What to Read
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
From the narrator's humorous reflection on the phrase "dead as a doornail" to Tiny Tim's famous exclamation "God bless us, everyone," this story is one of the most classic Christmas stories in existence. I read this back in 8th grade, but decided to re-read it this year. Sometimes you forget just how good a book was since you read it last, am I right? This time, I was struck by how vivid the descriptions are. For example, when Scrooge is walking home from the counting house...
The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows made pale faces ruddy as they passed.
Lines like this are so full of magic. You can practically see the faces of passersby being illumined by the lamplight. One more thing I love about A Christmas Carol is how the chapters are called staves, just as in a piece of music. :) Read it here.
The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen
I've always loved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, like The Princess and the Pea, and The Ugly Duckling. This short story follows a fir tree from his place in the forest to a grand parlor, where he serves as the family Christmas tree. As with any good fable, there is a moral. Find happiness where you are right now, and don't be consumed with wants for the future. Read it here.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
A story of a husband and wife who struggle to find perfect Christmas gifts for each other. Though they have very little money, they put a great deal of love, thought and caring into their choosing their presents. Any gift, if given with love, is a wise gift. Read it here.
What to Watch
If for some reason, you have never seen this movie, I insist you watch it this year. Fantastic music by Irving Berlin, fantastic singing and dancing by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, fantastic 50's fashion (those dresses! I want them all!) Watch it. That's all I have to say.
A Christmas Story
Another family favorite, we watch it every year on Thanksgiving as we eat our pumpkin pie. We can quote just about every line, but it continues to be a yearly tradition. Oh yeah, and we have a leg lamp too :)
The Shop Around the Corner
This black-and-white romantic comedy stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It was actually the inspiration for You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, so the storyline may seem familiar.
Hope these recommendations inspire some new traditions for your family!
'Til next time,
P.S. For more Christmas celebration ideas, check out my Christmas in July post!