The true meaning of Christmas emerges in these stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. This is not to say that all is sugar candy. The mother in the title story faces a lonely Christmas in an empty house-but then something quite ordinary but miraculous happens. In "The Drum Goes Dead," a small-town bank cashier, a solid citizen and sterling friend, is dispirited by hard times until he discovers, through his own resources, that it is indeed a wonderful life. Here are nine other holiday stories, by turns dramatic, humorous, and inspirational. The closing piece recalls the author's childhood in Iowa. Bess Streeter Aldrich is well remembered for A Lantern in Her Hand, from which Christmas on the Prairie is reprinted, and Spring Came On Forever.