Melanie’s “My Thoughts Monday” #4
*NOTE: I chose to focus on the Christmas holiday only because this is what I personally celebrate and have the most familiarity with, this does not in any way mean that I don’t respect or value any other holidays which are celebrated during this time of year.*
In the words of a popular Christmas song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” So in honor of “My Thoughts Monday,” I wanted to do a post focusing on the idea of Christmas themed reads – books/novels/stories which take place during the winter holiday season which can be shared with your children, or your own inner child if you don’t have kids.
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
I have always had a soft spot for the books of Dr. Seuss, I grew up reading them and I have shared them with my daughter as she has grown up. How the Grinch Stole Christmas has always been one of my favorite books of the Christmas season because it does an excellent job of embodying what the true meaning of Christmas really is in a way that children can understand. It isn’t about the materialistic – the food, the decorations, or even the gifts, it is about hope, joy, and love. One of the best parts is to read the book and then to watch the animated feature of the same name – it is so much fun seeing the book come to life in such a stunning way.
Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express
I haven’t read this story as often as I have read the story of the Grinch, but I recall reading it when I was in elementary school. As an adult, I have come to find the story of Santa Clause to be an odd tradition. We, as parents, tell our children this story of an omniscient man who lives at the North Pole where he fashions toys for all of the good children of the world with the help of elves and delivers them via a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer – we tell them this all in an attempt to help coax better behavior from them. Regardless of the purpose behind the story of Santa Clause, this book’s story is wonderfully told and the pictures are beautiful as it follows a young boy on his mysterious trip to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole where he is gifted a single bell from the harnesses of the reindeer which can only be heard by those who truly believe. The book’s famous last line is: “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” Children truly are special in their ability to believe in magic amid a world that seems so devoid of it.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters From Father Christmas
I’ll admit this doesn’t jump out as some sort of immediately recognized holiday read, but the premise is incredibly adorable. The synopsis reads:
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or some sketches.
The letters were from Father Christmas.
They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents everywhere; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house.
Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humor to the stories.
This is just an adorable idea that any parent can do with their children, but what makes this so interesting and special is experiencing the exchange between one of the most famed and prolific fantasy fiction writers and his own children. This is definitely one that I will be looking to add to my collection and looking to share with my daughter while she is still young enough to believe in the miracle of Santa Clause’s North Pole and Christmas.
What are some of your favorite holiday reads? What are your favorite childhood stories? Have you read any new holiday favorites? I would love to hear from you and possibly add some of your favorites to my own list!
Happy Holidays to everyone!