The setting is the countryside around Richmond, Virginia. The time is 1863, the middle of the United States Civil War. The Stafford family is aligned with the Confederacy, and the father, Major Stafford, is away fighting on Christmas Day. The Union Army has blockaded the area around the Stafford homestead, making Christmas shopping impossible.
The Major manages to get home before Christmas Day ends, but he has no presents, either. His three children, however, are unfazed, assuring him that Santa Claus is going to bring them everything they want next Christmas.
Throughout the year then-Colonel Stafford buys Christmas presents, but has no hope of delivering them through the Union lines in his Confederate uniform. He devises a plan to sneak through the lines dressed in civilian clothes, but is spotted, labeled a spy, and, even though he makes it home, the chase is on, and the outcome is not at all certain.
This edition of the book contains the four, original illustrations, rejuvenated, and six additional Christmas illustrations that are unique to this edition of the book.
Thomas Nelson Page (April 23, 1853 – November 1, 1922) was a lawyer and American writer. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Italy under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson during World War I.
Born at Oakland, one of the Nelson family plantations, in the village of Beaverdam in Hanover County, Virginia to John Page, a lawyer and a plantation owner, and Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson). He was a scion of the prominent Nelson and Page families, each First Families of Virginia. Although he was from once-wealthy lineage, after the American Civil War, which began when he was only 8 years old, his parents and their relatives were largely impoverished during Reconstruction and his teenage years.
Page wrote many novels and short stories that romanticized the condition of the South after the Civil War.