Holiday Traditions: Book Gifts and A Christmas Carol

29 Dec

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend and that you’re enjoying the (traditionally) quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s. I certainly am! Work was so crazy – even more than usual – in the weeks before Christmas, that I’m savoring the fact that I’m actually bored at the office this week. I keep feeling guilty that I’m not blogging during the day while I’ve got some time to do so. But it’s amazing how nice it is to have nothing to do sometimes!

I also managed in the week before Christmas to come up with some books to add to my wishlist, so as much as I worried about having few books on my list originally, I still welcomed some new titles to my bookshelves:

Those are the books I asked for, and I don’t know about you guys, but my parent’s rarely buy me books that I haven’t asked for, mostly because they have no idea what I already own. But this year, my mom took a risk and got me the memoir, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray

I’d never heard of it before, but it absolutely looks like something I’d pick up. I love these kind of memoirs, and I actually hadn’t seen any reviews of this either, so it was a nice surprise to get something I wasn’t expecting. Speaking of excellent gifts, I’m also writing this blog on my brand new MacBook Air :-D. I’m so in love with it that I might actually make time in the evenings to blog instead of read :).

Also because I was so busy at work in the time leading up to Christmas, my shopping time was seriously in jeopardy and I ended up going out to finish it up on Christmas Eve (which I’ve never, ever done before and I’m slightly ashamed of!). But I discovered what I think will become an annual tradition – for me at least, if not my family: listening to the audio version of A Christmas Carol. The book was on my Must Read: Classics list and I’d really wanted to get to it over the weekend, but things were looking so hectic that I doubted I’d be able to find the  time to sit down and read it. So I did the next best (and in this case, much more entertaining) thing and downloaded the audio version to my iPod and listened to it while I was in the car, running errands, and then plugged in the headphones and brought it with me while I shopped. It worked out fantastically and I really got in the holiday spirit, way more than I think I would’ve just listening to Christmas carols on the radio. You can only listen to “Carol of the Bells” so many times (and that’s my favorite Christmas song!) The version I listened to was free, through the excellent Lit2Go series from the University of South Florida on iTunes U, but there are also some other great audio versions that are downloadable from iTunes including one narrated by Patrick Stewart. Even if its not this version, I will certainly make listening to Dickens’ classic Christmas story an annual event in the days leading up to the big day. I also listened to part of the story while wrapping gifts, and I can absolutely see doing this again. It totally made my Christmas Eve to immerse myself in this tale. Since I live in DC, for several years, my parents and I have gone to see Ford Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol which never disappoints. This year we couldn’t find the opportunity to go but I liked keeping the story as part of my holiday tradition. Plus I finally get to cross this off my Classics list!

Do you have any literary holiday traditions? Is A Christmas Carol a part of them?

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5 Responses to “Holiday Traditions: Book Gifts and A Christmas Carol”

  1. Amy December 29, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I don’t have a particular holiday tradition, other than to wallow in books, which I plan to do this weekend!

    I’m hosting a Great Expectations read-along this winter, probably starting mid-February. Join us!

  2. Kerry December 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Great Christmas haul – looking forward to hearing what you think of Great House.

    I just read Christmas Carol for the first time, but I’m intrigued by listening to it while shopping. Great idea!

  3. oh December 29, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Yes, absolutely – A CHRISTMAS CAROL is part of our Holiday tradition! We have read it aloud for more than 20 years, with the kids taking turns and joining in as they learned to read. And, as if we can’t get enough, we love the various movies, though Patrick Stewart, George C Scott, and even Bill Murray’s SCROOGED are faves! So glad you discovered it. So glad you love it and will make it a tradition!

    will be back, and Happy New Year!

  4. pburt December 31, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    I loved Great House – hope you enjoy it as well.

    Happy New Year!

  5. B. Wolf January 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I actually watched a movie on Hulu based on Liz Murray’s story. It was cool to see how she changed her life!

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