Where I live, we’ve already had a couple of big snowstorms. This isn’t wicked typical for the pre-Christmas season. As I write this, I’m looking out over an additional four inches that have already fallen on top of two feet we received last weekend. We’d even had some earlier snow, which took small trees and branches down that still had leaves on them. All the snow puts me in two moods. One is a holiday spirit. The other is wanting to snuggle under the covers with a good book and some cocoa.
A favorite Christmas book of mine is A Christmas Carol. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid. Not just the book, but the movies too, in particular, Scrooged with Bill Murray. This year I even bought myself a Christmas gift of the Storiedarts A Christmas Carol set with a scarf, fingerless gloves, and a tote bag with the first page of the book silk-screened on them.
I know the story isn’t for everyone; people have different views of the holidays and what it means to them. But I love that it’s a ghost story. If it were up to me, they would all be ghost stories. I suppose that would make them less unique if they all had ghosts in them. I love the idea of spirits working behind the scenes to help one person learn to live in the present and not be so frozen in the past, along with his hungry pit of greed. Plus, I love Scrooge as a character. I love a character I can view as human. He’s a bad man, but he’s also a sad, flawed, vulnerable man. The truth is, aren’t we all these things.
There are a couple of books I’ve reread often over the years, Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Great Gatsby, as well as A Christmas Carol, to name a few. My mom used to read Ethan Frome every winter. I continue to return to A Christmas Carol in its many forms, mainly for the Ghost of Christmas Present. The boisterous, lectury, drunken soul who lives for only a day, but truly sees the world, has held a place in my heart since I was a small kid. I don’t know if other people have a favorite ghost or character from the story, but he’s mine.
Some characters and stories capture our imagination even after we finish a book or a short story. I think it’s why we keep going back to read, searching for connection, guidance, and sometimes to feel heard or seen by someone we will never meet in person. Maybe it’s that intimacy of being inside the head of the writer. We feel like someone has been inside of ours and understands us. Words can be written on a page that can’t always be spoken out loud. There’s still the escape, new worlds, empathy, and experience side of reading, but for me, if I don’t connect with the character, I walk away from a novel, a short story, or an essay. It can be a ghost, or a spider, or an orphan girl; I want to feel connected and in the moment. I want to be the Ghost of Christmas Present with whatever I’m reading.
Any books you have found yourself going back to? Or any favorite holiday/winter books out there?