Thursday, December 8

A few of my favorite things

And Momma (in her ‘kerchief) and I in our nook,
Had just snuggled down with a long winter’s book.

After all this talk about Christmas movies and TV shows I thought I'd better address my first love -- books.

(That's not to say some of those moving pictures and TV shows haven't been based upon books, but it's the very rare movie or TV show that is better than the original book it's based upon.)

So what are some of my favorite Christmas books that I read every Christmas?

Bess Streeter Aldrich
Journey Into Christmas
(1949) are stories about reunited families, good fellowship, and restored faith. This is not to say that all is sugar candy. The mother in the title story faces a lonely Christmas in an empty house; but then something quite ordinary but miraculous happens. In "The Drum Goes Dead," a small-town bank cashier, a solid citizen and sterling friend, is dispirited by hard times until he discovers that it is indeed a wonderful life. In the closing piece, "I Remember," the author recalls her own childhood in Iowa. 

Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol (1943) is the story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Birds' Christmas Carol
(1887) is the story is about Carol Bird, a Christmas-born child, who as a young girl is unusually loving and generous, having a positive effect on everyone with whom she comes into contact. By the time she is 10, she is bedridden and physicians say that she does not have long to live. The novel primarily involves Carol making plans for a Christmas celebration for the nine Ruggles children, a poor, working-class family living near the Birds. The book is a wistful moral tale about a saintly child, but is enlivened by many humorous scenes, particularly those concerning the home life of the Ruggles family.

Maud Hart Lovelace
Heaven to Betsy (1945) and Betsy and Joe (1948)
Nobody celebrates Christmas like the Ray family, but my two, absolute favorite Christmas stories in Lovelace's books are found here. We get to read about the family's traditions in Heaven to Betsy and feel like we're there, too. In Betsy and Joe the warmth and merriment is still there, but Betsy learns she must put on a brave face when she and Joe quarrel. I dream of a Betsy-Tacy Christmas Treasury (Are you reading this HarperCollins?)

O. Henry 

The Gift of the Magi (1906) is a short story written about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.

Clement Clarke Moore 
A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823), also known as The Night Before Christmas and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Little House Christmas (1995) describes some of the Christmases she and her family celebrate on the frontier. Even if they don't have much money for presents, they always have one another, and that's enough to make any Christmas merry. This lavish gift book gathers together five of Laura's classic Christmas stories from Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek, and is illustrated with gently colorized (boo hiss) versions of Garth Williams' original art.

A Little House Christmas Treasury (2005) is pretty much the same as above but it does include a Christmas story not found there and vice versa.

And last but certainly not least: 

The American Girls Holiday Treasury (2005) of holiday stories and songs takes girls back in time to Christmas celebrations with their favorite American Girls characters. From Christmas Eve during the Great Depression to a Civil War fellowship dinner, these timeless stories illustrate the importance of family and the cherished traditions that are at the heart of the holiday season. Includes a CD of classic Christmas songs, a ribbon bookmark, and a special cover with gold foil stamping and glitter.

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