Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, and the leftovers are almost finished, I think it just might be time to start thinking about Christmas.

The tree is up and decorated.
The mantle is sparkling with glitter and silver.
And the Christmas books are stacked and ready for reading on cozy winter nights.
It seems like these days most authors write at least one Christmas book, and here are some of my favorites.
Susan Branch has recently become my home keeping idol. She has several books out and a blog (a must-read if you like blogs). She illustrates all of her books, and they are so full of ideas for incorporating Christmas cheer into a home that it will take me years to put them all into practice.
For Christmas anthologies, nothing beats Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas. It is full of all the best poems, short stories, and excerpts from our favorite Christmas literature. Without fail, every year, I have to read her own 1962 letter to Santa where she asked for a long list of items for herself and a total of three things for her brother, John, and David Sedaris’ essay on Christmas traditions around the world (laugh-out-loud funny).
Dorothea Benton Frank sets all of her books in and around Charleston. The Christmas Pearl is a Lowcountry treat about a family who can’t stop fighting until someone arrives with pocketfuls of Gullah magic.
Mary Kay Andrews, in my opinion, is the epitome of a Southern chick lit author, and I promise you that Blue Christmas, set in Savannah, will have you scouring Ebay for a 1950’s blue rhinestone Christmas brooch and a CD of Phil Spector music.
Another great Southern author is Fannie Flagg and her Redbird Christmas is adorable. Made me want to move to the Alabama coast or barring that, make cardinals my new favorite bird. Just precious!
Then, there are the books about misbehaving children -- after all, we all know how hard it is to behave during the Christmas season -- the stress can just be too much.

Eloise is always into mischief and never more so than at Christmas. She just can’t help herself.
Speaking of precocious children, have you met Flavia? If not, you must, must, must. She lives in a crumbling English estate home with her father and two sisters in 1953. There are four books, now, in the series, and the first one is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The Christmas one just came out and is called I am Half-Sick of Shadows. Knowing Flavia’s penchant for getting embroiled in mysteries, there is the expected murder, and true to her own deviousness, Flavia is up to her old tricks to try and catch Saint Nicholas. Hilarious and the perfect English country home mystery. Really, treat yourself this season by making Flavia’s acquaintance.
Wanting to stay in England for the Christmas season? There is also The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig. It is part of her Pink Carnation series. Have you read that series yet? If not, another must-read. They are all set in Regency England and have all the necessary elements -- spy rings, romance, and polished Hessian boots. The first one is The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and there are several in the series. Another book to add to your Christmas list.
And finally, no Christmas list is complete without the reading of The Night Before Christmas. This is a tradition from my husband’s family, and one we have kept going. Even my very hip, very cool fourteen-year-old looks forward to the yearly reading.
So, what are your favorite Christmas books?

Happy Christmas Reading!

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