"A Christmas Memory" is everything that is good about a short story. Without any unnecessary word play or symbolism, it is direct, honest, and heartfelt. With scenes and emotions taken directly from Capote's own childhood, he relates love, bonding, loss, and hope. In a way that shows childhood can be both simple and complex at the same time, love and bonding are stronger than loss, and hope transcends all.
"A Christmas Memory" shows that children are very special people. They can see something exquisite and wondrous in something small, because they know the spirit in which it is given. They can understand what matters the most-- and who matters the most. In many ways, they see more and understand more than many adults. Fans of Truman Capote know he was essentially abandoned by both of his parents when he was very young, and spent his early years in a household of poor, older relatives. It was the love he was given, primarily by his elderly aunt, that prevented his early years from resulting in bitterness and set the foundation for a successful career instead. His Christmas memories were of making fruitcakes, dancing, and flying kites-- and even after the kites went on their way to heaven, the memories remained. Those simple childhood memories set the stage-- not only for this sweet little Christmas story, but for one of the greatest writers America has ever known.