It’s that time of year when we are all gearing up to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or other traditions. There are so many ways that we make the holidays special, from baking favorite cookies, to putting up the decorations. One of the most memorable for children can begin with a cherished story.
Some of my fondest Christmas memories were spent in front a of fire being read to from such classics as Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We share magic with a child when we read to them. Each time we sit down for story-time, we are encouraging a love of reading and are building a set of life long memories. Books are a window to the world that can teach us so many things.
I have multiple stories to share this season but want to call your attention to these 3 below, as they really embody the meaning of the season. Although these storybook classics were written long ago, they all have a strong message about giving and what it is like to have to make sacrifices. Sharing these stories, I hope provide children and their families a message of hope and goodwill, and encourage the gift of giving from the heart this holiday season.
Inspiring your child's imagination and love of reading is what my FREE website is all about. So join me with these classics that come out once a year, and may they be the highlight of your holiday celebrations.
Here are my Holiday Favorite Classics and why:
O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi provides a charitable lesson especially relevant in today’s troubled economy. Written more than a hundred years ago, in 1906, The Gift of the Magi follows a poor, young American couple trying to survive in a harsh economy. In order to give each other a gift for Christmas, they each sacrifice something they love, with ironic and unexpected results.
Although The Gift of the Magi is more than a hundred years old, the story is about the importance of sacrifice and giving, and is extremely meaningful in today’s turbulent economy.
During the early 1900s, when Magi was initially published, America was a place of great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few powerful industrialists, like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, while millions of other Americans lived in poverty. A charismatic, young president, Teddy Roosevelt, was elected and immediately began instituting sweeping reforms and anti-trust laws to correct the imbalance.
I know many American families will be facing hard choices this holiday season, and thought it would be a nice gift to offer a story where the characters are facing these same issues. I love this story because it has a happy ending and a good message: that the most meaningful Christmas may not be the one where you spend the most money.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
This is a wonderful story about love and friendship, and reading it together will warm the hearts of the whole family. This is a timeless tale about a stuffed rabbit who discovers that love is a magic that can make dreams come true.
The Little Match Girl...Han Christian Andersen's tale about a little girl who's afraid to go home because she hasn't sold enough matches is a classic. The little girl, who is both barefoot and bareheaded, curls up in a corner, lighting match after match to warm herself. In the flames she sees visions; in the final one, her grandmother appears and lifts the little girl into heaven. I’ve always felt this story captures the mood of a snowy Victorian winter reminiscent of Dickens's “A Christmas Carol.” It makes us so appreciate everything we have.
And remember, they are always FREE and so is your local library! Enjoy my video playlist of these stories: