Jessie: In New Hampshire where the houses are festooned with twinkling lights and evergreen boughs.
Every family has activities and traditions that make holidays feel like holidays and my family is no different. We decorate our dining room and kitchen with silver and purple glass balls and white candles. We wind tiny lights round the bannister. Most years I rememberers to pot up an amaryllis or two early enough to force blooms for Christmas through New Year’s Day.
We buy a live tree and wait for all four kids to be home to decorate it, an event that has gotten trickier over the years with college exams and work schedules to factor in. Often times I will make a gingerbread house or two or three.
But, as much as I love all of those things, I think the decorating I love most of all is the gathering up of the Christmas books from around the house into one location where I still read some of them aloud each year to my kids. There is just something so cheering about being swept back to other times and even places through the pages of a treasured book, especially as my family grows and changes and moves into lives of their own.
I love remembering stretching out on a top bunk reading with one of my sons who particularly loved the Horrible Harry books by Suzy Kline. I would read one page and he would read the next. He was a wriggly little guy but somehow he managed to be so engrossed in the stories of a boy, not unlike himself, that he stopped moving for just a few peaceful moments.
One of my other sons loved to be read The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by the wonderful author, David Shannon. He loved the artwork and the moral of the story even as a young child.
My youngest brought a bright glow of maternal pride to my heart when last year at this time. He asked if he could borrow a book from my shelves for a school paper. I handed him Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. He finished it in only a day and handed it back proclaiming it to be really enjoyable!
As for me, each Christmas Eve I read A Jolly Christmas at the Patterprints by Vera and Helene Nyce to my family before we head to bed for the night. I think they might be indulging me since they all know my mother read the same book to my sister and me on Christmas Eve when we were children. I feel truly blessed by their patience! I also make time, most years, to read A Redbird Christmas by Fanny Flagg. It strikes all the right notes for me this time of year!
I even find that I love to include writing about what my own fictional characters are up to for the holidays in my newsletter. I love to report on their gift-giving ideas and what all else they might be up to in preparing to celebrate the holidays that mean so much to each of them.
Readers, do you have any holiday books you love to read each year? Writers, have you ever set one of your books or stories at the holidays?