Learning Without Borders

As the Festival of Lights holidays: Solstice, Hanukah and Christmas, begin, it is often helpful to take a few minutes away from the busyness of shopping, baking, and event planning to pause. In our home, reading is an excellent way for us to do this. As I unpacked our box of holiday books, so many memories came flooding back. Some stories were read to me by my mom and dad and later read to my children. Others we discovered over the years.

Along with the usual array of traditional favorites: “Rudolf the Red Nose Rainbow, the Night Before Christmas and Frosty the Snowman”, I was excited that a book for adults was on top of the pile. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not; however, “The Pause: A Christmas Gift ” was a good first book for me to read. My sister, Andrea, sent it to me for Christmas over 20 years ago when I was in a super busy phase of my life. Like the main character, I was feeling overcommitted and underprepared for the holiday. Without spoiling the story, It was a beautiful reminder that I could always take a pause, even amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It’s been out of print for a while and can be a bit difficult to find, but very worthwhile. I noticed that Abe Books and Barnes and Noble had it available online.

Another long-time favorite book of mine is a Precious Present by Spencer Johnson. It, too, is an excellent reminder to honor our present moments even in the busyness of life.

Our holiday book bin has lots of books for younger family members.
Here are a few favorites you might not have come across yet. For those who love the writings of Audrey and Don Wood, do check “Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear.” A lovely story about the joy of giving as well as receiving.

Although most of us are familiar with Rudoph, the Red-nosed Reindeer by Robert May, you may not know of his follow up book, Rudolph’s Second Christmas”. This is an even more touching story than the original Rudolf story as we strive to help children and adults understand that being different isn’t bad, and we all have strengths and talent

A third favorite comes from a trip Down Under over 30 years ago, “The Magic Saddle” by Christobel Mattingley and Patricia Mullins about a little boy and his Magic Saddle. For animal lovers, “The Christmas Day Kitten” by James Herriot, is a perennial favorite. Be sure to have a tissue with this one.

A more recent addition to our collection is Chanukah Lights Everywhere. While the story is about the Chanukah, other holidays that families celebrate at this time of year are woven into the story.

These are just a few of the many holiday books our family has accumulated over the years. What are some of your favorites? We’d love to hear about them.

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