Proclaimed as fact by Andy Williams in his classic Christmas song by the same name, you’ll find precious few individuals who would care to disagree.
In fact, as I sat contentedly on the couch last week, enjoying the wintry weather that had finally paid us a brief visit, and craving a fire in the fireplace, I reflected that it truly is a magical time.
The spirit of the season – whatever your “season” may be – just seems to bring out the best in people. Folks are a little slower to anger, and more apt to lend a hand to their neighbor. It is a time to hold our loved ones close, and be mindful that while things are sure to go wrong from time to time, there is most assuredly much more that is going right.
Plus, the little nip that creeps into the air allows us Southern Californians the opportunity to pretend we have a winter: donning boots and scarves, sending smoke puffing out of our chimneys, and sipping on cider or cocoa.
It also provides the perfect excuse to cuddle up and share a special story with those little people in our lives, who are certain to grow up a lot faster than we’d like.
While there is no dearth of enchanting holiday tales to choose from, the following are a few that would make great additions to any collection, and are sure to be loved by whomever you choose to share them with.
“The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher,” by Robert Kraus: Sought after for years by parents who counted reading this book among their favorite holiday memories, it was re-released in 2010 to a loyal following eager to share it with their own children. Told in rhyming verse, Kraus’ is a story about the Snitcher, a loveably naughty bird, who steals all the cookie sprinkles so the townspeople aren’t able to finish their holiday baking. A young boy sets out to find the Snitcher, and teach him about sharing, and why selflessness is better than its counterpart.
“A Wish to be a Christmas Tree,” by Colleen Monroe: Another rhyming classic, this is the story of a poor pine tree who year after year gets passed over as a Christmas tree. As he matures, he realizes that he has grown too tall, and will never be able to fulfill his dream. As he tearfully finishes his day, all his woodland friends decide to show him how special he really is. While he sleeps, they decorate him, making him their very own Christmas tree. This is a sweet story about the value of friendship and being kind to others.
“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins,” by Eric A. Kimmel: For those celebrating the Festival of Lights comes this Caldecott-winning story of Hershel of Ostropol. A tired and hungry traveler, Hershel looks forward to arriving in a nearby village, knowing the Hanukkah celebrations will be taking place, and he will be sure to get his fill of warm, fresh latkes. Much to his dismay, he finds that the villagers’ synagogue is being haunted by goblins, who are up to all sorts of mischief to ensure that Hanukkah cannot take place. Armed with mostly just his wits, Hershel sets out to take back Hanukkah, and by outsmarting the goblins, finds a way to light the candle each night. The book also includes information about the origins of Hanukkah, and how to play dreidel, making this a great book for introducing the holiday to those who may not know much about it.
Whatever you celebrate, the message in these books is the same: there is value and beauty in each of us, despite our differences and shortcomings, and as a community, we are stronger than the sum of each of our parts.
Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]