If a parent can take the time out of their busy holiday season and cuddle up with the kids and a good Christmas story, the calming effect and quality time will be worth the break from the hustle and bustle for both parent and child.

“The all time classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens is always a good choice,” said Mike Dignan, head librarian of the South Paris Public Library. “But, Dickens also wrote another great Christmas book entitled ‘A Cricket on The Hearth.’”

“A Cricket on the Hearth and Other Christmas Stories” includes the title story, a fable about home life in the Victorian era; “The Holly Tree,” a tale about love at a country inn and “The Haunted House,” an entertaining account of a belligerent ghost.

There is always “The Drummer Boy” by Kristina Rodanas, a holiday staple. Also read “Drummer Boy” by Loren Long, which is a slightly different version of the classic tale.

“The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler’s Sons” is a nice story by Ruth Sawyer about a mischievous goblin king who brings Christmas magic and joy into the lives of Fritzl, Franzl and Hansl, the sons of a very poor cobbler.

“Both children and adults can enjoy Norman Rockwell’s ‘Deck the Halls,’” said Christie Wessels, children’s librarian of the South Paris Public Library. “The book is lovely to look at and has the words to the song.”

Also in the Norman Rockwell series are “Jingle Bells,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “What Child is This.”

For a little diversity and teaching children about other cultures there is “Seven Spools to a Thread, A Kwanzaa Story” by Angela Shelf Medearis.

The story is about seven brothers from an African village who were always fighting. When their father passed away the will he left stated that the seven brothers would have to make gold out of seven spools by sundown or become beggars. A lesson in co-operation and love; a good lesson for all.

Smaller children might enjoy “Happy Hanukkah,” a Curious George, tabbed board-book by H. A. Rey.

In this story, on the eighth day of Hanukkah George and his friends light the menorah, spin the driedel, make latkes and learn the importance of mitzvah.

Reading to children can be relaxing for adults as well, but sometimes grown ups need to take a break for themselves. The holidays can get pretty hectic and a good stress reliever is to take some downtime to relax with a book.

John Grisham fans might find “Skipping Christmas” an enticing idea, but it’s also a good story about Luther and Nora Krank. The Kranks are going on a cruise on Dec. 25 and figured they might just as well skip Christmas. They find that skipping the biggest holiday of the year is not as easy as they thought.

“Visions of Sugar Plums: A Stephanie Plum Holiday Story” by Janet Evanovich is a holiday version of Stephanie Plum’s misfortunes, zany adventures, high jinx and a happy, but twisted, ending.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson is another story that can be enjoyed by adults as well as children.

This is a tale of the worst kids in the history of the world who take over the annual church Christmas pageant. The church members are in shock and worried. The bad boys present their version of the Christmas story, which is hardly recognizable as the church members know.

The number of holiday books celebrating all traditions and cultures is endless. There is a book suitable for all ages and reading levels available at your local library. 

Reading is a great way to spend time with excited little ones or to spend some time for yourself. Books, whether holiday related or just a darn good story also make excellent gifts. Check a book store in your area for outstanding gift ideas.

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