Christmas is a time to spend with family and those close to the heart. Here in Germany, one usually wishes others a "besinnlich" (contemplative or reflective) Christmas, and regardless of religious beliefs, most Germans celebrate and hold this festival in the highest regard.
Nevertheless, the festive season can be chaotic, stressful and anything far from 'besinnlich'. Buying presents, planning visits to family members (especially if you come from a culture where Christmas is a time you spend with your extended family, where visiting all the aunts and uncles is a must !), and all the other Christmas-related obligations, like Christmas partys at work and/or at sports club, can leave many overwhelmed, and to be honest, not so joyful !
I consider Christmas to be the best time of the year for reading. Sitting with family
and loved ones, drinking coffee (or hot chocolate) on cold mornings, with
lit advent candles, reading, and enjoying our blessings; being surrounded by those dearest to us, is the greatest Christmas present of them all!
With so much going on, reading may not be an option for many, especially those with little ones, but if you have the opportunity to catch up on some reading, then check out my picks for this time of the year.
The books that I suggest in this article are not directly related to the festive season, meaning they do not take place at or relate directly to Christmas, but rather relate to being 'besinnlich', being contemplative and reflective .
Although the young Davy loses his mother at a young age and has to suffer from the cruelness of his stepfather, this classic is truly uplifting due to the tender feelings of the young, teenage and adult David Copperfield.
This is a long one about 720 pages, I got it as a present a few years ago, and even though I have not finished reading it, I am sure it is a perfect choice to read this time of the year.
|Always a joy to read any work by Charles Dickens|
This children's novel I have yet to read, but I watched as a cartoon series when I was 8 years old. The moral theme of this story is to be kind and generous to all and under any circumstance. It is a about the young Sara, which her wealthy father leaves at a boarding school in London, whereas he leaves for the Indian continent for business. She is loved and admired by her schoolmates, school staff and others who cross her path due to her kindness and willingness to help, and is called a "true" princess. Misfortune strikes, her father dies and loses his wealth, and Sara is forced by Miss Minchin, the school's cruel headmistress to work as a servant and live in the attic in that same boarding school. Even under these hard circumstances, Sara remains true, kind and generous to all, helping those with less fortune than her with the little means she has. I don't want to ruin the story in case you don't know it so I won't tell you the end, but I will say that a monkey is involved ;)
|A Little Princess: never give up on your principles, even in the darkest of times |
This one shares the same author as the one above, and also I have yet to read. Nevertheless, it is an all-time favourite of mine that I got to know from watching two different film adaptations, from the first I only remember the story, and that I watched it with my Mom, and the second is the 1993 film that was shown recently on TV, and left me in such a magical mood that I can not wait to relive by reading the book.
It is about another little girl, Mary, who is -unlike Sara- very bad tempered and spoiled. Mary's parents die in India, for that reason she has to go back to England to live with her wealthy uncle, whom she had never met before. Mary discovers a secret garden in the vast property of her uncle's land that has been neglected for years. A few days later, she discovers that she has a cousin, Colin, who is very sick, and both father and Son are, like Mary, very unhappy. In the course of the story, the three learn from each other, and by such find a new way to happiness, while the secret garden is restored to its former beauty.
|The Secret Garden : Love can heal it all|
If it comes to the theme 'besinnlich', I doubt there being many books more appropriate than The Prophet. This book of prose poetry is one of the best-selling books of all time, and has been translated from English to more than 40 languages. The poems cover topics that are central to our lives, and my favourite -even though I have much of the book left to read- is the poem about love: When love beckons to you, follow him . . .
So even if you have crazy long to-do-lists, stress in choosing the right presents, and the usual heap of work your boss wants you to finish before the Holidays, I hope all have a joyful festive season, full of love, yummy food, contemplation, and of course a good read.
|The Prophet : The magic of being human|
What are your favourite books for the Christmas season? Do you have one book you go back to every time Christmas approaches? Share it with us down in the comments!
Labels: A Little Princess, best books for Christmas, Charles Dickens, Christmas reading list, David Copperfield, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Khalil Gibran, lifestyle, The Prophet, The Secret Garden