I've never needed any aid to get into the Christmas spirit; rather I probably need something to keep me from going over the top.
This year, I became aware that books play a big part in the traditions of many familes. I know - how did such an avid reader as myself miss this? I can only assume that I was distracted by all the hall decking, the present buying and wrapping. Oh and the blissful outpouring of snow and schmaltz by Hollywood. Even though we lived in the tropics, we would watch every cinematic offering, completely rapt at the fairytale beauty of New England, with snow and happy endings - all in wonderful contrast to it being swimsuit weather outside.
I feel envy hearing tales of those who have had favourite books read to them as children, all throughout the advent season, culminating with that classic "Twas the night before Christmas" on Christmas Eve night. I look with pleasure at those who have continued that practice when they became parents themselves. There are still others who have sought out books to read entirely for their own pleasure, as adults; reads that foster thoughts of winter and the festive season. You could say this knowledge opened an entirely new box of delights for me (note to self: it really is time I read that book).
So, now I'm searching for books to read for the festive season; some which may become perennial favourites - re-read each year - others which may be just pleasant one-offs. The lovely people at Mumsnet provided a few suggestions:
A Christmas Carol - Dickens
The Christmas Mystery - Jostein Gaardner
Christmas at Great Madden - Catherine Bowness
Light on Snow - Anita Shreeve
The Hogfather - Terry Pratchett
A Christmas Party - Georgette Heyer
Christmas Stories - Anthony Trollope
Under the Greenwood Tree - Thomas Hardy
Castaway Christmas - Margaret Joyce Baker
I have just finished "A Christmas Carol" - my first read of Dickens as an adult. The story is well-known, of course, but I had no recall of the richness of the language, particularly when setting a scene. I could almost see and smell that Christmas morning as Scrooge walked among the shoppers with the Ghost of Christmas Present.
My kindle is loaded up with "The Christmas Mystery" and December doesn't start till tomorrow. So, I'm open to more suggestions, for this year, or for the ones to come. I've a lot of catching up to do ...
So, come one, come all - what are your favourite festive reads? Either in childhood, or now - all recommendations most welcome!