Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favourite Holiday Read

Do you have books you just have to read every holiday season? I don't know about you, but I'm a huge seasonal reader. September is my new kid at school book, the road trips books are for over the summer and each December I crack open some lifelong favourites, all with a seasonal theme of course.

My absolute favourite one of these books is Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories. I remember I received this book as a Christmas present from my parents when I was about eight years old and have been reading it yearly ever since. Maybe it's just my Canadian childhood talking, but there's something cozy and comforting about L. M. Montgomery's writing. She tells stories that have withstood the test of time and remain beloved years after they were first published. Reading Christmas with Anne immediately takes me back to those childhood memories; reading by the fire, in front of the tree, sharing the stories with my grandparents. There's something so nice about revisiting these stories and the memories that go along with them year after year.

The collection of short stories begins with a chapter from Anne of Green Gables. It's Anne's first Christmas at Green Gables and she desperately wants puffed sleeves which Marilla sees as a waste, but Matthew knows that they're in fashion and desperately important to Anne and sees that she has them on Christmas morning. It's a classic chapter that creates immediate memories with me and so many of my friends. It's just a touching tale.

The rest of the short stories are lesser known, mainly published in magazines, but that doesn't mean their lessons are any less important or sweet. Each story centers on Christmas or New Year's and often features those who have very little, but either share or make do. These are all stories about coming together to celebrate the season as a family and community and they really do just warm the soul.

A personal favourite of mine is entitled The Joseph's Christmas and is about a fairly poor family living on the prairies. They all scheme and create so that they can have the best Christmas possible with their meager resources, making each other gifts out of household items and things found in nature. A benevolent guest spends the night after getting caught in the snow and decides to help the family out. It's the kind of heartwarming story you wished happened more often in life so that nobody would go without.

I'm sure some out their would find these stories saccharine. They are from a different era, where at least the writing was more innocent if not the actual times. These stories give me hope and take me to my own childhood though and I can't help but love them. Does anybody else have any childhood favourites that they revisit each year?

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