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Nancy Northcott | Memories of Christmas Reading

December 24, 2012

Nancy NorthcottRenegadeLiving in a cultural melting pot gives people in the U.S. a wide range of holidays and traditions to celebrate.  At our house, Christmas is the favorite.  We do the traditional things like put up a tree, wrap gifts, and decorate the house, but those aren’t our only ways to enjoy the season.  We also read.  I’m working on revisions to GUARDIAN, my second book, but I’m also making time to read holiday-themed romances.  The festive settings and happy endings add to my generally good mood.

Lately I find myself also looking back at the stories we read our son when he was small. He’s in college now, well past the age of being read to, but he seems open to the three of us reading A CHRISTMAS CAROL aloud again.  This is the dh’s favorite Christmas story.  His father read it to their family every year.

My favorite story is a shorter, simpler one, O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, so I’ll just say it’s about the depth of love at the holiday season.  I found a beautiful picture book of that story when the boy was in kindergarten.  We read it together, but now I’m back to the one in an anthology of O. Henry stories I’ve had since high school.

One of the boy’s first Christmas books, in sturdy board format, was a gift from a family friend.  CARL’S CHRISTMAS, by Alexandra Day, was an instant hit.  I think the boy liked seeing the dog and its baby pal go out and have adventures while the parents were out.  I guess it’s kind of a subversive little book in that way, but we all loved it.  We also enjoyed the fact that the book has no words, only pictures.  Each reader makes up a unique story to go with the illustrations.

When he was a little older, we picked up Peter Spier’s beautiful CHRISTMAS.  It, too, is wordless, but it has lovely, detailed pictures of a family and their town preparing for the holiday.  Again, we made up our own story.  The downside, of course, was that the boy expected it to be the same story every time.   It’s a good thing the three of us read it together frequently.

Of course, he also had the Dr. Seuss classic, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.  It was a favorite, as was the animated version of the story.  That little cartoon remains my top choice for holiday viewing.

What about you?  Are there books or movies you reach for at Christmas or during a another holiday?

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