[after the scene in which everybody writes down their Christmas wishes, some real, more metaphysical:
Down to the study they had gathered with eggnog and their letters. Doc had his folded like true correspondence, its backside dimpled with hard-struck punctuation; Mother's was torn from a brown bag, like a shopping list. The fire took them all, though--rejecting only Lily's at first who tried with a shriek to throw it in the fire's mouth, you can't really throw a piece of paper, she'd learn that as she grew in grace and wisdom--and Tacey insisted they go out to see. Smoky took her by the hand, and lifted Lily onto his shoulders, and they went out into the snowfall made spectral by the house's lights to watch the smoke go away, melting the falling snowflakes as it rose.
When he recieved these communications, Santa drew the claws of his spectacles from behind his ears and pressed the sore place on the bridge of his nose with thumb and finger. What was it they expected him to do with these? A shotgun, a bear, snowshoes, some pretty things and some useful: well, all right. But for the rest of it... he didn't know what people were thinking anymore. But it was growing late; if they, or anyone else, were disappointed in him tomorrow, it wouldn't be the first time. He took his furred hat from its peg and drew on his gloves. He went out, already unaccountably weary though the journey had not even begun, into the multicolored arctic waste below the decillion stars, whose near brilliance seemed to chime, even as the harness of his reindeer chimed when they raised their chaggy heads at his approach, and as the eternal snow chimed too when he trod it with his booted feet.
--John Crowley, Little, Big]
Ladies and gentlemen, the power of the omniscient point of view. Crowley is one of those writers who can conjure an image at once whimsical and sad and hopeful and three or four other things besides. He is a conjurer of words.
Also, reading Cather, Morrison, and Crowley back to back is a great way to reinforce to one's self just how pathetic one's delusions of adequacy really are.