Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
It was never going to be anything else for today’s What We’re Reading was it?
When my sister and I were little we had two Christmas books. We must have been fairly small when they first appeared on the scene because I cannot imagine a Christmas without them. Mine was called something inspired like “The Christmas Book” and was full of richly illustrated stories of different Christmas traditions all around the world, all the different names for Father Christmas, and how he flies – did you know in Australia he uses a surfboard (apparently)? There were a few ‘how-to’ guides in there as well, and it was well thumbed by both of us in the run up to Christmas.
But on Christmas Eve it was Zee’s book that came to the fore, and it was, of course, The Night Before Christmas, with St Nick and his sleigh spinning though the sky around a glowing full moon (it was this version). We read it faithfully every Christmas Eve, curled up all together while the firelight glinted off the brown velour sofa.
Even when we were quite grown up, and took charge of the Christmas Eve festivities, we finished up each year with Dad reading the gospel and then Mum reading Clement Clarke Moore’s beautiful poem. It was, and is, a cornerstone of our Christmas.
And so when Kitty’s first Christmas came around I went in search of our own copy. I wanted something as timeless as the words, nothing too cartoony, nothing too twee, and for very practical reasons, no pop up (we were in rather a splat stage at the time).
I found it in My Magical Book of Christmas Tales; The Night Before Christmas and the story of The Nutcracker back to back in the one book.
It has beautiful illustrations, not too dissimilar to my childhood original, and more than that, it has magic pages.
The words are always on the left hand page, and every other right hand page folds out, pulling out the tabs in the centre picture to reveal a new picture underneath.
So far it has just about survived the enthusiastic embraces of two little girls; they love both stories – to the extent that I find myself reading them in July, and it’s one of Kitty’s favourite books to ‘read’ to her teddies (or in this case, Elma’s Snowdog)
And so tonight with little girls bathed and dressed in the new Christmas pyjamas that magically appeared in their stockings this morning, we will curl up in front of our tree, lay out four stockings, and lay the foundations to ensure that this is a family tradition that keeps going on and on into the next generation.
And now it’s over to you again. If you’ve been reading anything that you love, please link up in the comments. And if you’re lucky enough to get a book token in your stocking you might like the What We’re Reading Booklist, featuring every book that anyone has ever suggested as part of What We’re Reading.
I’m going to take a little break from What We’re Reading next week while we all soak up the festivities but I know I’ve still got plenty of lovely reads on my shelves so we will be reading again the new year, possibly with a linky again if anyone is interested in joining in.
So until then I have a turkey that needs stuffing, florentines that need chocolate coating, and just the small matter of Elma’s Christmas present to finish. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!