The Frame-Up

June 5th 2018

The Frame-Up - Bookcover

Books with wonderful Christmas Scenes in them and one very poignant Chanukah scene…

 

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about gratitude, in which I mentioned how the Christmas scene in Little Women was such a powerful scene to me, because the girls give up their Christmas breakfast for those in need.

What I didn’t mention then, but which I thought of afterwards, was how homely and cozy that scene was because I love it when fictional characters celebrate Christmas or Chanukah, or any other holiday.

And that got me to thinking about other children’s books that celebrate Christmas or Chanukah well.  This is my short list below. I am counting on you to add others!

  1. Little House in the Prairie

The scene where Mr. Edwards delivers Christmas to Laura and Mary Ingalls on behalf of Santa Claus always makes me kind of weepy.

“oh thank you, Mr. Edwards! Thank you!” they said, and they meant it with all their hearts. Pa shook Mr. Edwards’ hand, too, and shook it again. Pa and Ma and Mr. Edwards acted as if they were almost crying. Laura didn’t know why. So she gazed again at her beautiful presents.

little house

2) Anne of Green Gables

anne of gg

The Christmas Matthew gives Anne her dress with the puffed sleeves (I insisted on something similar after reading about it) is still one of my favourites:

Isn’t it a lovely Christmas? I’m so glad it’s white. Any other kind of Christmas doesn’t seem right, does it? I don’t like green Christmases. They’re not green – they’re just nasty faded browns and grays. What makes people call them green? Why-why-Matthew, is that for me? Oh, Matthew!

3) The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas – Madeleine L’Engle

twenty four days

This is a bit of a cheat given the title, but when I read this the first time I loved celebrating Christmas with the Austins, one of my all-time favourite fictional families. Full of the excitement that builds before Christmas, along with the warm embrace of a close family, this book is like slipping into a warm tub of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

The sky was dark and clear and crusted with stars. I watched and watched. There was one star that was brighter and more sparkling than any of the others. The Christmas star. Mother was home. Daddy was home, Our baby brother was home. We were all together. I whispered, “Thank you.” And the light shone right into my heart.

4) Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown – Maud Hart Lovelace

betsy tacy

I loved Betsy and Tacy doing their Christmas shopping, something that happens again and again as the series progresses. It reminds me of the time I went shopping in Calais, Maine with my best friend Barbie and we went to Newberry’s Department Store with probably $3 to our names and thought we were queens of the world!

“They gave themselves then with abandon to the sweet delight of choosing. It was almost pain to choose. Each fragile bauble was gayer, more enchanting than the last. What each one chose she would take home; she would see it on the Christmas tree; she would see it year after year; if she were lucky and it did not break. They walked around and around the table, touching softly with mittened hands. Betsy at last chose a large red ball. Tacy chose an angel. Tib chose a rosy Santa Claus. Winona chose a silver trumpet. …They walked to Ray’s Shoe Store, smiling, holding Christmas in their hands.”

5) Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl

anne-frank

When I first read this book at age twelve, I was changed forever. Her persecution seared my soul and has never left me after all these years. When the family celebrates Chanukah in the book, I was reminded that even when faced with persecution and potential death, love conquers all. And throughout it all, Anne is the optimist, the beautiful flower trapped in  concrete, growing up towards the light.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Given that this week is the Festival of Lights, and that we would all do well to remember Anne Frank and honour her shining memory, it seems apropos to end this list with Anne.

How about you? I’d love to hear your favourite Christmas/Chanukah scenes in books!

Until next time – keep reading!

 

Author of Children's Literature

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