Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Curling Up with a Classic
For many book lovers, Christmas Eve offers the perfect opportunity to curl up with a timeless classic novel. Though new releases clamor for attention on shelves, there's something nostalgic and comforting about revisiting an old favorite tale. The familiar characters and cherished scenes wrap around you like a cozy blanket, transporting you back to the magic of first reading.
Take Charles Dickens' immortal holiday story A Christmas Carol, which has enthralled readers since 1843 with its ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. For some, it has become an annual tradition to re-read this redemptive fable of bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his path to becoming a kinder, gentler man. Curled up by the Christmas tree with a steaming mug, you can vividly imagine the Victorian streets of London and theater of Scrooge's change of heart.
Generations have also grown up with Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women, lovingly following the March sisters into womanhood. Around the holidays, it's especially moving to revisit the bonds of this close-knit family, as they overcome poverty and trials through devotion to each other. No matter your age, it's easy to find a March sister to relate to.
For an iconic look at childhood, Percy Boynton's A Christmas Story still delights both kids and adults. Who can resist young Ralphie Parker's hilarious quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts - a Red Ryder BB gun? Reconnect with your own inner child getting lost in the hijinks of Ralphie's 1940s Indiana town, as he schemes to convince the world (and his parents) that a BB gun is the perfect present.
Even classic Christmas tales first published just decades ago have already become nostalgic hallmarks for some. For Harry Potter fans, J.K. Rowling's spinoff story The Tales of Beedle the Bard hearkens back to the magical world they know and love. Readers first received this collection of wizarding children's tales as a gift along with the final novel - and on Christmas Eve, it's the perfect memento of Hogwarts to revisit.
What else is in this post?
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Curling Up with a Classic
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Revisiting Childhood Favorites
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Discovering New Stories and Worlds
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Passing Down Cherished Books
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Finding the Perfect Holiday Reads
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Reading by the Warm Glow of Lights
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Bonding Over Books with Loved Ones
- Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - The Gift of Reading on Christmas Eve
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Revisiting Childhood Favorites
For many of us, the books we loved as children hold a special place in our hearts. Even decades later, those stories can transport us back to cherished memories of being read to by a parent, teacher, or loved one. What better time than Christmas Eve to dive back into the pages of a childhood favorite?
Re-reading a book from our youth allows us to experience it again through the lens of adulthood. Details we may have glossed over as children suddenly jump out at us. Themes we couldn't grasp before now resonate on a deeper level. It's a chance to recapture the magic of these stories that shaped our early reading lives.
Beloved classics like Charlotte's Web and Where the Wild Things Are still speak to the child inside us. When we curl up with these books on Christmas Eve, vivid scenes unfold once more - Wilbur the pig frolicking with Charlotte, Max sailing off to the land of the Wild Things. The simple but profound messages about friendship, childhood fantasies, and overcoming fears feel just as relevant now as they did when we first heard them.
For some, revisiting childhood favorites offers an opportunity to share bonds across generations. Parents and children can discover new connections through reading together. Grandparents may share tattered copies they once read as children themselves. Passing along this love of reading creates priceless shared memories.
Reading aloud timeless classics like The Velveteen Rabbit and Make Way for Ducklings invites children into the wonderful worlds we discovered at their age. As young readers meet these characters for the first time, it sparks nostalgia in parents revisiting old friends. A new family tradition is born.
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Discovering New Stories and Worlds
While revisiting familiar favorites offers comfort, Christmas Eve also presents the perfect chance to discover new stories and worlds. The child-like wonder of the season makes our minds expansive, opening us to tales we've yet to encounter. New books can speak to us at the particular place we find ourselves this year.
Seeking out new holiday-themed stories allows us to experience the diversity of how different cultures celebrate. Works like Allen Say's The Christmas Cat offer a tender cross-cultural tale of an American and Japanese family bonding over their feline friend. Grace Lin's The Night Before the Night Before Christmas humorously depicts a Chinese American family honoring their traditions.
Literary fiction and memoirs also provide fresh perspectives on the holiday. Novels like Fredrik Backman's touching Anxious People show flawed yet sympathetic characters intersecting on Christmas Eve. Elizabeth Strout's Olive, Again follows prickly Olive Kitteridge at various Christmases, revealing the isolation below her gruff exterior. Memoirs like Jeannette Walls' poignant Half Broke Horses provide hard-won inspiration for the season.
While lighthearted seasonal romances flourish this time of year, Christmas Eve's contemplative spirit also accommodates weightier reads. Historical fiction transports us to vivid Yuletides of the past. Sci-fi epics like Frank Herbert's sweeping Dune restart our sense of wonder. Thrillers keep the pages frantically turning late into the night.
Reaching for new genres outside our norms shakes up our usual holiday reading. The reflective mood of the night invites us to test the waters of topics we'd usually pass by. A book of poetry by a new author intrigues. A challenging nonfiction work suddenly seems manageable.
Stepping outside beloved classics forces us out of complacency. Picking up an unfamiliar book feels akin to opening a surprise present under the tree. What new characters, conflicts and life lessons await within its pages? The snow swirling outside makes the perfect backdrop for stories yet to unfold.
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Passing Down Cherished Books
We all have memories of the books we loved as children, stories that sparked our imagination and nourished our souls. As the holidays roll around, many families make a point of passing down these treasured tales to the next generation. Sharing cherished books creates a bridge across the years, letting parents relive favorite moments while allowing children to discover hidden worlds.
Susan recalls being gifted an antique set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books one Christmas, preserved lovingly by her grandmother since the 1930s. Though the pages were yellowed and worn, it transported her back to Almanzo and Laura's pioneer existence on the prairie. Now as a parent, she reads a chapter each Christmas Eve to her daughter, watching her eyes light up at tales of maple sugar snow candy and riding in a covered wagon.
Mark still has the copy of CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe his mother used to read to him, filling his mind with visions of mythical creatures in the snowy woods of Narnia. After she passed, it became even more precious to him. Now he reads it aloud to his son Henry by the fireplace each Christmas Eve, hoping it instills the same sense of wonder in him.
For the Cabrera family, the holidays aren't complete without their multigenerational tradition of reading Judith Kerr's heartwarming The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Clara's grandmother from Spain gave her the book as a child, and now she enjoys seeing her own daughter act out the beloved tale of an unexpected tiger dropping in for tea and cake. It's a chance to celebrate their family's blend of cultures.
Having a child fall in love with a book they treasured growing up brings parents joy. But it also awakens poignant longing, as they recall hearing these stories read aloud, or devouring the pages by flashlight under the bedsheets. Passing books down thus connects families across generations through shared imaginative worlds. It allows wisdom garnered over a lifetime to be imparted from old souls to new.
Inheriting battered copies also reminds children that books are not just disposable consumer goods, but cherished companions. When Buffy received her great aunt's 1940s copy of Anne of Green Gables, seeing little penciled notes in the margin made it hit home these were once someone's trusted friends. She resolved to start writing in her books more, leaving notes for some future child to discover.
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Finding the Perfect Holiday Reads
The pressure to find the perfect holiday reads can feel daunting. With endless options vying for attention, how do you choose stories that will speak to your mood this season? Though the festive chaos threatens to overwhelm, take a deep breath - your next book soulmate awaits.
What we crave from books this time of year is comfort, inspiration, and child-like wonder. The same old genres don't always hit the spot; the reflective spirit of the holidays beckons for emotional and thematic depth. So consider what your soul longs for this season - do you need consolation in the face of loss, or cheer in gloomy times? Are you seeking motivation to become your best self, or do you just need a temporary escape from the stress of the season?
Once you identify your inner goals, think about which stories could transport you there. Helen found herself worn down and world-weary, so she sought out Anne Lamott's humorous but poignant memoir Bird by Bird for counsel on how to recapture her creativity and passion. Or maybe you need a dose of child-like joy - rummage your bookshelves for nostalgic reads like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda that enchanted your younger self.
Beyond classics, scope out literary fiction bringing nuanced perspectives on family, love, purpose, and connection. According to Millicent, guiding lights often emerge in unexpected places. She was surprised how much Jojo Moyes' earnest holiday tale The Giver of Stars buoyed her mood with its depiction of friendship and the kindness of strangers during the Depression era.
Take time to sift through fresh book recommendations, reviews, and podcasts too. Terri listened to compelling author interviews on NPR that added unknown titles like Fredrik Backman's Beartown to her to-read pile. Ask avid reader friends to suggest books they loved for the holidays.
Finally, don't judge a book by its festive cover. Some seasonal tales may prove too saccharine. But regular fiction and nonfiction can still conjure holiday spirit. Curl up with foreign classics like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera - the magical realism evokes cozy fireside contentment. Memoirs like Glennon Doyle's Untamed inspire fortitude when facing hard times and changes.
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Reading by the Warm Glow of Lights
As snow drifts down on Christmas Eve, many readers seek the warm glow of lights to accompany the tales unfolding in their hands. The radiance casts a cocoon-like ambience, separating us from the dark cold outside. Armchairs are pulled nearer lamps and a crackling fireplace. The light feels intimate yet illuminating, like the stories themselves kindling our inner life.
My friend Miranda has made reading by lamp and firelight a tradition since childhood. Growing up in Wisconsin, she'd spend every Christmas Eve bundled in a quilt, poring over books as flurries swirled outside the frosted windowpanes. The lamp's golden glow beside her created what she calls a "reading nest" - her own little world where the words flowed over her like a soothing stream.
As an adult, Miranda continues this ritual in her Boston brownstone. She keeps the overhead bulbs off, lit solely by the reading lamp and her antique oil lamps with hand-painted shades. The soft aura calms and focuses her mind, preparing it to be transported into tales of far-off places that seem closer when read by this intimate light. The radiating heat from nearby candles and hearth envelopes her like a hug.
Louis in Toronto finds the warm tint of incandescent bulbs perfect for immersing in Dickens on Christmas Eve. He settles into his leather armchair in wool socks and sweater, shifting the goose neck lamp to avoid glare on the ivory pages. The glow casts a nostalgic spell, evoking gas lamps lighting London streets in Dickensian times. The lamp feels like a time machine illuminating the past.
For Clare in Southern California, candlelight fosters the holiday spirit better than electricity. She arranges crimson and emerald candles throughout the living room, complementing the twinkling tree. As Christmas carols play softly in the background, Clare loses herself in modern fairy tales by the flickering flames. The candles' intimate glow feels ancient and meditative. She turns pages slowly, savoring words by this primal light of hearth and home.
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - Bonding Over Books with Loved Ones
Reading alongside loved ones fosters connection through shared immersion in story worlds that transcend the everyday. Curled up side by side with the same book creates a bubble where time stands still, drawing conversants into deep discussion long after the last page turns.
Alice relates how she and her tween daughter Eva grew closer through book talk on Christmas Eves. She'd select evocative, character-rich middle grade novels like R.J. Palacio's Wonder and Kate DiCamillo's Raymie Nightingale that dealt sensitively with issues Eva currently grappled with. Reading them together sparked raw conversations unlike their usual surface-level chatter. Poring over poignant scenes in Wonder about August Pullman's facial deformity opened dialogue about appearance pressures. Raymie's nuanced depiction of childhood resilience led to discussions of their own family struggles. Eva felt truly heard, leading to mutual understanding.
Louis found discussing books with his grandfather Robert could breathe new perspective into stale family conflicts. Last Christmas Eve they read Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, set in Nazi Germany. Its complex themes of morality in inhumane regimes gave new dimension to their arguments over current events. Talk shifted from accusatory to curious, each sharing how the themes resonated with their viewpoints. Robert described witnessing Hitler's rise during his Austrian childhood. Louis felt closer comprehending forces that shaped his grandfather's hardened outlook about authority. Their bond grew through this interplay of past and present.
For a family divided by estrangement, a holiday book club provided neutral ground for reconciliation. Betty had cut off contact with her conservative brother Frank for years over political disagreements. But one Christmas she proposed they all read Celeste Ng's nuanced novel Little Fires Everywhere about custody battles between mothers of different classes and races. Discussing the gray areas of the narrative led them to find nuance in their own positions. Condemning judgments softened to earnest sharing about influences like hometowns and faith. Though disagreements remained, their hearts opened to understanding each other's context and best intentions.
A couple rekindled romance by reading aloud nostalgic books from when they first met. Cynthia noticed she and James had been arguing more, tight schedules crowding out quality time. For Christmas, she gifted him a copy of Bill Bryson's humorous memoir about youthful adventures, A Walk in the Woods. Each night they'd take turns reading a chapter aloud, laughing until tears came at Bryson's misadventures hiking the Appalachian Trail, reminding them of their own carefree twenties. The shared joy of books past kindled their present love. James called it "our best bedtime routine yet."
Unwrap a Good Book: The Cherished Christmas Eve Tradition for Book Lovers - The Gift of Reading on Christmas Eve
The custom of gifting books on Christmas Eve holds special meaning, allowing us to share cherished stories while conveying what matters most. Few gifts feel as personal and intimate as a book carefully selected with a particular reader in mind. The sentiments expressed within its pages can resonate more deeply than any store-bought item.
My neighbor Janice learned this lesson well one difficult December. Earlier that year, her teenage daughter Emma lost a dear friend to suicide. Emma became withdrawn, refusing to speak about the tragic loss. As Christmas neared, Janice racked her brain for a gift that might lift Emma's spirits.
On browsing bookstore shelves, a title caught Janice's eye - I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, about a nonbinary teen kicked out by their parents. Recalling Emma's creative, open-minded spirit, Janice thought the book's themes of found family and perseverance might inspire her. She slipped a card inside the cover: "You are so loved for who you are."
On Christmas morning, Janice was moved to see Emma tearfully clutch the book to her chest. As she began reading, Emma started opening up about losing her friend, even sharing poems she'd written. That evening, Janice found Emma on the couch engrossed in the novel, a glimmer of her old self returning. The gift of this special book had cracked open the door to healing.
Other times, a book gift can simply create moments of joyful connection. My friend Cora loves few things more than cozying up with her seven-year-old grandson Alex over a new story. One Christmas Eve, she presented him a copy of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a girl, its descriptions of mysterious Oompa Loompas and tasty confections had enthralled Cora for hours.
She delighted in seeing Alex similarly enraptured, gasping aloud at passages like Violet Beauregarde inflated into a giant blueberry. They'd take turns dramatically reading chapters aloud, swapping theories about what mischief Augustus Gloop would find next. Cora loved witnessing Alex encounter this beloved classic for the first time, like old friends bonding over childhood memories.
Books gifted with care can also rekindle our own passion for reading. My sister Jillian's bookworm habits faded after having twins. On Christmas, I gave her Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, knowing her taste for introspective yet lyrical prose. "I chose this for you to steal some moments just for yourself," I wrote.