Best holiday books for families to read
Reading a holiday book as a family often brings more holiday spirit to the season. It allows for families to spend time together and the opportunity for children of all ages to enjoy some of the greatest holiday books.
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The classics delight
Favorite holiday books from past generations continue to delight children of all ages today. Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. The book went to publication just in time for Christmas that same year.
Ebenezer Scrooge cares only about himself and his money. He dislikes holidays, particularly Christmas. He gave poor, overworked Bob Cratchit the day off on Christmas only because it was custom. Cratchit received such low wages that the family could not afford treatment for “Tiny Tim,” Cratchit’s seriously ill son.
Scrooge goes to sleep Christmas Eve night and receives a visit from former partner Jacob Marley, who hopes to save Scrooge from the consequences of his miserly ways, as Marley now suffers. He tells Scrooge he will receive visits from three ghosts.
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future come to Scrooge and finally convince Scrooge to change. Scrooge shows kindness towards others and celebrates Christmas with great holiday spirit.
“Twas the Night Before Christmas,” written in 1822 by Clement Clark Moore, is actually a poem. The book, sometimes called “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” gives children of all ages the opportunity to enjoy a holiday classic.
The poem tells the story of a man who, along with his wife, just settled in for the night on Christmas Eve. The children sleep peacefully, with “Visions of sugar-plums” dancing in their heads. Suddenly the man hears a loud clatter and springs to the window to investigate. What he sees transforms his beliefs about Santa Claus.
Initially, Moore asked that the poem be published anonymously, but finally claimed ownership as the author in 1844.
Newer holiday books offer great reading fun for families
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” written in 2004 by Dr. Seuss, tells the story of The Grinch, who hates Christmas. The Whos in Whoville are quite the opposite. They love Christmas. All their celebrating and Christmas festivities annoy the Grinch, who develops what he considers an ingenious plan.
The Grinch decides to impersonate Santy Claus and steal all the Christmas presents. Not only does the Grinch go down the chimneys of all of Whoville’s residents and steal their presents, he steals their food, decorations and logs from their fires. Imagine the surprise when the Grinch hears singing on Christmas in Whoville anyway, after he stole all the “things” that he thought meant so much to the residents of Whoville.
The lesson is that Christmas means more than just “things” purchased at the store. Although the Grinch stole all the presents and decorations, the families of Whoville still had each other and celebrated Christmas anyway.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” from “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, is a wonderful story that children and adults seem to enjoy. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is vivid enough to envision wonderful images of the story. The book has black-and-white pictures of scenes from the movie. The paperback is just 80 pages and includes chapter 1 from another Narnia book to entice readers into further Narnia reading.
Eight-year-old Lucy Pevensie, her older sister Susan, older brother Peter and brother Edmund go to live with Professor Kirke when their father goes off to fight in the war. Their mother decided to keep the children safe by sending them to stay with Professor Kirke.
While playing hide-and-seek to deal with their boredom, Lucy decided to hide in a wardrobe. Ahead of her in the large wardrobe, Lucy followed a tiny light. She stepped out into Narnia, where it was snowing. She then met a goat-man who introduced himself as Tumnus, a “Faun.”
Lucy and Mr. Tumnus quickly became friends and over tea and hot cakes, Mr. Tumnus explains that it snowed continuously for one-hundred years in Narnia, without Christmas. What followed is a tale of faith, betrayal, the search for Aslan the mighty lion and a tale of battling the evil White Witch.
Lucy meets Father Christmas, who tells Lucy and her siblings, “The hope you have brought us, your majesties (referring to Lucy and her siblings) is finally weakening the witches’ magic.” He then pulls presents from a bag in his sleigh, which will help Lucy and her siblings as they prepare to defeat the evil White Witch. Christmas finally comes to Narnia with the seasons finally changing, as they should.
Whether your family prefers classic Christmas stories or newer holiday tales, reading holiday books offers the opportunity for invaluable family time spent together as well as contributing to holiday fun. When you give a holiday book to someone on your gift list, you give the proverbial “Gift that keeps on giving.”
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