When I was growing up, there were certain books I read each Christmastime, the same way I always made a point to watch “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story.” My annual winter reading list consisted, at various times, of several young adult novels about Christmas Pageants gone awry, as well as assorted Little House on the Prairie books, which always had vivid descriptions of holiday celebrations. There was also A Lantern in her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich, a book that I received as a gift one year. For many winters afterwards I spent a few evenings before Christmas, curled up in the living room floor, close to the tree, reading about Abbie Deal and her adventures -- and Christmas celebrations -- on the Nebraska prairie.
A few years ago I visited the author’s Elmwood home, which is now a museum. It was a Sunday in December, and the stately, old-fashioned house was all decked out for the holidays. Although perhaps a decade had passed since I had last read about Abbie Deal and her family’s Christmas traditions, I immediately recalled the holidays of the Deal family, as well as those of my own youth.
What are your favorite holiday books?