If you stick around long enough, you’ll learn that any chance I get, I like to talk about books. Not that I’m going to stop raving about jewellery, but books were my first love. And this holiday season, I’d like to get as many of you to read those books lying around your house, as opposed to making a Christmas tree out of them, groovy as that is!
So, here are my top 5 picks for best Christmas story – in no particular order.
1. A visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore: Also popularly known as ‘The Night before Christmas’, which is the first line in this story-poem. It’s a wonderful story, told from the point of view of a father who has just put his children to bed, and suddenly hears St. Nicholas coming. The poem makes for wonderful reading-out-loud times, because its rhythm and timing are perfect. And the story itself is one big warm-fuzzy. This is apparently the first time ever that Santa was visualised with a sleigh and reindeer. When you think about that, it’s amazing that this image has become so deeply engrained in our imaginations! What would Santa be without his reindeer? And how would Rudolph ever make his peace with his nose?
2. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens: Talking about Christmas stories that have become engrained in our imagination, this tale of the awakening of miserly Scrooge to the real meaning of Christmas is one everybody knows, even those who haven’t actually read the book. The three Ghosts, the endearing Tiny Tim, and mean old Scrooge himself… they’ve lent themselves to so many parodies and adaptations! Even the Muppets have a version, if I’m not mistaken! I love this story because it’s one of those real feel-good tales, where everything ends happily for everyone, Scrooge included.
3. The Gift of the Magi, by O’Henry: In my humble opinion, O’Henry is probably the best short-story writer I have had the pleasure of reading (Hawthorne and Poe notwithstanding). This is a story I first read in school, and even today, I can reel off lines verbatim. Some things stick in your memory long after you expect them to have faded. This story, of a young couple who are too poor to buy each other the perfect Christmas gifts, but somehow manage to do so, is one of them. I can see Della, and Jim, and every time I read the story, I am rooting for them, all the way. The true meaning of gift-giving is beautifully portrayed in this book, and every time I’m having a discussion about gift-giving pros-and-cons with someone, I think of this story when I argue for gift-giving.
4. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, by Agatha Christie: This one is a bit of a googly, because it doesn’t quite fit in with the entire Christmas theme. It’s just one more case that happens to be around Christmas time. The reason it’s on my list is because the resolution to the entire crime is one of Christie’s most ingenious. My personal favourite Christies are the more off-beat ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’, ‘Sad Cypress’ and ‘Endless Night’. The last one creeps me out so much that I never read it at night. ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’ is also not mentioned as often as ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ or ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (both of which are also must-reads, by the way), but I remember being completely astounded the first time I read it. Sometime, after having read almost all her books, I could begin to try and guess who the villain was, but this one foxed me. The English country Christmas is a nice setting for this story!
5. Christmas with Anne, and other holiday stories, by L.M. Montgomery: I’ll just come right out and say it – I love Anne of Green Gables. When I was young, I wanted a friend just like her. Later, I wanted to be just like her! Montgomery is a writer who catches hold of your imagination and takes it to new and wonderful places. ‘Christmas with Anne’ is an excerpt from ‘Anne of Green Gables’, when Matthew gets Anne a very special Christmas gift. Matthew is one of Montgomery’s most endearing characters, who I fell in love with the moment he laid eyes on Anne. This is a heart-warming little story, and I loved reading it on it’s own, because then I had an excuse to go back and read the entire Anne series all over again! The other stories in the book are a little repetitive, with the themes of family reconciliations and understanding the spirit of Christmas. Read all together, it’s a little too sweet, but December is probably the only time you can read the entire book and enjoy it a full hundred percent (unless you’re such a L.M. Montgomery fan that you’ll happily read anything of hers – like me!).
And there you have it! My top 5 books to read this December. Our post is a little late, because we were busy getting our grand finale ready for our Twelfth Day, but I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed talking about some of my favourite books! What are your favourite books to read at this time of year?
“A merry Christmas to all, and to all, goodnight!”