I have a soft spot for Christmas stories. No doubt it stems from the fact that each year around this time my mom would read us Santa Mouse . . .
Originally published in 1966, it is the story of a lonely wee mouse who lived all alone in a big ol’ house. It’s the sweetest of tales, with the sweetest of illustrations.
And can I just tell you? It warms my heart they kept the original cover illustration for the reprint (2011). Just seeing that cover makes my Christmas brighter . . .
Of course, as I grew older, it became all about the Dickens’ Christmas stories . . .
Specifically, I tend to cycle through A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, and The Chimes. No doubt you know A Christmas Carol—the infamous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
The Cricket on the Hearth is the story of friends and family, acquaintances and a stranger, deceit and true love. There is, of course, a miser (this one employs a toymaker) and a hint of intrigue. It brings to mind a Shakespearean comedy—only, you know, more Dickens.
Then there’s The Chimes. This is a tale of a poor, old ticket porter who has lost all hope. So he’s called by church bells, visited by goblins, and instructed on the human spirit through a series of visions. As you might guess, The Chimes preaches a moral message, much like A Christmas Carol.
I can’t quite recall where I picked up An Irish Christmas Feast, but I’m glad I did . . .
It contains more than fifty short stories of Irish playwright and novelist John B. Keane. These tales offer a peak at the inhabitants of County Kerry, Ireland. Some offer humor, others a bit of melancholia, but they’re all positively delightful.
The Great American Christmas Book from The Overlook Press came home with me for the cover, alone . . .
What can I say? I’m a sucker for vintage loveliness. Thankfully, the innards are some good times, as well. Housed within the covers are short stories, sure, but also recipes, carols and traditions of Christmas past. It’s a good reminder to make the most of season.
A couple years ago, I adopted A Medieval Christmas . . .
It is the Christmas story (Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition), illustrated with miniatures from the Book of Hours, courtesy of The British Library. It’s a mere twenty-eight pages, but they are filled with the works of the great masters of the Middle Ages. The illustrations are stunning—and the information regarding them is interesting, too.
There are they—the Christmas books that have made their way into my life (thus far) and made themselves quite at home. They’re books that make the holidays a bit brighter, just by sitting on the shelf—but they’re also books I revisit, nearly every year. I guess you might say they are as much a part of the festivity as mistletoe and lights.