Here at the Redwood Library, we wish you the happiest and safest of Holidays this season. To get even more into the spirit of the season, please enjoy a few selected books that revolve around the December holidays! Whether you are one for mystery, or in love with the classics; ready to laugh, or be moved by a touching tale, there are selections for everyone to bring holiday cheer!
By, John Grisham
Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty, they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash, they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences—and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.
A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.
By, J.S. Bach
The Christmas Oratorio (German: Weihnachts-Oratorium), BWV 248, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 and incorporates music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin under Eduard Grell. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander).
By, Leslie McGuire
Bialosky plans a wonderful Christmas party and spends all day preparing for it, but he forgets to do one important thing.
By, Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens' sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.
By, Charles Dickens, and Michael Patrick Hearn
What would Christmas be without A Christmas Carol? Charles Dickens’s famous ghost story is as much a part of the season as plum pudding and mistletoe, and Michael Patrick Hearn, the celebrated annotator of The Wizard of Oz and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has prepared this sumptuous, thoroughly annotated edition, which has already become the definitive edition of our century. Initially published by Norton in 2004, this is the first edition to combine the original story with Dickens’s Public Reading text, published to coincide with his 1867-68 American tour, which has not been reprinted in nearly a century. Included are rare photographs as well as the original Leech wood engravings and hand-colored etchings, supplemented by other contemporary illustrations by George Cruikshank, Gustave Doré, John Tenniel, and “Phiz.” The Annotated Christmas Carol will be a literary feast for the whole family for generations. 2-color throughout, 100 black-and-white illustrations, and 8 pages of full color
By, Terri Blom Crocker
In late December 1914, German and British soldiers on the western front initiated a series of impromptu, unofficial ceasefires. Enlisted men across No Man's Land abandoned their trenches and crossed enemy lines to sing carols, share food and cigarettes, and even play a little soccer. Collectively known as the Christmas Truce, these fleeting moments of peace occupy a mythical place in remembrances of World War I. Yet new accounts suggest that the heartwarming tale ingrained in the popular imagination bears little resemblance to the truth. In this detailed study, Terri Blom Crocker provides the first comprehensive analysis of both scholarly and popular portrayals of the Christmas Truce from 1914 to present. From books by influential historians to the Oscar-nominated French film Joyeux Noel (2006), this new examination shows how a variety of works have both explored and enshrined this outbreak of peace amid overwhelming violence. The vast majority of these accounts depict the soldiers as acting in defiance of their superiors. Crocker, however, analyzes official accounts as well as private letters that reveal widespread support among officers for the détentes. Furthermore, she finds that truce participants describe the temporary ceasefires not as rebellions by disaffected troops but as acts of humanity and survival by professional soldiers deeply committed to their respective causes. The Christmas Truce studies these ceasefires within the wider war, demonstrating how generations of scholars have promoted interpretations that ignored the nuanced perspectives of the many soldiers who fought. Crocker's groundbreaking, meticulously researched work challenges conventional analyses and sheds new light on the history and popular mythology of the War to End All Wars.
By, Jill Norman
The ultimate Christmas food book from the best-loved and most respected cookery writer of recent times. The classic Elizabeth David's Christmas contains over 150 recipes, together with a selection of her wonderful articles, notes and introductions on honing kitchen skills and testing recipes. This book is designed to take the strain out of providing festive food - from avoiding hectic last-minute cooking to using leftovers. All the classics are here: mince pies, stuffings, sauces and, of course, the turkey, as well as simple first courses, party dishes and a range of desserts that make Elizabeth David's Christmas irresistible festive fair.
Directed By, Bob Clark
'You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out'
At least that’s what little Ralphie Parker is told when he asks his parents for a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Air Rifle for Christmas. Hilarity ensues as Ralphie, along with his friend, Flick, try to convince Ralphie’s parents and even his teacher, Miss Shields, that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift for a nine-year-old boy.
By, Jean Shepherd
The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family’s typical Christmas joys and travails in small-town Depression-era Indiana has entered our imagination and our hearts with a force equal to It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. This edition of A Christmas Story gathers together in one hilarious volume the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. Here is young Ralphie Parker’s shocking discovery that his decoder ring is really a device to promote Ovaltine; his mother and father’s pitched battle over the fate of a lascivious leg lamp; the unleashed and unnerving savagery of Ralphie’s duel in the show with the odious bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill; and, most crucially, Ralphie’s unstoppable campaign to get Santa—or anyone else—to give him a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Who cares that the whole adult world is telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”? The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story, previously published in the larger collections In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, coalesce in a magical fashion to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.
By, Judy Rosen
When Irving Berlin first conceived the song "White Christmas," he envisioned it as a "throwaway" -- a satirical novelty number for a vaudeville-style stage revue. By the time Bing Crosby introduced the tune in the winter of 1942, it had evolved into something far grander: the stately yuletide ballad that would become the world's all-time top-selling and most widely recorded song. In this vividly written narrative, Jody Rosen provides both the fascinating story behind the making of America's favorite Christmas carol and a cultural history of the nation that embraced it. Berlin, the Russian-Jewish immigrant who became his adopted country's greatest pop troubadour, had written his magnum opus -- what one commentator has called a "holiday Moby-Dick" -- a timeless song that resonates with some of the deepest themes in American culture: yearning for a mythic New England past, belief in the magic of the "merry and bright" Christmas season, longing for the havens of home and hearth. Today, the song endures not just as an icon of the national Christmas celebration but as the artistic and commercial peak of the golden age of popular song, a symbol of the values and strivings of the World War II generation, and of the saga of Jewish-American assimilation. With insight and wit, Rosen probes the song's musical roots, uncovering its surprising connections to the tradition of blackface minstrelsy and exploring its unique place in popular culture through six decades of recordings by everyone from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley to *NSYNC. White Christmas chronicles the song's legacy from jaunty ragtime-era Tin Pan Alley to the elegant world of midcentury Broadway and Hollywood, from the hardscrabble streets where Irving Berlin was reared to the battlefields of World War II where American GIs made "White Christmas" their wartime anthem, and from the Victorian American past that the song evokes to the twenty-first-century present where Berlin's masterpiece lives on as a kind of secular hymn.
By, P.J. O'Rourke
The Dreaded Feast will act as a balm for the millions of people who face Christmastime with a mixture of dread and obligation. Whether it’s the last-minute shopping, the unappealing office party, or the prospect of more than 24 hours with family, it’s never easy. The anthology, which includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on these and many more related subjects, deflates the notion of the “perfect” holiday season, and allows the reader to commiserate and bask in the glow of a little dark, neurotic, and unflinchingly honest humor. The star roster of contributors includes Jonathan Ames, Dave Barry, Robert Benchley, Charles Bukowski, Augusten Burroughs, Billy Collins, Greg Kotis, Lewis Lapham, Jay McInerney, Fiona Maazel, George Plimpton, David Rakoff, David Sedaris, Charles Simic, Hunter S. Thompson, James Thurber, Calvin Trillin, and John Waters.
By, Clement C. Moore
"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Clement C. Moore's original poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," has been brought to lovable life by the talented Sofia Sita. In this edition, the beloved poem is joined with delightful illustrations imagining the visit from the house's animals' perspectives. Children will be delighted to snuggle in for story time on Christmas Eve and wait for their own visit from Santa Claus after reading this book.
By, Dr. Ron Wolfson (Author), Joel Lurie Grishaver (Editor)
This newly-designed, easy-to-use edition of a classic spiritual sourcebook offers updated information, more family ideas, and new resources for every aspect of your holiday celebration.
Information on every aspect of Hanukkah is covered, including:
The story of Hanukkah
Celebrating―for families of every constellation
Songs and prayers in English, Hebrew and Yiddish (with clear transliterations)
Recipes for traditional and modern Hanukkah foods
"December Dilemmas"―coping with other traditions' celebrations
Firsthand explanations and ideas from real-life families around America
Hands-on advice and practical suggestions invite families into Hanukkah’s spirituality and joys, from the making of luscious latkes and Hanukkah crafts to the stories of the heroism and the miracle that are remembered every year with the lighting of the hanukkiyah.