Christmas Countdown Reading Time

It is now officially December and the countdown to Christmas Day has started.  My son and I each have an Advent calendar but my favorite way to count down the days?  With stories.  My number one hobby is reading.  I read in little pockets of time throughout the day and before bed each night.  Truth? Some days I leave to pick up my son from school a little earlier than normal so I can grab an extra few minutes of reading time in the carpool lane.

My son and I read a story together each night up until a few months ago. We were reading Harry Potter aloud together but that was going too slow for him. We still read a story some nights, but he is 11 now and has outgrown it a bit. (He pretends he does it now to humor me but I can tell he  still likes it, just not every night!)  For the month of December we pick up the tradition of nightly reading and choose one of our many children’s books to read aloud together.  We are starting with “Junie B., First Grader- Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.)”   

This year I decided to read for myself as well, two different books for a Christmas countdown.  The first is Maeve Binchy’s collection of holiday short stories “This Year It Will Be Different”.  There are fifteen stories and I am reading one each night at bedtime.  Yes, I have read these before, a few times actually,  but I love this author and I love these stories.  Familiarity can be comforting at the holidays.

Once I am done with the stories I will re-read Jan Karon’s “Shepherd’s Abiding”, one chapter a night.  Ten chapters, ten nights.  I read this story every December, it makes me feel very peaceful and that is important after a frantic, errand and chore filled day.

I debated if I should start 30 November so I could finish on Christmas Eve but I decided to wait until 1 December and finish Christmas night.

The first coloring picture of the season, not too Christmasy, trying to ease my way into the holiday frenzy.

Feel free to steal this idea, find a new book or an old favorite, short stories or chapters and give yourself the little gift of Christmas Countdown Reading Time!

The Influence of Books

I am a voracious reader. Yup, voracious. I can’t remember the last time a day went by when I didn’t spend some time reading. I have always wondered what people did when they traveled by airplane if they didn’t read.  I think public libraries are the best thing ever.

I read for entertainment.  I read to experience other time periods and other cultures and lifestyles.  Mostly I read mysteries, cozies, some popular fiction and a little chick-lit.  Occasionally I will read a western or a romance or even a cookbook.   A biography gets thrown into the mix once in awhile.  I never read science fiction or fantasy.  Nope, no Harry Potter or J.R. Tolkien for me.

I love to read stories set in England or Europe.  I like the details of house descriptions and knowing what people ate for meals and getting a glimpse of the routine of their life.  And while reading these books sometimes I find myself craving bits of the characters lives.  Okay, mostly craving bits of their meals.  A week ago I was reading “The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss” and found myself wanting chocolate raspberry muffins that Sophia made for breakfast one morning.  So I made chocolate raspberry muffins!

 

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Yum!

 

Sometimes the cravings go away when the book ends, but sometimes not and there is nothing to be done but to fulfill it.  It is not always food I crave.  I have been reading a series about quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I love how the books skip around in time and location.  Everytime I read one I have the urge to make a quilt.  Being realistic I am starting with a dresser scarf instead, made out of nine patch squares.  I also like how Mary in the Little House Books was always working on her nine patch quilt insteading of getting into mischief like Laura.

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My sewing basket

Books have also made me want to move to various places such as , Virginia (Krista Davis), the lake country in England (The Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert ) and wherever Mitford is (Jan Karon).

Of late I have been fond of reading  books set in WWII Europe.  I read “All the Light We Cannot See” recently.  Wow.  “The Nightingale”  is another good one along with “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society”.  Reading books set during that time period really makes me appreciate all that I have.  If I find myself groaning over preparing dinner I stop and realize how lucky I am to have food and the means to cook it.  How horrible it would be to have a hungry child and no food available.  When I am dusting I wonder what I would take if I could only keep what I could carry.  When I am paring down my wardrobe I wonder what it would be like to not be able to buy anything new for 4 or 5 years.  And back then people had a lot fewer clothes!  I can’t imagine losing all my books and access to a library.

My favorite part of the day is bedtime reading to my son.  Seems I still love young adult fiction too.  We have read (or listened to the audiobooks while traveling) all the “Little House” series by Laura Ingall Wilder and everything by Beverly Cleary.  I am lucky we enjoy some of the same books right now and will be sad when/if that time ends.

For me, books are the best part of life.  So many vicarious experiences.  I am a lucky woman. What am I reading right now?  At bedtime I am reading Agatha Christie.  Currently I am going through the Miss Marple stories in order.  I am up to “A Murder is Announced” leaving me with a desire for scones and tea.  I just started “A Serpent’s Tooth” by Craig Johnson.  I have a hankering for cowboy boots and a crush on Sheriff Longmire.  And for bedtime my son and I are reading “Junonia” by Kevin Henkes.

I hope you find the pure joy of a good book today too!