his adult life, may have allowed himself a certain idealization of his childhood years. But this does not take away anything from the beauty of this single Christmas memory. The text is lyrical without sliding into mushiness.

Reading this short story with immaculate vibes somewhat resembles a long nature walk on which you have embarked with your good old friend. At some point you feel tired, see a little old-fashioned cafe with not a single visitor, and decide to have a hot drink. After getting it, you are sitting at the cafe table trying to warm yourself up and watching two kites cavort in the sky (this line is inspired by the story) when your friend starts relating one episode from his childhood. As he speaks, you begin feeling cozy and warm.

The author by narrating this little episode gently reminds us to value those whom we love, appreciate what we have at the present moment, and attempt to make the most of it.

I found this little gem perfect for December and the holiday season, although the reader should keep in mind that it is not a joyful story. You may finish it with a wistful smile, a subtle feeling of nostalgia, or be genuinely touched having read the last paragraph. Life separates the narrator from his best friend and their beloved dog Queenie.

A Christmas Memory may put us in a reflective mood. Our happy memories are of such value for they are transient and ephemeral. The author safeguarded this Christmas episode in a sort of fictional treasury inside his mind. He could take it out when he most needs it and relive his emotions. The tale demonstrates that nothing, including a large age difference, can be an insurmountable obstacle for friendship. Buddy and his friend are very different from each other. Their relationship is about to end quite abruptly. But the moments of joy the boy and his friend experienced that year would stay with him for many years to come.
Profile Image for Kenny.
507 reviews937 followers
September 25, 2022
"Oh my," she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, "it's fruitcake weather!"
A Christmas Memory ~~ Truman Capote


I first read Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory when I was 13 years old. I fell love with this story instantly, & still love it to this day. I believed then, as I believe now, that A Christmas Memory is one of the greatest short stories ever written.

Set in Alabama in the 1930s and inspired by his childhood, Capote tells the story of a Christmas he shared with his friend, Miss Sook, an aging woman in her sixties. Capote’s portrayal of his seven year-old self called Buddy is sweet, but the real charm is in his relationship with Miss Sook, whom he refers to as “my friend.” Despite her age, Miss Sook is very much a child herself. Together, they touch the lives of those around them, including a Mr. Haha Jones (ironically nicknamed this because of his serious disposition). The reader cannot help but feel touched, as well.


While A Christmas Memory possesses a child-like charm, Capote counters this with a very dark and personal tone which lies below the surface of his story. In a tragic life and upbringing specifically, Capote can be grateful that he had someone like Miss Sook to impart her love and wisdom upon him, a gift that will surely resonate with all who read A Christmas Memory.

Profile Image for Karen.
593 reviews1,197 followers
December 8, 2020
A beautiful story filled with the kind of memories that I hope everyone has of their childhood Christmas seasons!
Cherish what you have before the time is gone, enjoy all the little things!
Profile Image for Jessaka.
902 reviews138 followers
December 14, 2022
“Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar. A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable—not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate, too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “It’s fruitcake weather!”

“Always, the path unwinds through lemony sun pools and pitch vine tunnels.”

I wish that I could have gone down that lemony sun pool path with seven year old Buddy (Truman Capote) and his cousin Miss Sook. What a delightful woman she was, and he was so fortunate to have had her in is life. Together they made Christmas a joy. Miss Sook made around 30 fruitcakes for people that she knew in town, storekeepers, the mailman, and anyone else that they liked, and this year when they bought whiskey for the cake, they bought it from Mr. HaHa, who gave it to them in exchange for a fruitcake. He was a scary man to approach, but approach him they did.

As they wound down their lemony path, they had to come up with money for making the cake, so they had saved money throughout the year from selling flowers they picked here and there. Movies then were only a dime, and I recall picking flowers to sell so I could go to the movies twice a week, as my mother would only give me a quarter for my allowance, which got me into the movies on Saturdays with some leftover to buy cola, popcorn, Flick's candy, or Milk Duds. Who remembers Flick's candy? They only tasted good to me if I sucked them, otherwise that chocolate was horrible. A few years ago I found them at a store here in town and watched a movie on TV while letting them melt in my mouth. I saved the package.

During those years of picking flowers for the Sunday matinees, I found a fenced in yard that had no lawn, just flowers everywhere, and I asked the woman who gardened if I could have some to sell. She allowed me to pick some, but not enough to continue this practice, since she loved looking at her flowers too.

To gather up enough money to make fruitcakes each year, Buddy and Miss Sook held rummage sales, “sold buckets of hand-picked blackberries, jars of homemade jam and apple jelly and peach preserves,” and as I already said, flowers that they gathered from different places were also sold. The 40s and 50s were a time when peaches tasted like peaches, when jam tasted like the fruit it was made from, and so my grandmother made the best peach jam, just as I am sure Miss Sook had.

This was Truman Capote’s childhood memory, and it is so beautifully written, and one of the best Christmas stories ever. Miss Sook was rather eccentric, like the woman in the book “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson who took care of children. I love eccentric people like this, and I wish that I had them in my life when I was a child. I remember so little of my Christmases, and like Truman Capote I was given mostly clothes.

Sook's Fruitcake Recipe
Sook's Famous "Christmas Memory" Fruitcake

2 1/2 lb Brazil nuts
2 1/2 lb White and dark raisins;
1/2 lb Candied cherries
1/2 lb Candied pineapple
1 lb Citron
1/2 lb Blanched almonds
1/2 lb Pecan halves
1/2 lb Black walnuts
1/2 lb Dried figs
1 tb Nutmeg
1 tb Cloves
2 tb Grated bitter chocolate
8 oz Grape jelly
8 oz Grape juice
8 oz Bourbon whisky
1 tb Cinnamon
1 tb Allspice
2 c Butter
2 c Sugar
12 Eggs
4 c Flour

Cut the fruits and nuts into small pieces, and coat them
with some of the flour. Cream the butter and sugar
together, adding one egg at a time, beating well. Add the
rest of the flour. Add the floured fruits and nuts, spices,
seasoning, and flavorings. Mix by hand. Line a large cake
tin with wax paper, grease, then flour. Pour the mixture
into the pan and put it in a steamer over cold water.
Close the steamer and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and steam the cake for about
four-and-one-half hours. Preheat oven to around 250
degrees, and bake for one hour.
From "Sook's Cookbook" and made famous
in Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory".
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,043 reviews629 followers
November 29, 2020
A lovely and bittersweet childhood memory. The resounding message is to cherish the time you have with your loved ones and never take a moment for granted! Growing up and aging is an inescapable part of life, but it's so important not to lose sight of the most important people that make us who we are.
Profile Image for Ian.
764 reviews65 followers
December 11, 2021
A beautiful little Christmas tale, based on Capote’s memories of being brought up by his mother’s family in 1930s Alabama. The 7-year-old narrator has an unlikely close friendship with a 60-something cousin, who despite her age is herself “still a child”.

Capote’s memories of this time in his life were probably made sweeter because he was subsequently sent to a military school where he was very unhappy. Indeed the story is tinged with sadness as the years move on, but that adds to rather than detracts from the beauty of the story. It’s superbly written as you would expect from Capote, and is touching without ever being maudlin.
Profile Image for Ines.
321 reviews198 followers
December 14, 2019
The story told here is really sweet, moving and delicate, a wonderful friendship and love between the old lady and this young boy named Buddy. I liked the meaning of cooking and making fruit cakes for others. I read this book initially alone, although the initial intention was an evening reading shared with my 10-year-old son, I will certainly reread it with him, perfect to prepare for the arrival of Holy Christmas.

La storia qui narrata è veramente dolce e commovente, delicata e meravigliosa l'amocizia e l'amore tra la vecchia signora e Buddy. Mi è piaciuto il significato del cucinare e preparare le Fruit cake per gli altri. Ho letto questo libro inizialmente da sola, anche se l'intenzione iniziale era una lettura serale condivisa con mio figlio di 10 anni, sicuramente lo rileggerò insieme a lui, perfetto per prepararci all' arrivo del Santo Natale.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews31 followers
February 26, 2018
A Christmas memory, Truman Capote
"A Christmas Memory" is a short story by Truman Capote. Originally published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956, it was reprinted in The Selected Writings of Truman Capote in 1963. It was issued in a stand-alone hardcover edition by Random House in 1966, and it has been published in many editions and anthologies since.
The largely autobiographical story, which takes place in the 1930s, describes a period in the lives of the seven-year-old narrator and an elderly woman who is his distant cousin and best friend. The evocative narrative focuses on country life, friendship, and the joy of giving during the Christmas season, and it also gently yet poignantly touches on loneliness and loss.
‏عنوان: خاطره‌ ای از کریسمس و دو داستان دیگر، اثر: ترومن کاپوتی؛ مترجم: مهدی فاتحی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، فیروزه، ‏‫1389، در ‫96 ص، شابک: 9789646542518؛ موضوع: داستان‌های کوتاه از نویسندگان آمریکایی -- سده 20 م
‫خاطره‌ ای از کریسمس از کارهای مهم و کلاسیک ترومن کاپوتی است. مجموعه‌ ای از سه داستان که دو شخصیت اصلی آن ثابت هستند؛ پسرکی هفت‌ ساله که شباهت زیادی به کودکانگی خود کاپوتی دارد، و نیز پیردختری که دوست‌ داشتنی هم هست.‏ کاپوتی داستان: «خاطره‌ ای از کریسمس»، «یک کریسمس»، و «مهمان روز شکرگزاری» را در دهه‌ ی شصت سده بیستم میلادی، یعنی زمانی که در اوج شهرت و اعتبار بودند نوشتند. منتقدان درباره‌ ی خاطره‌ ای از کریسمس کاپوتی معتقدند که او با این کار زبردستی‌ خویش را در به تصویر کشیدن شخصیت کودکان و بهره‌ گیری‌ از واژه ها و تصاویر دلنشین به اثبات رسانده‌ است. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
816 reviews616 followers
December 8, 2019
Sweet, tender and achingly sad, this beautiful childhood memory of Truman Capote gathering ingredients for and making fruitcake for Christmas with his childlike and much older cousin had me in tears by the end.

Cruelly separated by life (aka his mother) I wish these two lovely souls had been able to reunite - just once- before the real Sook's death.

I'm glad Truman carried this memory in his heart.

Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,782 reviews14.2k followers
December 22, 2019
So many of my reading friends on this site have posted wonderful reviews of this, I just had to read. A wonderful Christmas story that shows the true meaning of the holiday, back before if turned into a consumerism nightmare. Like all good things concerning the young and the elderly, another that reminded me of my dearly missed grandparents. Like the lady in this story, they made Christmas a special time for my younger sister and I.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,324 reviews2,146 followers
December 29, 2020
I just finished this beautiful story and I am still blinking away a few tears for the ending.

What a superb tale of love and finding happiness in the smallest things. There is a lesson to be learned here about what is really important in life as one elderly lady makes Christmas special for a small boy who has very little at all.

Nostalgic, emotional and beautifully written. Something you could read every Christmas just like Sook making her thirty fruitcakes each November.

Thank you to Patty for bringing this one to my attention and I hope it is okay to add here the link you provided for this story.
Profile Image for Somormujo.
149 reviews101 followers
January 17, 2022
Delicioso cuento corto de Truman Capote con ambiente navideño de la niñez. Ampliaré la reseña pronto.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,780 reviews1,458 followers
December 29, 2020
Oh my, this I totally, totally loved!!!

It captures the feeling of Christmas, the entire Christmas season as day by day the day finally arrives.

Even if Capote's Christmas is not your Christmas, and neither was it exactly my Christmas, because all of our Christmases are a little bit different from each other's, Capote magnificently captures what bubbles in our bodies and zings in our hearts at Christmas.

The ending has a hint of nostalgia which is perfect too.

Fantastic. Read it! Read it aloud to others in your family. Turn this story into a family tradition. It's that good!

Here I go again, giving a short little story five stars.


Here follows a free on-line link to this autobiographical short story:: http://www.sailthouforth.com/2009/12/...
Profile Image for Melki.
6,037 reviews2,387 followers
December 25, 2016
We are each other's best friends.

I've watched the television special - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQGEU... - countless times now, so it was impossible to read this without hearing Capote's voice.

Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago.

This short vignette tells of the last Christmas Capote spent with his friend, a distant, decades older cousin.

. . . we have lived together --- well, as long as I can remember. Other people inhabit the house, relatives; and though they have power over us, and frequently make us cry, we are not, on the whole, too much aware of them.

The story begins with Capote's cousin/best friend waking one morning to declare "Oh my, it's fruitcake weather!" The two pool their pennies, and set out to gather the ingredients. They also make a nervous visit to the scary Mr. Haha Jones to purchase forbidden whiskey. Thirty cakes are then baked, and sent to far off places like California and Borneo. And, of course, one is sent to President Roosevelt.

The book ends on Christmas day when the friends exchange gifts, though Capote includes asides that hint at sad and somber events in the future. Indeed, nothing can last forever, even the joy of Christmas. I absolutely loved this book, though the ending left me in tears.

That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
December 9, 2019
Such an evocative and heartfelt story from Truman Capote, when he was a boy in the 1930s, saving nickels and dimes and pennies (“a hateful heap of bitter-odored pennies”) to buy the ingredients for homemade fruitcake that he makes with his favorite cousin, an older lady with the heart of a child.

It’s filled with vivid events and images that stick with you: buying illegal whisky from Haha Jones, decorating the Christmas tree with homemade paper decorations, a pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.

It’s almost enough to make me want to eat fruitcake.
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,737 reviews476 followers
December 5, 2019
This is a reread of a favorite Christmas story that I first read two years ago. Truman Capote wrote a beautiful Christmas story based on some special times he experienced as a seven-year-old. He was living with older relatives including his beloved sixty-something cousin, Miss Sook. She was a little childlike and sheltered from the world. However, Miss Sook knew how to have fun and had a generous heart. He recounts the holiday events of making fruitcakes and homemade gifts, and decorating the Christmas tree with their own artwork. His older cousin put humor, warmth, and love into the special times they shared during the Christmas season. She gave Truman the gift of love when he must needed it, and some lovely memories to carry through his life. This is a heartwarming gem that will bring a smile to both children and adults.
Profile Image for Loretta.
319 reviews162 followers
December 28, 2019
Let me start off my review by saying that I am not a fan of Truman Capote. The books that I've read by him I've found incredibly dull and they didn't hold my interest, at all. With that being said, I found this little book, A Christmas Memory, to be completely charming and captivating. Such a sweet, lovable story about two misfits who genuinely care about one another. I felt great empathy towards "his friend" and the relationship she shares with Buddy. The ending of the book literary brought me to tears. 😢 Happy that I didn't let this one go unread! A book for everyone! 😊

Profile Image for CarolG.
671 reviews265 followers
December 9, 2021
This was a wonderful little story and the illustrations were exquisite. I had tears in my eyes at the end and then to find that it's based on Truman Capote's early life almost did me in. Plus, now I'm craving fruit cake. This is the library's only hard copy and I'm going to rush it back so that someone else can enjoy it.
Profile Image for kohey.
51 reviews195 followers
December 25, 2015
Actually I’ve read this little sparkling gem for five years in a row,and will have been reading until I have memorized the whole passages.Let me add this;this is one of Haruki Murakami’s favs,and his Japanese translation is great!Good stories easily leap beyond the barrier of languages.It’s an undeniable fact.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 1 book165 followers
December 27, 2019
Re-read and added a star.

Truman Capote’s childhood memory of his adored cousin, the “sixty-something” yet childlike best friend of his youth, is brimming with richly evoked country seasonal preparations to immerse you in the holiday spirit.

“Scented acres of holiday trees, prickly-leafed holly. Red berries shiny as Chinese bells: black crows swoop upon them screaming. Having stuffed our burlap sacks with enough greenery and crimson to garland a dozen windows, we set about choosing a tree. ‘It should be,’ muses my friend, ‘twice as tall as a boy. So a boy can’t steal the star.’ The one we pick is twice as tall as me.”

They struggle hauling the heavy thing home, and a car carrying a rich mill owner’s wife stops and the wife offers to buy the tree off of them for “twobits.” The cousin refuses.

“'We wouldn’t take a dollar.’

“The mill owner’s wife persists. ‘A dollar, my foot! Fifty cents. That’s my last offer. Goodness, woman, you can get another one.’

“In answer my friend gently reflects : ‘I doubt it. There’s never two of anything.’”

This is what simple people understand that the rich often do not: appreciation for the uniqueness of what we have.

This is the perfect holiday story. It reminds you that your life, your cherished memories, your odd traditions … whatever they are, they are one of a kind. Don’t waste your time wishing for what someone else has. What you have is perfect for you. Cherish it, as Truman Capote cherished his memories in this story.
Profile Image for ❀Julie.
97 reviews82 followers
January 1, 2017
This was the sweetest story. I loved the premise which is actually a reflection of the author’s own life and is set in the time of the Great Depression. A grown man is reminiscing on a childhood Christmas memory with his best friend. What makes their friendship so special is that “Buddy” is only 7 and his best friend is his elderly female, childlike cousin whom he had lived with as a child. They are on a search for the ingredients to make fruitcakes as Christmas gifts for thirty people- but they have no funds. Their innocence is charming and their love for each other is sweet. There are so many wonderful details packed into this story that make it funny and beautiful and sad, but the ending is so touching. I loved how it captured the essence of Christmas with themes of love and giving when times were much simpler. It makes one want to create special traditions/memories to be passed down through the generations. (And it reminded me of how my mom who, for as long as I can remember, has made fruitcakes at Christmas for everyone and their brother, taking pride in proclaiming that her recipe is unlike the rest!) 5 stars
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