Five books to get you in the Christmas spiritChristmas 2015
Nothing beats curling up with a book in front of a roaring fire, especially at Christmas. To get yourself in the mood for the festive period, why not try turning off the TV, grabbing some mulled wine and a mince pie (or three) and picking out a Christmas-themed book? Here are some suggestions to get you started.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
This classic children’s novel will soon have you dreaming of snow, magical adventures and sleigh rides. When Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter fall through the back of a wardrobe into the mysterious, snowy world of Narnia, they soon find themselves in the midst of a story that bears a strong allegorical resemblance to the central narrative of Christianity. Father Christmas even comes to visit the children and offers them presents, which help them to break the dominion of the White Witch.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr Seuss
This rhyming, illustrated book by Dr Seuss tells of the madcap world of Whoville and the Grinch, a mountain-dwelling malcontent whose heart is two sizes too small. He comes down to the town on Christmas Eve and steals trees, stockings and presents in an attempt to stop Christmas from coming. The Whos celebrate Christmas anyway and the Grinch suddenly understands what the holiday is all about. The book is a clever criticism of festive consumerism and an endearing reminder of what really matters. Plus, it’s a great excuse to re-watch the film, which stars the hilarious Jim Carey.
- Letters from Father Christmas – JRR Tolkien
Believe it or not, the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit also wrote the wonderful Letters from Father Christmas. This is a collection of letters from Tolkien to his children, between 1920 and 1942, where he pretends to be Father Christmas. He also illustrated the letters with beautiful pictures, which tell the story of Father Christmas’s mishaps as he prepares for the big day, including setting off fireworks to create the Northern Lights and fighting goblins who want to disrupt the festivities. It’s even been suggested that Father Christmas is a prototype for Gandalf!
- The Tailor of Gloucester – Beatrix Potter
The Tailor of Gloucester must be one of the most imaginative and endearing Christmas stories ever written. It’s short enough to read it in one sitting, and you’ll definitely be feeling festive and cosy by the time you’re finished. A tailor is making a suit of clothes for the mayor, but falls ill just before Christmas. The little mice, who he has saved from his cat, come out and finish the suit. However, they can’t complete one buttonhole, which needs a twist of the cherry-coloured silk that has been hidden by the cat, Simpkiss. Eventually Simpkiss feels sorry for his master and reveals the twist, so that the coat can be finished. This is a classic Christmas tale of goodwill, told with some unusual and adorable characters.
- A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
This list wouldn’t be complete without reference to Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Christmas Carol. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and grumpy old man who is transformed by his encounter with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. This novella is one of Dickens’ shortest, and you’ll be amazed at how many of our seasonal clichés come from its pages. The holiday as we know it was only really established in the Victorian era, with the introduction of traditions such as Christmas trees and cards, and Dickens captures it perfectly, along with a powerful humanitarian message about those worse-off than ourselves.