We have tonnes of Christmas books in our house and we aren’t allowed to pass any on just yet, even the crazy board book about the Nativity. That’s the one where the animals seem to know when Mary and Joseph are due to arrive and are capable of discussing the ramifications.

We read all our Christmas books at this time of the year, as you might expect, a lot. We all have our favourites.

Tilly’s is ‘Wenceslas’ which is a moody traditional book with lots of blizzard illustrations. I’d be concerned it suggests a dark traditionalist edge to her character if she wasn’t also completely obsessed with Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. And anyway I suspect she likes Wenceslas particularly so she can force us to sing the whole carol every time we read it.

Paul favours the Grinch. Thankfully not because he identifies at all with the lead character. I suspect it’s just because it’s funny. A darned sight funnier than the film I think.

Phoebe still loves ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ which is such a classic I cannot recommend it highly enough. Although they do still fight over who is opening each envelope every flipping time. And she loves ‘Mog’s Christmas’, my copy of which I’ve had since 1976 (thanks Joan and Ken).

And then there’s me. Weirdly my favourite is one I don’t think I had as a child: ‘Lucy and Tom’s Christmas’ by Shirley Hughes. It is simply beautiful and I guess perfectly describes everyone’s idyllic Christmas. But there is one page that gets me literally every time I read it aloud. It actually makes my voice falter.

Christmas can be quite tiring. Tom gets very excited about his presents and rather cross.

So he and Grandpa go for a walk together in the snow, just the two of them. The sun is very big and red.

I can’t identify exactly why it gets me. It’s the walking with Grandpa line that makes me tearful. I do know I walked with my own wonderful Grandad many times down Burton Road. Not necessarily at Christmas, and not necessarily because I was being a nightmare (although maybe I was). But I remember walking hand in hand. So maybe it’s that – simply a happy memory from such a long time ago.

And maybe it’s the acknowledgement of of my own kids doing exactly the same.

Mum and Dad are coming for Christmas on Monday. I suspect my eldest might need a trip out with Grandad. Just because.

Thanks Shirley.

(Excuse the quality of the image. This is scanned from our book hence a very poor mirror image. The real page is stunning).


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