Stories and Christmas go together like shortbread and milk.
They are just meant to be together – and no matter if they are deliciously good, old and stale, or melt in our mouths – we love them.
I didn’t grow up with Christmas stories. As soon as the first decorations went up, we sang. In the car, in the house, wherever we were. And despite my lousy singing I recall shouting at the top of my lungs with the rest. That’s how it is with ritual. You don’t know where they start or why. You don’t know you should be quiet if you don’t sing like Streisand, Adele, or even Idina Menzel. You just sing.
With my own kids, the Christmas tradition became reading stories. We were always heading somewhere to visit relatives and this usually included neverending rides in cars and on ferries. In those, ‘pre-tablet days’ we gathered up armloads of Christmas picture books. Endless stories. Give me some gorgeous drawings, a happy wintertime scene and teary ending and I am sold for life. And there’s no better place to find those stories than at the local library http://www.fvrl.bc.ca/ .
Other stories have been lucky surprises. I recall laughing hysterically with my eldest while sitting in our car for 10 minutes outside a Christmas party the first time we ever heard Stuart Maclean’s Dave Cooks the Turkey on CBC.
And I remember throwing in a hand-me-down CD of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales into the car stereo as a last resort one long Christmas Day drive. I admit I had never really heard the whole thing. But it is mercifully long and kept everyone silent for what seemed like forever that cold morning.
Twenty years later, we still throw it on each Christmas morning as we head off into the hustle and bustle. We know the funny bits by heart and grow silent as Dylan does toward the end. It’s just what we do.
Check out storytimes in your neighbourhood
That’s how it is with Christmas. Traditions begin when we are busy trying to get through chaos and – if we are lucky – keep us company for a long time. If you’d like to start a Christmas reading tradition with your family check out the local Christmas Storytimes for adults and children at either the Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows FVRL branches this December.
We are making a list and checking it twice
And in the mean time, we at the MRPMK Literacy Committee are wondering what kind of books you are reading with your shortbread and milk? Please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter. We will make a list and put it up close to Christmas for others to see. Who knows you might start a new tradition for someone.