Christmas Reading

Killing time while waiting for my husband to finish a work emergency so we can go to dinner and the grocery store, my brain is still thinking in terms of making lists.

Right now, having just bought 300 feet of white exterior Christmas lighting that my lawn guy will be hanging next week, it seems natural to think of favorite Christmas books. If you need to send gifts to people, this may help.

  1. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg: I first read this while visiting my Aunt in Connecticut one snowy Christmas, and the story became a favorite of mine. The artwork is lovely, slightly dark, with muted colors and soft lines, and the story itself – a boy finding magic in his heart – is really simple and lovely.
  2. Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, by Francis P. Church: Technically it’s an essay, an editorial, but it’s been printed in book form, so it counts. The language is catchy, the point is universal. It’s been a favorite of mine since childhood.
  3. A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas: Proof that you don’t have to use verse to capture brilliant imagery and evoke perfect moments – the first snow, a frozen ocean – even if you’re a poet. Great book for a chilly evening near a bright fire. Goes well with hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps.
  4. A Visit from Saint Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore: A perennial favorite, and one my mother and I often quote back and forth while cooking Christmas Eve dinner together. It becomes hysterically funny when read in a Swedish accent, by the way.
  5. The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry: Yes, it’s a short story, but it’s O. Henry, king of the twisted ending. I’ve read, heard, and seen many many versions of this tale, but the original is my favorite.

My book aunt made it her habit to gift me with collections of Christmas stories every year, and I love pulling them out around Thanksgiving, and leaving them scattered around the house, to be picked up and glanced through at odd moments.

Also, astute readers will notice that my list contains no mention of a certain grinch. The reason for this is simple: I am anti-Seuss. Never liked his work. Never will.