Literary traditions can help keep the Christmas spirit alive

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Each year families celebrate Christmas with their own special traditions. For the Smiths it may be an epic team-based snowball fight complete with a family trophy and lots of festive hard-earned holiday bruising. For the Joneses, it may be a day-long Christmas movie marathon during which the cocoa flows like water as everyone lazes in their jammies and recites verbatim lines from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Scrooged,” “Elf” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Some families go caroling while others engage in neighborhood decorating contests. Your family may love ice skating on Christmas Eve, but your best friend’s clan might have laser focus on the holiday feast, spending hours together in the kitchen with the bird and lots of beer.

Anymore, though, a once tried and true tradition often falls by the wayside – the reading of classic holiday tales. Long gone are the days when “father” would without fail sit in his rocker by the hearth and read eager children the reminder that Santa is on his way in “Twas’ the Night Before Christmas.” Even longer ago was a time when true bibliophiles would take five days leading up to Christmas to read each of the five staves of “A Christmas Carol” in front of a roaring fire.

Today, many kids are lucky if they hear Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” and I’d wager at least half of those kids are only exposed to the story because it’s on television, not read as a bedtime story.

So, consider this, if you’re a new family, a small family or even a newly married couple, consider the quiet charm of reading a Christmas story together and discussing the meaning behind it each night before you go to bed. You can take a novel like Dickens’ classic or even start simple with Dr. Seuss and work your way up. Either way, it’s a charming tradition that can – and should – be worked into everyone’s Christmas holiday.

Grab the kids and stop by the bookstore or pop into the library. There is a treasure trove of Christmas spirit to be had.

Have a Merry Christmas and a spirited New Year! Happy Reading!!

Other Christmas reading suggestions:

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

A Letter From Santa Claus by Mark Twain

Papa Panov’s Special Christmas by Leo Tolstoy

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May

A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

The Holy Night by Selma Lagerlof

At Christmas Time – Anton Chekhov

The Steadfast Tin Soldier – Hans Christian Anderson

The Christmas Rose – Lizzie Deas

The Nutcracker and The Mouse King by E.T.A Hoffman

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

The Christmas Cuckoo by Frances Browne

The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke

The Burglar’s Christmas by Willa Cather

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