Christmas is almost here and I have my last post of Christmas recommendations for this year! This one is full of fun books, movies and music (my boyfriend may have gone a little nuts with recommendations this time around…) Enjoy these and let me know if I missed one of your favorites in the comments!
An Angel Just Like Me
by Mary Hoffman
illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
1997, Dial Books
This is a great story about a boy whose family tree-topper angel breaks one year and he is told he can choose the new one. But he looks everywhere and doesn’t find any angels that look like him! He’s confused that none of the angels have dark skin like his. Eventually, an artist friend comes to the rescue and the ending is amazingly sweet. This is a great holiday story full of magic and goodwill.
Olive, the Other Reindeer
by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
1997, Chronicle Books
You know that line in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that says “all of the other reindeer…”? Olive, a little dog, hears that line and thinks it means her “Olive, the other reindeer…”, which means she must be expected for duty at the North Pole! When she shows up, she isn’t like the other reindeer, of course, but that isn’t about to stop her and Olive finds a way to help Santa in her own way!
The Night Before Christmas or A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement C. Moore
illustrated by many, many, many people
many versions and publishers since 1823
My grandmother’s favorite Christmas story was Clement C. Moore’s classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, most often published under the name “The Night Before Christmas”. She probably had dozens of different editions of this classic, each with different illustrations! I love this story in it’s classic simplicity and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without it!
by Mike Reiss
illustrated by David Catrow
Had about enough of the holiday season with the endlessly playing pop-Christmas music and blinding red and green lights everywhere you look? I haven’t, but I can completely understand that there can be too much of good thing! This is a fun story that imagines how much a kid might appreciate a normal day when it’s Christmas every other day of the year!
The Legend of Old Befana
by Tomie dePaola
1980, various publishers
This is a wonderful retelling of an Italian legend. Befana meets the three kings on their way to see the baby, but she doesn’t make it there herself. In Italy, her story is told on Epiphany (January 6), which is the feast of the wise men. It’s a great legend that isn’t as well known as it should be and I always love reading it for Christmas!
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
1843, many, many publishers
This is another firmly-established Christmas classic. If you don’t know at least the basics of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s visits from ghosts who teach him to appreciate the Christmas spirit and open his heart with love and generosity, you may want to make sure you’re in the right dimension, since this may not be your universe. I have always enjoyed this book with it’s thoughtful Christmas story and fascinatingly creepy magical elements!
And those are my book recommendations for this week! We’ll move on to my movie and music recommendations before I get to my boyfriend’s many suggestions.
There are tons of movie and television versions of A Christmas Carol. Even Barbie and the My Little Pony cast have versions of the story! I’ve seen a lot of them, since I find retellings of classic stories fascinating. Normally, I would expect to have liked a serious, straightforward version best, since I adore the book. But in this case, my very favorite adaptation – the one that feels the most in the spirit of the book to me – is one with crazy singing puppet vegetables. Yep. Muppets! “The Muppet Christmas Carol” from 1992 and staring Michael Caine along with the standard Muppet cast is amazing and so worth watching! I adore it and watch it often!
Since we’re at almost the end of the season, my music suggestion is more post-Christmas themed. You probably know the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, right? The one with all the strange gifts of birds and people from the singer’s true love. Well, what happens to all those weird gifts after the holidays are over? I love the version in “The Twelve Days After Christmas”, which is a funny parody song going into the fates of all those gifts (and the relationship that inspired them).
My boyfriend found that he was unable to limit himself this week, so we have two movie recommendations and four music ones. His first Christmas movie recommendation this week is Lethal Weapon (I’m sure this will not surprise you if you read the last two weeks of recommendations). It’s from 1987 and another action movie.
His second movie recommendation is last year’s (2018) movie “Anna and the Apocalypse”. This one I actually enjoyed a lot and would agree is totally a Christmas movie. It’s a movie musical about teenagers at Christmas during a zombie apocalypse. It’s funny, fun, and has great music. It’s a zombie movie, so there’s more blood and gore than most Christmas movies, but it’s so much fun for the music and craziness that I enjoyed it anyway. And who knew that candy canes were such effective weapons?
He has four music recommendations this week. The first is the album “Subscribe to the Holidays” by Walk Off the Earth. Then is “Warmer in the Winter” by Lindsay Sterling (a favorite holiday album of mine as well). Third, he chose the song “You Make it Feel Like Christmas” as performed by Gwen Stefani. His last Christmas recommendation is “My Chocolate Santa” from the album “Christmas Reminiscences” by The X-Misses. These are all fun and worth listening to, especially if you want something different than the ten or so songs you hear playing in every public place this time of year!
And that brings me to the end of our Christmas recommendations this year! I hope you are having a wonderful winter holiday season with family, food, and fun. Let me know if you have a recommendation I missed or if one of these is a favorite of yours as well!
Happy Holidays, everyone!