A double layer of nostalgia surrounds this mouse family's Christmas celebration, the second layer owing to the 50-year gap between the book's creation and its publication. The narrator tells the story the way he heard it from old Lije Herringbone, the tramp rat, who crashed terrified into the home of the Patterprints after an encounter in the bushes with Santa Claus. Later the Patterprints too are frightened when Santa, coming down the chimney and landing in their soup pot, displays his temper. But Santa goes on to fill the stockings, including one for Lije, who enjoys his first real family Christmas all the way through to the plum pudding. Each of the pictures is alive with activity, and all exude cozy domesticity, along with a reddish fireplace glow. The flavor is that of a homemade sugar cookie, a bit sweet for any other season but made with real old-fashioned ingredients.