The Moomins do not celebrate Christmas. What happens when they, unfamiliar with the holiday, are suddenly drawn into helping with Christmas arrangements?
As winter approaches, the Moomins prepare to hibernate. By the time Moominvalley is carpeted in snow, the Moomins are already in a deep sleep – and so, they don’t celebrate Christmas either. In fact, they don’t even know what it is.
However, some Christmas references and illustrations of the Moomins can be found, for example, from Tove Jansson’s short story The Fir Tree, in the book Tales from Moominvalley, first published in 1962. In the story, the Moomin family is awakened from their winter sleep to encounter Christmas for the first time, and if you pay attention, you might learn something very important from them through this story.
“This is a time for giving, for sharing wholeheartedly and unstintingly with others in need”
Unfamiliar with the holiday, the awakened Moomin family rushes into doing everything they can to meet with the traditions of Christmas. Nobody helps them understand what to do or what to expect, which leads the family to think it is something scary: “You’re the first to suggest Christmas is happy”, Moominpappa says when a small creature whispers Happy Christmas to him. “Aren’t you all afraid of what’s going to happen when it comes?”
The British publisher of several books by Tove Jansson, Natania Jansz from Sort of Books says the message of the story is important especially before and during the holidays, but also any time of the year.
“In typical Moomin fashion, they stumble on the true meaning of this festival; that this is a time for giving, for sharing wholeheartedly and unstintingly with others in need.”
“The Moomin family accidentally wake from hibernation just before Christmas and are taken aback by all the stress and fuss they encounter by anxious Fillyjonks and Hemulens rushing to prepare for the big day. In their innocent way they seem to entirely, and hilariously, misunderstand Christmas.
She continues: “And yet, in typical Moomin fashion, they stumble on the true meaning of this festival; that this is a time for giving, for sharing wholeheartedly and unstintingly with others in need. I can think of no better story to remind us of the importance of inclusivity and the joy of giving at this, or any, time of the year.”
Jansz also tells that even a special edition of the story, tied together with the story of the Invisible Child, has now sold over 150 thousand copies, with all proceeds helping to fund Oxfam’s projects supporting women and girls around the world.
The special edition is currently out of stock from most of the book stores, but the classic Moomin book, Tales from Moominvalley, is available for purchase in well-stocked bookstores.