Picture this: There's a cozy fire burning in the fireplace, and you're sitting snuggled under a warm quilt with a hot cup of tea at your side. A sleepy cat is purring contentedly in your lap as Christmas music plays softly in the background. The lights on the tree are twinkling; perhaps a lovely, scented candle is burning. Perfect.
There's only one thing missing.
A good book to read.
This time of year, I like to curl up and re-read some of my favorite Christmas stories.
If you've never read Miss Read, please do. Christmas at Fairacre is a delight. She writes simple, heartwarming stories set in quaint English villages peopled with a cast of lovable and eccentric characters. I have several Miss Read books on my shelf to enjoy this winter. Here is a picture from the book . . .
Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery is also delightful. It's a collection of Christmas stories from many of the books by the author of the well-loved Anne of Green Gables. Of course, it contains the charming story of shy and awkward Matthew making sure his Anne gets a dress with puffed sleeves for Christmas!
I haven't yet read I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge. Our book club is reading this over our Christmas break. I love Elizabeth Goudge, so I'm sure I will enjoy this.
I like to put out some of our favorite Christmas stories for children.
This was a favorite, and I like to read it myself now . . .
It is by Barbara Helen Berger. The colors are rich and gorgeous. The story is told from the point of view of the donkey who carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
The donkey has been dreaming of what he is carrying on his long journey. He dreams of a city, a fountain, a rose, a lady full of heaven. When they finally get to the stable, the donkey is left outside to drink some water. He is weary. But then, Joseph comes to get him and leads him in to the stable. Mary smiles at him and says, "Come, see what we have carried all this way, you and I."
We always read the classic The Night Before Christmas to our children, and I especially love the Victorian house and setting of this version illustrated by Cheryl Harness . . .
|. . . while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads . . .|
Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach is a lovely book that takes you through the year, with wonderful, old-fashioned ideas for enjoying seasonal pleasures and holidays, with a Victorian flavor. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, though not a Christmas story per se, starts out with a line I remember vividly from childhood, having read this book many times.
A delightful illustration of the four March girls by Tasha Tudor . . .
Here's a picture from Mrs. Sharp's Traditions . . .
And I always have to see what Edith Holden is up to in A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. The book is divided into the months of the year, and contains beautifully handwritten poems and journal entries about the natural world, and her detailed, realistic drawings.
Of course, there are so many other good Christmas books to read, including the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.
Do you have a favorite Christmas book? Please share; I'd love to know.