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JUST LOVED READING: A Christmas Memory

JUST LOVED READING: A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory


Truman Capote

Middle Grade/Fiction


Capote, Truman. A Christmas Memory. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956.

Seven-year old Buddy and his older cousin and best friend live with other cousins of his mother’s in Monroeville, Alabama. He also has a dog named Queenie.

The story begins one cold morning when the cousin declares that it is time to make fruitcakes for Christmas. They have spent a whole year saving their money to buy the ingredients which includes whisky made by a Native American named Haha Jones. They give the cakes to people they have met once or twice or not at all like Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States.

The effort to make the cakes takes four days including distributing and mailing them.

When that task is completed, they take a walk far into the woods and cut down a pine tree and enough boughs to make several wreaths for the windows. The family is poor so Buddy and his cousin make the decorations for the tree.

Their next effort is to make the Christmas gifts for each other and the other relatives. Every year Buddy and his cousin make kites for each other and this year is no different even though they want their gift to be a surprise.

Christmas morning, they try to eat the flapjacks and other treats made for the holiday but they are too excited. They want to open their gifts.The usual gifts of clothes and hand-me downs disappoint Buddy but he loves his kite. Later, he, his cousin and Queenie go out to the pasture and fly their kites and eat oranges. Queenie buries the bone they bought for him for Christmas.

Ominously, this is the last Christmas the three will spend together.


A Christmas Memory is based on Truman Capote’s childhood memories living with his mother’s relatives in Monroeville, Alabama during the Great Depression. Few people were immune from its effects and the repressive atmosphere of Jim Crow that pervaded the South. But this story is really about two outcasts who loved and supported each other during difficult times.

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