Monday, November 26, 2018

It's a Christmastime Reading Challenge!

Did you have a happy Thanksgiving? My family and I certainly did. Good food, a movie marathon, a friend popped in… it was a grand ol’ time! Tell me about yours in the comments, if you like.

December is nearly upon us; can you believe it?! It’s so hard to imagine how quickly this year has flown by. Before the year is out, we’ve got one more reading challenge to go.

For this challenge, any book that has at least one Christmas scene works.

The reason I’ll leave this pretty wide open is because I can only read so many Christmas-themed books before I get burned out. I actually prefer books like Dear Mr. Knightley (by Katherine Reay) or A Season to Love (by Nicole Deese) that have one or two Christmas scenes but are otherwise not overtly holiday-oriented.

Yet, I have many friends on Goodreads who absolutely love Christmas books and read them throughout November and December. Nothing wrong with that approach. To each their own, and I’m happy for them. They may have the lion’s share of Christmas books this season.

For me, I’ll stick to small doses.

Please don’t misunderstand this.

I love Christmas.

I love that it’s the celebration of my Savior’s birth into the world, the beginning of His coming to save me and anyone willing to surrender to Him. I love that thinking on Him especially during this season creates a more giving and compassionate heart within me. I love that spreading God’s love with a friendly smile and a “Merry Christmas!” from the day after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas (and sometimes a few days afterward) can make such a positive impact on people’s lives.

What drives me up a wall about Christmas books is the commercialism, the outpouring of sales tactics, and overly-sappy romances that tend to be presented along with the Christmas theme in and around these books. It seems to me like everyone and their goats are trying to make a few big bucks at the expense of a sacred event. Perhaps that isn't what's going on. Maybe I've misunderstood all the flashy graphics and "only ninety-nine cents!" gimmicks that create a monumental flurry of social media activity for "Christmas in July" and again leading up to Christmas (in December). For the most part, Christmas books remind me of all that, and that instantly makes me hesitate to read them.

Even though I've thoroughly enjoyed a few of them.

Mostly, those I've enjoyed I didn't actually read at Christmastime. I read Colors of Christmas this past summer. Where Treetops Glisten was read in a previous January. If I'm going to read a Christmas book and actually enjoy it, typically it won't be when I'm seeing an overload of holiday-themed ads on TV or all across the internet.

Other people may love piling up on Christmas stories during December. Maybe seeing all the ads and smiling faces and decorations and snow gets you in the mood to read cozy Christmas tales. Perhaps reading a dozen (or more) of them in a row doesn't make them all run together for you. If that's the case, please enjoy! I'm truly happy for you.

Whether you're one of those "It's Black Friday; bring on the Christmas books!" people or an "I'd rather wait till summer for this genre" person (like me), this is the reading challenge for you. The books may have a blatant, obvious Christmas theme, or they may have only one Christmas scene in the midst of a very not-Christmasy-at-all storyline.


We may disagree on our approaches to Christmas books.

But perhaps on this one thing we may agree:

Merry Christmas!


Which Christmas books are you looking forward to reading this month?

What is your favorite Christmastime book?

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
(Mine’s a tie between White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life.)

Last call! November was all about Family Ties.


Dawn Cox said...

I agree with your classic Christmas movies and would like to add "It Happened on 5th Avenue!"

I'm looking forward to reading a Christmas book.

Thanks for the enjoyable challenges all year. It's been fun!

Andrea Cox said...

Ooh, I LOVE It Happened on 5th Avenue! That movie always makes me laugh.

Over the last couple of days, I've actually been craving reading a Christmas book... in December! What's happening to me?! Haha!

Mom, thanks for jumping in on all my reading challenges this year. It's been even more fun because you've been playing along. :)

Lilian S. said...

This is a cool challenge! I don't think I'll be able to join because I'm a little overwhelmed with reading right now, but I would like to next year!

Andrea Cox said...

There are no guarantees that next year's challenge will be the same. I like to mix things up. Hopefully there will be at least one challenge you'll enjoy next year. I've got some really fun ones planned. And hey, if any of the books you end up reading this month feature Christmas in at least one scene, feel free to come and join in with those after all. Blessings!

Rebekah said...

I'm one of those crazy people who read almost nothing but Christmas books from just before Thanksgiving (I had 47 Christmas books I wanted to read! I figured I'd have to start early.) until just after Christmas. Then I'm done until next year. (Unless I'm reading and reviewing a book for someone.) So you can expect a LONG list of Christmas books from me. :) (And I really liked "Colors of Christmas" and "Where Treetops Glisten.") :)

Andrea Cox said...

Happy Christmas reading, Rebekah! I'm so glad you enjoyed Colors and Treetops too. They were so fun!

Dawn Cox said...

I just finished reading "The Christmas Bus" by Melody Carlson.

Thanks again, Andrea, for the 2018 challenges!

Andrea Cox said...

Thanks for supporting my challenges this year, Mom. Love you!

Rebekah said...

Here's my list. I didn't have time to read as many as I wanted (and some were always checked out at the library), but I did manage to read 22 Christmas books this month. :) Ready?

Frost Heaves by Alana Terry
Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh
The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson
The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig
Christmas Vows: $5.00 Extra by Lori Copeland
The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson
Christmas Smiles by Rebekah A. Morris (Yes, I did reread a few of my own Christmas books.)
Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock
The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson
The Least of These by Kate Willis
First Christmas in America by Rebekah A. Morris
The Christmas Donkey by Alta Halverson Seymour
Some Christmas Camouflage by Elisabeth Grace Foley
The Old Peabody Pew by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Journey into Christmas and Other Stories by Bess Streeter Aldrich
Comfort and Joy, by Lesley Ann McDaniel
Brushed with Love, by April Hayman
Tangoed in Tinsel, by Chautona Havig
Shattered Pieces, by Alana Terry
Under the Christmas Star, by Amanda Tru
Sunflower's Christmas Miracle by Sarah Maxwell
Christmas Delays and other short stories by Rebekah A. Morris

And there you have it. :)

Thanks so much for doing this great reading challenge this year, Andrea! I've read more books in 2018 than I have EVER read in a year before! :) And a lot of them were books I probably wouldn't have picked up if it hadn't been for this fun challenge.

Andrea Cox said...

Rebekah, you just gave me a great start to the week! I'm so happy that you've stretched your reading, not only in quantity, but also in variety. Congratulations!

How fun that you reread some of your own books! I was recently wondering if authors did that. Thanks for playing along all year! I hope you'll join in some during 2019 as well. I've got some fun categories planned out for the year.

Faith P. said...

I've read oodles of books this month, most of which were Christmasy. :) This was a fun challenge! Looking forward to January. :D

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti
Behold by Faith Potts (Ha! Editing. ;))
A Happy Trails Christmas by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
Silent Star by Tracie Peterson
A Christmas Peril by Diane Moody
The Least of These by Kate Willis
Savanna's Gift by Camille Eide
Emmanuel by Angela R. Watts
Kind by Kellyn Roth
The 12 Ways of Christmas by David Jeremiah
At Your Request by Jen Turano
The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook
Coffee Shop Christmas by Ryana Miller
The Old Mansion's Secret by Rebekah A. Morris
The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
The Angel of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris

Andrea Cox said...

Great job, Faith! I also read The Angel of Bastogne this month. How neat that we both read that one. :)

Dawn Cox said...

I know my small amount of book reading is nothing compared to what some of you read, but I just finished reading my second Christmas book entitled "An Endless Christmas" by Cynthia Ruchti. I enjoyed the year, Andrea! Love you, Mom

Faith P. said...

Yes! I saw your Goodreads review, which prompted me to give it a try, since I'd had a copy for a year or two. :)

Andrea Cox said...

Great job fitting in another one during the busiest season of the year!

Andrea Cox said...

My list ended up being longer than expected.

1. Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
2. A Cliche Christmas by Nicole Deese
3. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
4. Christmas Ranch Rescue by Lynette Eason
5. Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (GM)
6. The Christmas Heirloom by Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade
7. The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson
8. The Angel of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris
9. Arthur's Christmas by Marc Brown
10. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
11. Snowflake by Suzanne Weyn
12. Little Nemo's Wild Sleigh Ride by Roland Urbanek
13. Red Boots by Kate Willis
14. A Bride's Agreement by Elaine Bonner, Ramona Cecil, Nancy J. Farrier, JoAnn A. Grote, DiAnn Mills
15. A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer