Well, we’ve almost crossed the finished line of 2020! And I’m not sure about you, but Christmas is feeling VERY different this year. A lot of traditions have been canceled for the first time in my family , and I think this may actually be the first Christmas in the history of ever (for me…) that NO ONE in my family and distant family is exchanging gifts other than a few White Elephant games. It’s been a hard year for everyone. And if you’re family is facing these kinds of changes to Christmas this year too, can I just encourage you to take this year to hug your family close and make Christmas special by simply being together? Bake cookies on Christmas. Watch your favorite movie. Play games. Read aloud together. Make Christmas special, even if there’s no tree, no gifts, and no “Christmas spirit”. It’s been a TOUGH year, and it’s completely okay to say “no” to the hustle and bustle and just hold your family close this Christmas. <3
And if you find yourself with time to read, well, here are some of our reviewer’s favorite Christmas reads!
The First Christmas: as Retold by Janice Green
Rayleigh’s Mini Review: I’ll start with a recommendation for the kiddos! I don’t think anything beats the story of the First Christmas straight out of the Bible in Luke 1 & 2, but sometimes it helps to have a storybook with pictures to tell the story to young ones. Author Janice Green does a really fantastic job of telling of Jesus’ birth in this book and the pictures are so sweet. You can read my full review here.
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
AnnaScott’s Mini review: One of the more lighthearted adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, this tale can easily be read in an afternoon. It contains all of the masterful deductions and other essential elements from the other novels, but can easily be read as a standalone. Full of discussions on Christmas dinner, Sherlock embraces just enough holiday spirit to create a plot twist at the end. It is the perfect tale to curl up and read with a cup of tea.
This book is also Public Domain which means you can read it, or listen to it, for FREE!
The Dead by James Joyce
Alyssa’s Mini Review: My Christmas rec is a bit unconventional, but it is set at Christmas! I recommend the short story “The Dead” by James Joyce, which is one of the stories in Dubliners. The discussion of hospitality being a large part of the Irish culture reminds me to appreciate family traditions and the mixing of cultures as families celebrate together. It also helps to ring in the new year: though a bit morbid, the connection of death to the mundane routine of the living inspires me to push out of my comfort zone for the new year. It also just helps me appreciate my life a bit more. Content warning: brief mentions of lust/sex between a married couple, but nothing explicit.
This short story is also Public Domain which means you can read it, or listen to it, for FREE!
Claus: Legend of the Fat Man by Tony Bertauski
Rayleigh’s Mini Review: I’m certainly not one for Hallmark-ish type Christmas stories so when I stumbled upon this sci-fi, thriller Christmas story, to say I was intrigued is a minor understatement. I enjoyed this book so much and the rest of the series is still on my TBR list, though it has grown a few books since my official review. Claus is a clean thriller with some holiday cheer sprinkled atop one heck of an adventure!
You can purchase a copy from Tony Bertauski here.
Well, dear readers, thank you for sticking around with us this year! We have a couple more reviews coming this month that we hope find you in good reading spirits, but other than that, we will see you in 2021! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Is Christmas looking different for you this year? Tell us something NEW that you’re doing to get in the Christmas spirit in the comments!