Christmas is only a little over a month away. The well-kept mistletoe, Christmas tree and Santa’s socks are finally out after a year and soon enough, our favorite puto bumbong, bibingka and queso de bola will make its way to our tummies. With the cooler weather and the nights longer, all the lights and sparkly garlands are bringing the much-needed holiday cheer.
Even without the decorations, however, anyone can slowly get into the best – and the longest – season for Filipinos with a classic or contemporary Christmas book in hand.
Still not feeling the fast-approaching holidays? Here are some of the novels you can read to get you in the mood for the most beautiful time of the year:
1. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (2002)
David Baldacci’s The Christmas Train is like the grown-up version of The Polar Express where all the action takes place on-board a train. Instead of a willing little boy named Billy, a forced and disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon takes the ride from Washington to Los Angeles to make it just in time for Christmas. He begins a journey of “rude awakenings, thrilling adventures, and holiday magic”. It looks like the train is actually headed to the “rugged terrain of his own heart” as he makes rediscoveries during the season of miracles: people’s essential goodness and second chances for deepest hopes and dreams.
2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)
Nothing beats a good, old classic novel about Christmas like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. An old man in wintry, cold town well-known for his miserly ways and utter hate for Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. After his dreams from The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come gives him a preview of a miserable death that no one mourns for, a change in Scrooge happens for good.
3. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (2013)
Apart from an astonishing – and terrifying – amusement playground called “Christmasland”, there’s more horror than holiday sparkles in Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. Charles Talent Manx takes children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate, NOS4A2, to slip right out of the everyday world and onto the hidden roads that transport the kids to an evil place, never to return. The only kid to ever survive the ordeal is Victoria McQueen. While she’s all grown up and desperate to forget, Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria. He’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
4. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (1976)
The Lord of the Rings and its fascinating Middle Earth did not entirely occupy J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing activities. He, too, had something up his sleeve for Christmas. Specifically written between 1920 to 1942 and most likely recited to his children by the fireplace, the enduring stories documented the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. Not bad for an awesome author as a father, right?
5. Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here by Max Lucado (2016)
A reflective piece by Christian author Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here tells the wonderful story of Betlehem, answering questions about the baby in the manger, who he is and what he has to do with anyone. He also shares the enduring “heart-shaping promises of Christmas”, long after the party guests have left and the carolers have gone home.
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