Santa’s Naughty and Nice List: The Literary Edition

Posted by Sarah Fox

How do you think Santa Claus finds out who is naughty and nice? He delegates! Santa is too busy traveling the world to read books, so he gave us the task of making a list of the naughty and nice characters in literature. And, yes, we checked it twice. 

The Naughty

Lancelot from Arthurian Legend

You broke bro code in a major way.  We do not care about all your acts of chivalry. You slept with your best friend's wife.  Not cool, bro, not cool. Also, don’t think we forgot about that whole Elaine thing. There will be no Holy Grail in your stocking this year.


J. Alfred Prufrock from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

Dude, just ask the girl out. It really does not involve decisions and revisions. You don't have a lot of time. Really. She is going to get sick of your fear and go out with Don Juan. No, Santa will not serve you your head on a platter, but you will get a lump of coal shaped like a peach.


Humbert Humbert from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

You ruined a young girl's life and are the biggest creeper in all of literature. There is no mine big enough in the world to provide enough coal for your crimes.


Eloise from Eloise by Kay Thompson

You are always getting into trouble at the plaza and nearly give your nanny a heart attack on the regular. While Santa might not be getting you presents this year, you will be sure to get plenty of swag. Your absentee mom will be sure of it.


The Nice

Beth from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Beth, you will be getting tons of oranges for being the sweetest sister of the bunch. Not only do you tolerate your sisters' bickering and crazy antics (you just don’t burn book manuscripts, ok?), but your quiet presence holds the family together. You generously help your poor neighbors, even at the cost of your own health. You will always be one of the most saintly characters in literature to us.

Jim and Della from “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

Lest we get caught up in the materialism of Santa Claus’ gifts, you two remind us that all we need is love.  Santa doesn’t really need to give you anything guys; you have got each other. Also, it is really hard to give hair as a gift, and pocket watches are out of vogue because you can always check your cell phone.

Frodo and Samwise from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Santa is going to give you two five golden rings this year for destroying the One Ring. You two made a lot of sacrifices. Frodo, you lost a finger, got a serious wound, and lost a chance at a “normal” Hobbit life (even though the Grey Havens seem pretty cool). Samwise, you had to put your relationship with Rosie on hold, fight with your best friend, and deal with that annoying Gollum. And you both had to walk. A lot.


Lily Potter from the Harry Potter Series

Oh, Lily, you are the unsung hero of the series. If you had not sacrificed your life for your son, who would have defeated Voldemort? Also, you give us hope that school children can rise above petty cruelty: you defended Snape from your future husband’s bullying and was kind to Remus Lupin when nobody else was. In your memory, we give you the gift of fan fiction (that involves you marrying Snape instead of James Potter).

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at