Tuesday, 9 December 2014

My favourite Christmas time moments: Books

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We are well into December now, so naturally I am all about the ice skating, mulled wine-drinking, Christmas-pudding-eating experience. But before I head into yet another Christmas market, I thought it would be a good idea to look into some of my favourite books and find festive inspiration in them. So, here I am browsing in my library for those special little chapters dedicated to Christmas or at least to some fun winter activity, re-reading the stories  that have the ultimate festive effect on me. Here are my favourites... (Spoiler alert: there isn't any evidence of a crazy, jazzy, champagne-filled Christmas party at Gatsby's on the pages of Fitzgerald's novel...) 

"Little Women" - Christmas time is all about the once you love most. About playing in the snow and being happy with what you've got

Not intending to copy Rachel Green, but Little Women is definitely a book I can keep re-reading and I won't get tired from it. Come Christmas and I suddenly find myself in the mood to watch the film again, too (well, that might have something to do with a certain Christian Bale). Personally, I think this is one of the best Christmas movies - not only is it based on a classic, but it is also so beautiful and full of good performances. 
Now, there are whole chapters dedicated to winter festivities involving the March sisters, but here is just a little bit of it - a passage showing a girl's excitement in a Christmas' morning; the joy of opening your presents however small they are, and the warmness of genuine sisterly love .

"Jo was the first to wake in the gray dawn of Christmas morning. No stockings hung at the fireplace, and for a moment she felt as much disappointed as she did long ago, when her little sock fell down because it was crammed so full of goodies. Then she remembered her mother's promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book. She knew it very well, for it was that beautiful old story of the best life ever lived, and Jo felt that it was a true guidebook for any pilgrim going on a long journey. She woke Meg with a Merry Christmas, and bade her see what was under her pillow. A green-covered book appeared, with the same picture inside, and a few words written by their mother, which made their one present very precious in their eyes. Presently Beth and Amy woke to rummage and find their little books also, one dove-colored, the other blue, and all sat looking at and talking about them, while the east grew rosy with the coming day.
In spite of her small vanities, Margaret had a sweet and pious nature, which unconsciously influenced her sisters, especially Jo, who loved her very tenderly, and obeyed her because her advice was so gently given."

"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - the one my generation grew up with. About true magic, true friendship and true invisibility cloaks. 

Is there any need to explain this one? As a person in their early twenties, I am one of the people who grew up with Harry Potter. Naturally, Harry's first special Christmas has a place in my heart - this was just the beginning of the adventure, and the books were getting better and better, but the Philosopher's Stone first gave us a glimpse into Hogwarts' festivities (and with that to ALL THE FOOD).
So, from there on, I would always look forward to chapters, dedicated to Christmas times in Hogwarts - the ultimate dream! Wouldn't you love to be a part of the Christmas Ball from the Goblet of Fire,? Wouldn't you love it to have a festive trip to Hogsmeade, eat all the candy in Honeydukes and then run quickly to warm up at The Three Broomsticks Inn? We both know you would lie, if you say no to that!

Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.” 

"After a meal of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, and Christmas cake, everyone felt too full and sleepy to do much before bed except sit and watch Percy chase Fred and George all over Gryffindor tower because they'd stolen his prefect badge."

"A Moveable Feast" - the one when you grow up. About everything. About life. About Paris. Just Hemingway...

Maybe this one is not very festive. Maybe it is just very honest - just like Hemingway himself. In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes a very poignant, very real and honest description of one winter in Schruns, with his first wife Hadley and their little boy, Bumby. A marriage that is coming to its end. A winter resort that possess of beauty which cannot help mend something that is already destroyed. "When there is three of us instead of just the two, it was the cold and the weather that finally drove us out of Paris in the winter time." 
The whole wine and dine experience at the Taube Hotel might be lovely, the snow might be the crispiest, the skiing might be gorgeous, the writing might be going just fine - the perfect place does not always come at the perfect time. This happy winter story is the last one for Ernest and Hadley.

"I remember the smell of the pines and the sleeping on the mattresses of beech leaves in the woodcutters' hats and the skiing through the forest following the tracks of hares and of foxes. In the high mountains above the tree line I remember following the track of a fox until I came in sight of him and watching him stand with his forefoot raised and then go on carefully to stop and then pounce, and the whiteness and the clutter of a ptarmigan bursting out of the snow ad flying away and over the ridge."

Hope you enjoyed this post, I definitely feel a bit more festive!

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