One of the things I keep mentioning as I work on the time-travel book is that it’s important to watch the film whenever possible. Synopses get it wrong, or they miss key details that given my particular focus, I’m more interested in.
Case in point, the 1895 short story “Christmas Every Day,” by William Dean Howells. I’ve seen it cited as the original Christmas do-over tale; Christmas Every Day shares the same title and the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas segment (I reviewed both in my previous post) credits it as the source.
So when I read it I was surprised to realize there’s no time-travel element at all. Dec. 25 doesn’t repeat, it’s just that a little girl’s wish makes people celebrate Christmas on Dec. 26, 27 and so on as well as the proper day. People have to buy fresh presents, so by summer of next year, everyone’s going broke. People eat turkey every day, so by summer, the few surviving birds are going for $1,000 a pop. Finally the little girl admits she screwed up and recants her wish.
It’s a cute story, and quite possibly it did influence more of the Christmas do-overs than Disney (though the von Detten film has almost nothing in common with the story but the name). But time-travel it ain’t.