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Here we are again in the middle of December, the height of the Christmas season. For me, the time from November 1st to January 1st is jam-packed with Christmas music, lights, movies, food, and hopefully lots of snow to set the mood. Getting my fill of the holiday to last me until the next November 1st is serious, focused work.

Music, movies, and food are ubiquitous during the holiday season, but what about Christmas stories? Yes, it’s likely difficult to slow down for a quiet activity like reading. But it’s another way to enjoy this special season if you’re able to take the time.

Everyone knows the story of the Nativity, A Christmas Carol, and “Twas the Night before Christmas.” As well known as the stories are, people seldom take the time to actually read them. But you should! I notice something new every time I read one of the familiar stories. Every Christmas season, I pull out my old and new favorites to enjoy.

Journey into Christmas. I found this copy last January at a used book store and saved it all year to read this Christmas. Bess Streeter Aldrich is one of my favorite authors. If you enjoy cozy stories about home and family, I highly recommend her writing. Some of the stories are excerpts from her longer novels but others are stand-alone short stories. This is a collection of just her Christmas-themed stories–old-fashioned vignettes of family and simple living. I read “Youth is all of an Up and Coming” for the first time last night and the ending took me by surprise. My, my, such a scandal!

Did you know that Charles Dickens wrote more Christmas stories than A Christmas Carol? I have this particular beast of a book that my husband bought me, but you can get a similar edition here. (And if you like the e-reader format, you can get the ebook here for a song.)  The book includes The Chimes, which I have in a separate, antique edition titled Christmas Stories. I’ve started it several times, but this will be the year I read the whole thing, I’ve told myself.

Another of my favorite discoveries is this little ebook gem, called Evergreen Christmas Readings. This bargain has everything Christmas–stories, poems, and carols, all by classic authors. The collection includes authors I know, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lousia May Alcott and it’s introduced me to many “new” authors of the past. I even found a story I’ve long looked for but didn’t know the title, called “Papa Panov’s Special Christmas” by Leo Tolstoy.  It will take me years to read through this collection, but that’s perfect. By the time I finish I can start all over again.

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