“I have lived a thousand lives and loved a thousand loves. I have walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time, because I read” -George R.R. Martin.
One of my favourite things to do in my childhood was to curl up on the couch with a book. Lost in the world of words, transported by the imagination of the author, I would spend hours reading at Christmas. Each year, the most treasured gift at Christmas would be a book. As the years have gone by, I find less time to snuggle on the couch with a book. But this holiday season, I intend to change that. I have been searching the virtual bookshelves for books, old friends and new. So before I get reunited with my favourites, I have complied 10 suggestions for must-read Christmas books.
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The Gift of Magi – O. Henry
This is an enduring tale that tells the story of a young couple who have lots of love, but very little money. One Christmas eve, Della decides to sell her long lustrous hair to buy a platinum pocket watch chain for her husband Jim. Later that night, as they exchange gifts, they realise that Jim has sold his watch to buy her a set of ornamental hair combs. So though both of them have gifts they have no use for, they realise how much they love each other. The tale refers to the biblical gifts of Magi.
The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
If you were able to go on a magical journey, where would you go? The Polar Express is all about that journey, the spirit of Christmas and more. A young boy takes a train ride beyond his wildest imagination to the North Pole. There he meets Santa Claus and the elves .
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
This one is obviously the most christmassy of them all. “A Christmas Carol”, written by Charles Dickens, was published as a novella on December 19th of 1843. Charles Dickens used his Christmas story to stimulate a charity close to his heart. Dickens had a great sympathy for the poor. He hoped that ‘A Christmas Carol’ would make people as generous as his main character, Scrooge, became by the end of the story.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – Charles Schulz
Join Snoopy as he enjoys the festive spirit of Christmas along with the entire Peanuts Gang. Everyone, that is, but Charlie Brown. Read their antics as they help Charlie discover the true meaning of Christmas. Share the cheer as you see Snoopy in his inimitable style and wit.
The Night Before Christmas – Nikolai Gogol
‘The Night before Christmas’ is a Ukrainian folktale that’s full of witches and wizards. Set on Christmas eve, it is the tale of Vakula the blacksmith and the beautiful Okhsana. Witches,wizards and other bewitching elements complete the plot. Traditionally, this story is read to children as part of Christmas eve traditions in Russia and Ukraine.
How the Grinch stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
This is a very popular choice for reading at Christmas. Written by the famous children’s book author Dr. Seuss, it tells the tale of a mean, conniving Grinch who abhors Christmas and is determined to ruin it for everyone. He lives in a cave close to a small town and plots to steal Christmas forever. The story also describes the family of Whos who are the complete opposite of the Grinch. Who will succeeds in their endeavour, the Grinch or the Whos? I will leave the rest of this delightful tale for you to read on Christmas eve.
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop – Jenny Colgan
Are you looking for a light-hearted, feel-good book you for reading at Christmas? Here is the one you have been looking for. The main character in this story is Rosie Hopkins. She moves from London to Lipton to care for her elderly grandaunt, who runs a sweet shop there. You will enjoy the life of the scenic English rural town and its charming, if nosy, inhabitants. Along with the antics of the town’s people, Rosie’s family also visits her for Christmas and adds to the interesting story line. The book is very well written and filled with characters who are sprightly and funny.
The 12 Birds of Christmas – Stephen Moss
We all know the popular ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘The 12 birds of Christmas.’ Naturalist Stephen Moss takes an interesting spin on this carol by delving in details about the British birds in our history. With brilliant anecdotes and insights, Stephen Moss weaves history, culture, bird behaviour and folklore into a compelling narrative for each species, tracing its fortunes over the past two centuries.
THE NUTCRACKER – E T A HOFFMAN
‘The Nutcracker’ is another book that is synonymous with Christmas. I must confess that, though the ballet is as famous as the book itself, the charm of reading and conjuring up the images in your mind is unparalleled. The story revolves around young Marie Stahlbaum and her favourite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, who magically comes to life. The Nutcracker then defeats the evil Mouse King and takes Marie away to the magical kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This is a book you should definitely be reading at Christmas!
ONE DAY IN DECEMBER – JOSIE SILVER
This fabulous love story in set in London in December. A chance meeting with a stranger leaves Laurie searching London for him, believing that if it was meant to be, they would meet again. And meet again they do – though not in the way Laurie expected. Do you want some company reading this story? Check out the GWT book club! ‘One Day in December’ is, fittingly, the book we’ll be reading in December.