Favorite Holiday Tales

Bw_angel111_1 Thursday, and Susan Sarah here, thinking about the holidays…well, trying not to think about them, what with one case of laryngitis/two approaching deadlines/three kids home from college/four packages to mail/fiiiiive gazillion presents to wrap…(and that partridge in a pear tree…).

When my kids were younger, a little tradition developed. Every year I’d buy them a new book or two at the holidays, which they could open days before Christmas, and we’d sit together and read the new stories that week (and beyond, through the winter and endlessly, regardless of season, if it became a favorite). Over the years, we have acquired quite a collection of Christmas-themed books, including Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Tazewell’s The Littlest Angel, Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, Tolkein’s Letters from Father Christmas, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, and my middle son’s absolute all-time favorite, Little Dracula’s Christmas by Martin Waddell (this book is a hoot), and there were so many more. I read The Polar Express and the Grinch so often that I could recite them in my sleep, and probably still could.

Christmasholly This is a great tradition in our family, and continues even now that they’re grown. I remember sitting all snuggly with my boys, the Christmas tree lights softly glowing in the background, the older one listening intently, the youngest dozing on my shoulder, the middle guy tickling the sleepy one….

Some of our favorite lines:

Dr. Seuss:
"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! / Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason." 

Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever:
   
“The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.”

Or one of my favorites, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, with the poetic wildness of Dylan Thomas:

Pissaro_knoyle_church "But here a small boy says: ‘It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.’
‘But that was not the same snow,’ I say. ‘Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.’"

Or another favorite with my kids, the very delightful A Cajun Night Before Christmas, written by Trosclair, with its Bayou beat:

"De chirren been nezzle/Good snug on de flo’/An’ Mama pass de pepper/t’ru de crack on de do’…"

My three guys are older now, but if I come across a good Christmas book, I’ll still buy a copy for them. Last year the favorite in our house was Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel, which opens:

"Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing…."

Christopher Moore (who is always a big hit in our house) wrote a raucous and touching Christmas tale that was soon dog-eared from being passed around from son to son and then lent out to friends, so we bought another copy for the permanent collection.

So our Christmas tradition carries on, and this year I’m still looking for a new favorite for my college kids. I’m hoping you’ll have suggestions!

Stockingful11ofjoy Many holiday stories appeal to all ages and genders, crossing boundaries and becoming classics and favorites. And romance readers who also love Christmas stories are especially lucky–every year we can always find new Christmas stories. One of my novellas, “The Snow Rose” in A Stockingful of Joy, centers not on Christmas but on New Year’s Day and the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay and the First-footer (Edith also wrote a story about the First-footer, and maybe we can convince her to tell us more about it). I’m sure all the Wenches have written more than one holiday tale by now.

How about you all? What favorite holiday stories hold happy memories, and/or sum up the meaning, the atmosphere, and the magic of the holidays for you? It may be a children’s story, a historical romance, or something else.

Please share with us! I have a wide shelf of Christmas books that I’d love to add again to this year….

Merry Happy to all!
May your holiday celebrations, whatever they may be, bring you peace and joy, and may 2007 be filled with dreams come true….Complimentsseason

      ~Susan Sarah      Brightnewyear   

52 thoughts on “Favorite Holiday Tales”

  1. My favorite Christmas tale, other than The Night Before Christmas, is Mr. Willoughby’s’ Christmas Tree. I still love it.
    One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season has always been the Christmas historical/Regency anthologies. They’re getting harder to find. Of course I’m shattered to learn that Christmas in the Regency period was not a big deal. Sniffle. But I keep those anthologies – with some of your names on them! – and reread them every year. I dearly love anthologies anyway; I get all those I find in the types of romance stories I prefer.
    I hope all the Wenches and Wenchlings have a wonderful holiday! Reading this blog has been a great pleasure to me this year, and I look forward to reading more blogs – and books – by the Wenches in ’07.

    Reply
  2. My favorite Christmas tale, other than The Night Before Christmas, is Mr. Willoughby’s’ Christmas Tree. I still love it.
    One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season has always been the Christmas historical/Regency anthologies. They’re getting harder to find. Of course I’m shattered to learn that Christmas in the Regency period was not a big deal. Sniffle. But I keep those anthologies – with some of your names on them! – and reread them every year. I dearly love anthologies anyway; I get all those I find in the types of romance stories I prefer.
    I hope all the Wenches and Wenchlings have a wonderful holiday! Reading this blog has been a great pleasure to me this year, and I look forward to reading more blogs – and books – by the Wenches in ’07.

    Reply
  3. My favorite Christmas tale, other than The Night Before Christmas, is Mr. Willoughby’s’ Christmas Tree. I still love it.
    One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season has always been the Christmas historical/Regency anthologies. They’re getting harder to find. Of course I’m shattered to learn that Christmas in the Regency period was not a big deal. Sniffle. But I keep those anthologies – with some of your names on them! – and reread them every year. I dearly love anthologies anyway; I get all those I find in the types of romance stories I prefer.
    I hope all the Wenches and Wenchlings have a wonderful holiday! Reading this blog has been a great pleasure to me this year, and I look forward to reading more blogs – and books – by the Wenches in ’07.

    Reply
  4. My favorite Christmas tale, other than The Night Before Christmas, is Mr. Willoughby’s’ Christmas Tree. I still love it.
    One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season has always been the Christmas historical/Regency anthologies. They’re getting harder to find. Of course I’m shattered to learn that Christmas in the Regency period was not a big deal. Sniffle. But I keep those anthologies – with some of your names on them! – and reread them every year. I dearly love anthologies anyway; I get all those I find in the types of romance stories I prefer.
    I hope all the Wenches and Wenchlings have a wonderful holiday! Reading this blog has been a great pleasure to me this year, and I look forward to reading more blogs – and books – by the Wenches in ’07.

    Reply
  5. What a lovely Christmas book custom, Susan! Lucky princes. (I assume that’s the correct designation for the sons of the Kings. :))
    I love holiday stories, and the more sappy, the better! ‘Tis the season for warm, fuzzy fun.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  6. What a lovely Christmas book custom, Susan! Lucky princes. (I assume that’s the correct designation for the sons of the Kings. :))
    I love holiday stories, and the more sappy, the better! ‘Tis the season for warm, fuzzy fun.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  7. What a lovely Christmas book custom, Susan! Lucky princes. (I assume that’s the correct designation for the sons of the Kings. :))
    I love holiday stories, and the more sappy, the better! ‘Tis the season for warm, fuzzy fun.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  8. What a lovely Christmas book custom, Susan! Lucky princes. (I assume that’s the correct designation for the sons of the Kings. :))
    I love holiday stories, and the more sappy, the better! ‘Tis the season for warm, fuzzy fun.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  9. One of my favorite Christmas books is one my mother had, first published in 1943. It’s The Good Little Christmas tree, by Ursula Moray Williams. It’s a lovely story and it has the most magical bold bright paper-cut illustrations that I adored as a child and still do as an adult.
    I looked on the net and found a site showing some of these papercuts, which were done by the author.
    http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/w/williamsm/w.htm
    They’re still magical.

    Reply
  10. One of my favorite Christmas books is one my mother had, first published in 1943. It’s The Good Little Christmas tree, by Ursula Moray Williams. It’s a lovely story and it has the most magical bold bright paper-cut illustrations that I adored as a child and still do as an adult.
    I looked on the net and found a site showing some of these papercuts, which were done by the author.
    http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/w/williamsm/w.htm
    They’re still magical.

    Reply
  11. One of my favorite Christmas books is one my mother had, first published in 1943. It’s The Good Little Christmas tree, by Ursula Moray Williams. It’s a lovely story and it has the most magical bold bright paper-cut illustrations that I adored as a child and still do as an adult.
    I looked on the net and found a site showing some of these papercuts, which were done by the author.
    http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/w/williamsm/w.htm
    They’re still magical.

    Reply
  12. One of my favorite Christmas books is one my mother had, first published in 1943. It’s The Good Little Christmas tree, by Ursula Moray Williams. It’s a lovely story and it has the most magical bold bright paper-cut illustrations that I adored as a child and still do as an adult.
    I looked on the net and found a site showing some of these papercuts, which were done by the author.
    http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/w/williamsm/w.htm
    They’re still magical.

    Reply
  13. Hey Susan/Sarah!
    What a wonderful Christmas tradition… and what a great way to keep your princes reading.
    My favorite Christmas story/book falls in the ‘other’ category. It starts out…”It all happened in a most remarkable moment. A moment like no other.” (THE GIFT, by Max Lucado)
    –Nina

    Reply
  14. Hey Susan/Sarah!
    What a wonderful Christmas tradition… and what a great way to keep your princes reading.
    My favorite Christmas story/book falls in the ‘other’ category. It starts out…”It all happened in a most remarkable moment. A moment like no other.” (THE GIFT, by Max Lucado)
    –Nina

    Reply
  15. Hey Susan/Sarah!
    What a wonderful Christmas tradition… and what a great way to keep your princes reading.
    My favorite Christmas story/book falls in the ‘other’ category. It starts out…”It all happened in a most remarkable moment. A moment like no other.” (THE GIFT, by Max Lucado)
    –Nina

    Reply
  16. Hey Susan/Sarah!
    What a wonderful Christmas tradition… and what a great way to keep your princes reading.
    My favorite Christmas story/book falls in the ‘other’ category. It starts out…”It all happened in a most remarkable moment. A moment like no other.” (THE GIFT, by Max Lucado)
    –Nina

    Reply
  17. I have to confess that the old animated TV special “The Little Drummer Boy” (the one narrated by Greer Garson) just makes me weep every time I see it. And I know all the words to all the songs in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special, too.
    If we’re talking more elevated literature, I have always been moved by WH Auden’s long series of poems entitled “For the Time Being.” One year I participated in a dramatic reading of it, which was very moving. It captures for me the spirit and the spirituality of the Christmas season–as well as my post-modern cynicism and ambivalence.
    I have loved all of your posts these last couple of days. They have been food for my soul.
    Holiday blessings to all of you–and thank you for your writing, which is the best gift of all.

    Reply
  18. I have to confess that the old animated TV special “The Little Drummer Boy” (the one narrated by Greer Garson) just makes me weep every time I see it. And I know all the words to all the songs in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special, too.
    If we’re talking more elevated literature, I have always been moved by WH Auden’s long series of poems entitled “For the Time Being.” One year I participated in a dramatic reading of it, which was very moving. It captures for me the spirit and the spirituality of the Christmas season–as well as my post-modern cynicism and ambivalence.
    I have loved all of your posts these last couple of days. They have been food for my soul.
    Holiday blessings to all of you–and thank you for your writing, which is the best gift of all.

    Reply
  19. I have to confess that the old animated TV special “The Little Drummer Boy” (the one narrated by Greer Garson) just makes me weep every time I see it. And I know all the words to all the songs in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special, too.
    If we’re talking more elevated literature, I have always been moved by WH Auden’s long series of poems entitled “For the Time Being.” One year I participated in a dramatic reading of it, which was very moving. It captures for me the spirit and the spirituality of the Christmas season–as well as my post-modern cynicism and ambivalence.
    I have loved all of your posts these last couple of days. They have been food for my soul.
    Holiday blessings to all of you–and thank you for your writing, which is the best gift of all.

    Reply
  20. I have to confess that the old animated TV special “The Little Drummer Boy” (the one narrated by Greer Garson) just makes me weep every time I see it. And I know all the words to all the songs in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special, too.
    If we’re talking more elevated literature, I have always been moved by WH Auden’s long series of poems entitled “For the Time Being.” One year I participated in a dramatic reading of it, which was very moving. It captures for me the spirit and the spirituality of the Christmas season–as well as my post-modern cynicism and ambivalence.
    I have loved all of your posts these last couple of days. They have been food for my soul.
    Holiday blessings to all of you–and thank you for your writing, which is the best gift of all.

    Reply
  21. haha, i think i was the one who dog-eared “the stupidest angel”… ah well.
    merry christmas mrs. king! i’ll be hanging around for some more christmas memories!

    Reply
  22. haha, i think i was the one who dog-eared “the stupidest angel”… ah well.
    merry christmas mrs. king! i’ll be hanging around for some more christmas memories!

    Reply
  23. haha, i think i was the one who dog-eared “the stupidest angel”… ah well.
    merry christmas mrs. king! i’ll be hanging around for some more christmas memories!

    Reply
  24. haha, i think i was the one who dog-eared “the stupidest angel”… ah well.
    merry christmas mrs. king! i’ll be hanging around for some more christmas memories!

    Reply
  25. We too are a Christmas-book reading family throughout every December; it is a tradition that stretches to the third generation now.
    A book I remember my mother reading to me that she loved from her own childhood is The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin, who is better known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I still have the book that was my mother’s. Some of the grands’ current favorites are The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Olive, the Other Reindeer, and Louise Moeri’s Star Mother’s Youngest Child. The latter is a particularly lovely story.
    I am also a great rereader of my favorite Christmas romances. Among those that I have already reread this season are Jo’s Christmas Angel and Winter Fire, Mary Jo’s Christmas Revels, and eight Signet Regency Christmas anthologies–most of which include a story by Edith. Carla Kelly’s Christmas stories are also great favorites.

    Reply
  26. We too are a Christmas-book reading family throughout every December; it is a tradition that stretches to the third generation now.
    A book I remember my mother reading to me that she loved from her own childhood is The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin, who is better known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I still have the book that was my mother’s. Some of the grands’ current favorites are The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Olive, the Other Reindeer, and Louise Moeri’s Star Mother’s Youngest Child. The latter is a particularly lovely story.
    I am also a great rereader of my favorite Christmas romances. Among those that I have already reread this season are Jo’s Christmas Angel and Winter Fire, Mary Jo’s Christmas Revels, and eight Signet Regency Christmas anthologies–most of which include a story by Edith. Carla Kelly’s Christmas stories are also great favorites.

    Reply
  27. We too are a Christmas-book reading family throughout every December; it is a tradition that stretches to the third generation now.
    A book I remember my mother reading to me that she loved from her own childhood is The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin, who is better known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I still have the book that was my mother’s. Some of the grands’ current favorites are The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Olive, the Other Reindeer, and Louise Moeri’s Star Mother’s Youngest Child. The latter is a particularly lovely story.
    I am also a great rereader of my favorite Christmas romances. Among those that I have already reread this season are Jo’s Christmas Angel and Winter Fire, Mary Jo’s Christmas Revels, and eight Signet Regency Christmas anthologies–most of which include a story by Edith. Carla Kelly’s Christmas stories are also great favorites.

    Reply
  28. We too are a Christmas-book reading family throughout every December; it is a tradition that stretches to the third generation now.
    A book I remember my mother reading to me that she loved from her own childhood is The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin, who is better known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I still have the book that was my mother’s. Some of the grands’ current favorites are The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Olive, the Other Reindeer, and Louise Moeri’s Star Mother’s Youngest Child. The latter is a particularly lovely story.
    I am also a great rereader of my favorite Christmas romances. Among those that I have already reread this season are Jo’s Christmas Angel and Winter Fire, Mary Jo’s Christmas Revels, and eight Signet Regency Christmas anthologies–most of which include a story by Edith. Carla Kelly’s Christmas stories are also great favorites.

    Reply
  29. Thanks AgTigress, for that link to Ursula Moray Williams’s obituary.
    What a splendid writing life she had.
    I don’t know the books mentioned in the obit, but will hunt them out.

    Reply
  30. Thanks AgTigress, for that link to Ursula Moray Williams’s obituary.
    What a splendid writing life she had.
    I don’t know the books mentioned in the obit, but will hunt them out.

    Reply
  31. Thanks AgTigress, for that link to Ursula Moray Williams’s obituary.
    What a splendid writing life she had.
    I don’t know the books mentioned in the obit, but will hunt them out.

    Reply
  32. Thanks AgTigress, for that link to Ursula Moray Williams’s obituary.
    What a splendid writing life she had.
    I don’t know the books mentioned in the obit, but will hunt them out.

    Reply
  33. Have you read Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. When I was teaching, I used to read it from a collection of short stories by Rylant, but a couple of years ago it came out in picture book. After reading it, I would have the kids write about what their gift to the world would be when they grew up. We would write on a square of paper which we covered with another square of silver paper and used red ribbon and a bow to make it look like a “silver package. The kids then took it home to hang on their tree. I hope they look back at that when they are older and remember the story.
    I also love McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells. Westies are so cute and I loved that little book for Christmas. Two Christmases ago, my husband gifted me with a Westie of my own, whom we named MacLeod. When we received his AKC papers we learned his grandfather’s name was McDuff!

    Reply
  34. Have you read Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. When I was teaching, I used to read it from a collection of short stories by Rylant, but a couple of years ago it came out in picture book. After reading it, I would have the kids write about what their gift to the world would be when they grew up. We would write on a square of paper which we covered with another square of silver paper and used red ribbon and a bow to make it look like a “silver package. The kids then took it home to hang on their tree. I hope they look back at that when they are older and remember the story.
    I also love McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells. Westies are so cute and I loved that little book for Christmas. Two Christmases ago, my husband gifted me with a Westie of my own, whom we named MacLeod. When we received his AKC papers we learned his grandfather’s name was McDuff!

    Reply
  35. Have you read Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. When I was teaching, I used to read it from a collection of short stories by Rylant, but a couple of years ago it came out in picture book. After reading it, I would have the kids write about what their gift to the world would be when they grew up. We would write on a square of paper which we covered with another square of silver paper and used red ribbon and a bow to make it look like a “silver package. The kids then took it home to hang on their tree. I hope they look back at that when they are older and remember the story.
    I also love McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells. Westies are so cute and I loved that little book for Christmas. Two Christmases ago, my husband gifted me with a Westie of my own, whom we named MacLeod. When we received his AKC papers we learned his grandfather’s name was McDuff!

    Reply
  36. Have you read Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. When I was teaching, I used to read it from a collection of short stories by Rylant, but a couple of years ago it came out in picture book. After reading it, I would have the kids write about what their gift to the world would be when they grew up. We would write on a square of paper which we covered with another square of silver paper and used red ribbon and a bow to make it look like a “silver package. The kids then took it home to hang on their tree. I hope they look back at that when they are older and remember the story.
    I also love McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells. Westies are so cute and I loved that little book for Christmas. Two Christmases ago, my husband gifted me with a Westie of my own, whom we named MacLeod. When we received his AKC papers we learned his grandfather’s name was McDuff!

    Reply

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