I know the holiday season is in full swing and sometimes we feel like there’s not enough hours in the day. While we’re taking care of everyone else, it’s easy to forget to take some time and just relax. But I’m hoping you can add that to your to-do list this week and then get into the habit of stopping and refreshing. You’re better for everyone when you’ve taken a little me time.
One way I like to do that is by reading. On the couch, in bed before you turn out the light, in a warm bath, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, on your Kindle or with a real, live book in hand, I don’t care how you do it, but I want you to sit down and read something this season. And to help get you in the holiday spirit, here’s some suggestions:
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Stuck traveling by train across the country to get home in time for Christmas, Tom Langdon must come to terms with his past, his future, and his hopes and dreams. All set around the season of miracles, this book hints at a classic romance with a modern twist.
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
This non-fiction collection of short stories centers on food, family, and friends. Complete with recipe ideas and encouragement for the first-time entertainer, Niequist tells beautiful stories from around her table and invites you to share your food with others. While not a Christmas book, the idea that the author promotes is what holiday gatherings are all about: food and fellowship.
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
As someone who doesn’t know how to knit, crochet, or sew, I was still drawn to this book about an unlikely group of women gathering one night a week to knit together. While the holidays are in the background as the story unfolds, setting the book in New York City means the reader can’t escape the electric feel of the holidays in the Big Apple. (And if you love this book, there’s two sequels Knit Two and Knit the Season, the latter being completely Christmas related.)
For You, Mom. Finally. by Ruth Reichl
I know that for some of us, the holidays are hard because of relationships that aren’t healthy, strong, or ideal. I’d encourage you to read this one by a daughter that had an unconventional relationship with her mother, even to the point of despising her, and what she learned through that experience. It’s not what you’re thinking, either. So if you’ve got family relationships that are hard and draining, this one might encourage you just a little bit.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
As an English teacher, I think I’d lose my license if I didn’t have this classic on the list. Such a timeless story that children and adults love. Maybe read this one with the kids and follow it up with a movie night? That’s not exactly the me-time I’m encouraging, but you can pick another one for that. This would be a great tradition to start as a family!
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
This one falls easily into the category of chick lit. Love it or hate it, this story has been described as romantically un-romantic with a narrator you can’t help by love. It’s smart, sarcastic, and unique; technically, it falls into the young adult genre, but I’m a big fan of YA books and some of the best authors out right now write under that heading so don’t let that stop you.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
You know it’s popped into your fantasies once or twice: forgetting all of the parties, presents, shopping, and baking. Just skipping Christmas. For the Kranks, it sounds like the perfect escape, but as most things in life, plans don’t always work out like you envisioned. This Grisham book was turned into a movie, Christmas with the Kranks, if you’re a big fan of reading the book and then seeing the movie.
Because, really, what else will get you into the Christmas spirit than the true Christmas story? Read the account aloud before Christmas dinner, read it to yourself as you’re wrapping presents and pray for those receiving the gifts, listen to an audio version while you’re decorating the house, or just meditate on it before you start your day. It’s easy to lose sight of what this holiday is really about when we get too busy. Asking and praying to see this whole season through God’s eyes, through His love and grace, will make everything sweeter.
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