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6 famous Christmas stories

Where would Christmas be today without Ebenezer Scrooge or the Nutcracker? Here are six ways in which literature has given Christmas its groove.

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Hoffman's story is now a beloved ballet, here performed by the New York City Ballet. (Paul Kolnik/HONS/AP)

1. 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,' by E.T.A. Hoffman

Did you know that the now-classic holiday ballet started as a short story by E.T.A. Hoffman? The ballet stays true to the basic outlines of the story which was published by Hoffman in 1816 and tells the tale of a girl (named Marie, however, not Clara) who saves her magical nutcracker from a mouse king and is then taken to a land of sweets by the nutcracker-turned-prince. However, Hoffman's story has a lot more in between the battle and the happily-ever-after, including a story from Marie's godfather about the origin of the nutcracker, the disbelief of Marie's family over her story of a battle with mice, and threats made by the Mouse King to Marie.


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