In December, the weather turns colder and even snowy. The first school term ends just before the Christmas holidays. Almost all the students go home for the two-week break but a few stay. They are invited to a Christmas feast which involves magical crackers and quite a bit of alcohol (for the adults).
December is a very busy month in the Potter Universe. Here are some highlights.
1926 – Merope Gaunt sells Slytherin’s locket to Borgin and Burkes for a fraction of its true worth. By the end of the month she is despondent and desperate. She stumbles into an orphanage, about to give birth. Just before midnight, her son is born and she names him Tom Marvolo Riddle. She dies shortly thereafter. Mrs. Cole had just started working at the orphanage at the time but she remembered it well.
1956 – McGonagall turns down a promotion at the Ministry of Magic and instead sends an owl to Hogwarts asking about a teaching position at the school. She starts teaching there in December of 1956.
1926 – Newt Scamander arrives in New York City supposedly to return a trafficked Thunderbird to its home. He tracks down Grindelwald in the guise of Percival Graves and is instrumental in the Dark Wizard’s capture and arrest.
1991 – Harry receives the Cloak of Invisibility as a Christmas gift. After a memorable Christmas feast, he uses it to explore the castle and happens upon the Mirror of Erised.
1992 – Lockhart and Snape hold a Duelling Club in the Great Hall. The next day, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearly-Headless Nick are petrified in the corridors. For the Christmas holidays, Mr and Mrs Weasley visit Bill in Egypt, so Ron and Ginny stay at Hogwarts. Hermione also stays on campus and on Christmas Day, her Polyjuice Potion is ready. Under the guise of Crabbe and Goyle, Harry and Ron visit the Slytherin Common Room.
1993 – Harry receives a shock when he uses the Cloak to follow Fudge, Flitwick, and McGonagall into the Three Broomsticks while they talk about Sirius Black’s relationship to the Potter family. Once again, Harry, Ron, and Hermione stay at Hogwarts for the holidays. Harry receives another anonymous gift, this time his Firebolt (from Sirius Black).
1994: Hogwarts holds the Yule Ball during the Christmas holidays as part of the Triwizard Tournament. As a result, more students than usual stay at Hogwarts for the holidays. The Great Hall is decorated differently than usual for the occasion, with walls covered in silver frost and garlands of mistletoe and ivy.
1995: At the end of the last D.A. meeting before the end of term, Cho and Harry kiss in the Room of Requirement. Harry spends the holidays at Grimmauld Place. They visit Mr Weasley in St Mungo’s on Christmas Day, where the Trio encounters Neville’s parents.
1996: Before the Christmas holidays officially begin, Professor Slughorn throws a Christmas party for members of the Slug Club and their guests. On Christmas Day, which Harry spends at the Burrow, Rufus Scrimgeour pays a visit and attempts to get Harry to support the Ministry against Voldemort. When Harry refuses, Scrimgeour accuses him of being “Dumbledore’s man, through and through.” Harry wholeheartedly agrees, saying “Yeah, I am. Glad we straightened that out.”
1997: Harry and Hermione visit Godric’s Hollow on Christmas Eve. They find the graves of James and Lily, then are accosted by Nagini in Bathilda Bagshot‘s house. The next day, Harry follows a silvery doe Patronus to find the Sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of a frozen pool of water. Ron rescues him and uses the sword to destroy Slytherin’s Locket. A few days after that, the Trio visits the home of Xenophilius Lovegood and narrowly escape a Death Eater attack.
Here’s the full list of events, characters, artwork, and other Lexicon entries I’ve chosen for the home page scroller for December. As always, feel free to suggest additions in the comments.