In “One Christmas Eve,” the white characters of the story don’t commit any crimes; they don’t show any egregious hate beyond the norm of their 1930s American society. And yet their actions limit the Christmas cheer for the story’s black characters. Hughes makes this point abundantly clear throughout the story by describing the scenes with positive adjectives. The tree is “lovely;” the snow is “pretty;” the children look “happy.” These descriptions contrast directly with the way in which Arcie’s point of view is related. She is stressed, angry, embittered, and world-weary. Nights like this, we are made to see, will soon do the same to young Joe as well. It is a sad, but important, side of Christmas in the 1930s. And that’s quite a trick on Hughes’s part.