Jessica Learmont explores the sentimental nature of Christmas literature and her favourite Christmas books.
What does Christmas mean to you? Is it the smell of mulled wine warming a cold nose or pulling a cracker with a loved one? For me, Christmas is very traditional, and this means each year when I climb up to the loft and pass down the decorations, I also pull out the box of books which make this time of the year so special. If you are looking for something to read this Christmas which is short and sweet, it has to be The Last Polar Bears by Harry Horse, a children’s novel coincidentally proving very relevant at the moment. Through its epistolary structure, the story follows a grandfather’s unimaginable expedition with his dog Roo, to the North Pole in search of the polar bears. The heart-warming letters sent from the grandfather to his grandchild reveal the elaborate lengths one man and his dog will go to, to conquer their last wish. With wonderfully descriptions of ‘Candy Mountain’ paired with the comic minutiae of the voyage, it will surely put a smile on your face.
“This age-old story, although seeming trivial, reminds the reader of what it means to be alive, grow old and to unconditionally love…”
Another of my top picks would be Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit. Centred around love, it chronicles a toy rabbit’s dream to become real. This age-old story, although seeming trivial, reminds the reader of what it means to be alive, grow old and to unconditionally love something through its earnest monologues. If you think it may not be for you, it may be a great gift for somebody else this year.
Another timeless December read is C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. This will keep you busy for most of the festive season, but if you only have time for one, begin with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Pauline Baynes’ illustrations of snow flooded scenes and regal slays depict Narnia as a winter wonderland as the four children venture through discovering its dark secrets.
Lastly, if you fancy a modern twist on a Christmas classic, try Adam Kay’s Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas. Although at times this account can be shocking with its raw truths and unimaginable stories, it is also filled with lots of humour. But most importantly it will give you a glimpse into what our brilliant NHS staff do for us every year on Christmas day, which should instil you with gratitude and selflessness this holiday season.