A lot of us have holiday traditions, and as a reader and writer, I have a few book traditions, too. Some of these I’ve rediscovered recently, and some of them I read every year. Each one of these books means something significant to me during the holidays, either in the past or now, and I’m really excited to share them with you!
A Christmas Carol
I remember being in school and reading this so often. I think my teachers read this to us every year in elementary school and sometimes we’d go to the North Shore Music Theatre to watch it as a field trip. I remember the ghost of Bob Marley coming down the aisles a foot away from me and thinking it was amazing. It was literature come to life and I loved every second of it even as my fellow classmates were bored out of their minds.
As an adult, and after becoming intensely interested in history, I began to just appreciate Charles Dickens in general around Christmas time. There’s something about the idea of a classic Victorian Christmas that gives me extra Christmas spirit and it might be because a lot of our modern ideas of Christmas come from that time period and authors like Dickens.
A few years ago Edaville Railroad (an amusement park in Carver, MA that does a Christmas lights display that is a family tradition of mine) turned their entrance village into a Dickens Christmas village. My English teacher dad and I were SO excited about picking out all the references and characters. I mostly enjoyed ducking into the shops to see the old-fashioned toys and candies they had managed to find and stock amongst their modern items.
The Christmas Carol will always feel like a classic Victorian ideal of Christmas to me and I like to revisit Dickens every few years for my English major and history buff heart.
Check out my blog post on Victorian Christmas traditions here.
The Polar Express
This is going to be really controversial but– The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas movie. The plot and the score just underline what Christmas means to me and make me feel Christmas warmth inside, so obviously, the book is one of my favorites to go back to year after year.
I’ve always been a believer in the Spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus even as an adult. That being I believe in the power of giving during the holidays and the impact we make on people. The Polar Express embodies that for me.
When I was little in dance classes my grandmother took me to see the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet. She had given me the book way back before I can remember and I would pour over the brightly colored photographs of the dancers and the Nutcracker doll. Even now as an adult I look at the expensive nutcrackers in stores and promise myself that one year I’ll have enough money to get one.
To me this book embodies childhood and especially childhood at Christmas. It reminds me of how much I loved dance and reading as a child and that feeling of complete faith that Christmas magic does exist.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
This book very much brings memories of my sister to mind. We had a classic copy on our bookshelf when we were kids and I read it to her every Christmas Eve until I left for college. I loved reading this book because it was the first book I even learned how to read. I had memorized the poem and would go word by word through the book teaching myself to read so I was very confident and insisted on reading it every year. Even as we got too old for bedtimes stories on Christmas Eve we had our own tradition and we would curl up in our room and read, just the two of us together. I might have to Skype her this year and remind her of our tradition.
What stories hold holiday memories for you? Leave them in the comments!