After the dance was concluded, the whole party was entertained with brawn and beef, and stout home-brewed. The Squire himself mingled among the rustics, and was received with awkward demonstrations of deference and regard. -from "Christmas Day" Warmly convivial and delightfully festival, this charming and long forgotten holiday classic, by one of American literature's most beloved writers, was inspired, in part, by Dickens' A Christmas Carol and other celebrations of oldtime Yule. Splendid suppers and rural churches, cheerful dances and hearty spirits imbue this short novel with the magic of the season. This festive work, first published in 1896, deserves to be a holiday tradition alongside Dickens in the celebrations of the winter solstice. American author WASHINGTON IRVING (1783-1859) wrote extensively in the areas of history and historical biography but is best known for his short fiction, including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle."