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In this Santaland -esque satire, Updike notes the many sketchy, shady, and simply strange aspects of the holiday season. For instance, Santa Claus — what does he do those other 11 months of the year?

48 Joyous Christmas Quotes to Brighten the Season

Combined with the Gothic drawings of Edward Gorey, this darkly comedic pamphlet will get you seriously thinking and drinking away the discomfort this Christmas season. So yes, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are no doubt the queens of Christmas — but their stories will warm your heart any day of the year. Hans Christian Andersen strikes again in one of his most famous and devastating works.

The undisputed King of Legal Thrillers turns his hand to writing a comedy of errors in this novel that features precisely zero jurors or murderers.

Even though their family is poor and the cousins are far apart in age, they revel in the pure joy of the Christmas season… and Buddy never forgets this particular Christmas, especially after he and his cousin lose touch. Depicting the immaculate conception and the birth of Christ, this is the telling of the Nativity that most Christians know and love.

Available in most hotel rooms in the US, thanks to the Gideons. Set over the course of Christmas Eve, this illustrated book charts both his magical and mundane hijinks, from breaking into Buckingham Palace to downing a bottle of brandy by his fireplace. Readers of Charles Dickens will already have a pretty good idea of how grim working class conditions were in industrial Britain.

In this satirical poem, Sims tells the story of an old man in a home for the poor, recalling the tragedy that befell his wife last Christmas. And George Michael thought he had it bad! Needless to say, these eccentric characters made even more so by the holiday season are sure to put a smile on your face.

Christmas day, A man contemplates suicide and wishes he had never been born — only to have the wish seemingly granted. The man then finds that almost everyone he knows is worse off without him, and returns to his old life full of fresh perspective. Classic Cheever. This story-within-a-story is a clever, meta commentary on the sentimentality and morality we expect from Christmas lore, even though real life is rarely so neatly packaged. Another quintessential Christmas movie that began as a story! But can he convince a courtroom in his favor, too?

Follow our young hero Joachim as he dives into mystery of the advent calendar and the missing Elisabet, who just might be closer than he thinks. Nothing like some dense Russian prose to keep you warm this winter. At Christmas Time is actually a very touching story of familial love: young Yefimya has married and moved away, but her parents are illiterate and cannot write to her, though they miss her desperately. So when Christmas comes, they hire a scribe to write for them — and when Yefimya receives their letter, she weeps with uncontained sorrow and joy. This vivid story details the Christmas Eve of a young Chicago man as he roams the streets, starving and searching for some way to get money or food.

Frustrated after missing the chance to burgle a young woman, he decides to rob a grand mansion house… but what or rather who he finds inside stops him dead in his tracks.

How to Get into the Christmas Spirit

A small child wanders through an unfamiliar city by himself, bereft of his mother and rejected by everyone he meets. Our final entry from Andersen is the poignant story of a fir tree throughout its life. When it was blazing well, I told my companion I was leaving for a few moments to go outside. I left the hogan, and I thought that perhaps it would be wise if I started the truck so that it would start in the morning, because it was so cold.

I started the truck, and waited a few minutes for the truck to warm up. There I stood on that far edge of the world among the cluster of five hogans with the people all soundly asleep. Just after midnight on the day that we celebrate that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was born. As I looked up at the wide expanse of heaven while leaning on the truck, I saw not a cloud, but rather there was the cold and the sharp contrast of earth and sky. The heavens were ablaze with the stars, and I was made to feel incredibly lonely at that moment in time, about as far away from my family and any other human being that I could possibly feel.

And as that sense of loneliness engulfed me, I just stood and took in the breadth of the sky and all its radiant beauty. I heard after some time a lamb or two bleating in the corral. This distracted my attention, and sensing a little bit more unrest among the animals, I thought that perhaps I should walk the hundred yards or so from the truck to the corrals to see that everything was all right.

Uncle Lion's Tales (Part 06) - Spirit of Christmas -- Value Cartoons

As I crossed that stretch of ground on that cold and starlit night, I looked up at the stars and thought of that faraway land where some 2, years before my Savior had been born, on a night not unlike this perhaps, wherein he with his parents sat in a lonely stable surrounded by a few sheep, goats and other animals.

It would have been again, in a sense, in a lonely part of that world. I reached the corral, saw everything was OK with the sheep, turned and began to cross that hundred yards of space between the corral and the truck. As I reached the midway point, I had to stop and look once more at the wide expanse of heaven, and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving for that night and that event which happened 2, years before. Following the prayer, as I turned to walk towards the truck I distinctly heard a child cry in the night.

That cry spoke to my inner soul with an ardent voice, and I knew then in a way I had never known before that I had been given a gift, a gift of Christmas unlike any other I would ever receive. As my young family has grown over the years, one of our Christmas traditions has become reading and sharing a different Christmas story every night from December 1st to December 25 th. In addition to the stories that we have gathered from a variety of books, we now also have started adding these stories, our own family stories, to the Christmas story reading tradition. Writing down and passing on such stories can become a Christmas gift and tradition that will bless families for generations to come.

During this Christmas season, slow down and take a few moments to remember. Remember the moments that have given you a testimony of the rich spirit of family, faith, and the Savior at this Christmas season. Write them down and share them with your family members. Let your Christmas memories become part of your family heritage that will bless those around you at this special time of year.

  • How to Get into the Christmas Spirit.
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  • Rediscovering the True Spirit of Christmas!

Line upon Line. Madison's outlook on why this balancing act works is super impressive. Every child needs a mother and father figure and my son Cade just happens to get some extra love. Be civil and co-parent.

The Surprising Place You Find the Best Christmas Stories

If you made the child together it's both your job to raise the child. Of course, every blended family's situation is different—and some will have a much harder time with co-parenting than others—but we love this particular dynamic so much. And we're not the only ones: The image and message are going viral, with parents everywhere praising this blended family's ability to embrace one another.

Madison isn't the only mom out there who has mastered co-parenting, but we are incredibly impressed by her outlook all the same. When Brenda Wetmore Giffen's adult daughter asked her if she could remake her wedding dress into a play tent for her daughter, the grandmother was not sure if it could be done. But Grandma came through and the stunning results have gone viral.

Giffen posted her creation on Facebook six months ago, but the internet has been very excited about it this week, giving the story a second life, just like the wedding dress. As Giffen explains in her Facebook post, her daughter asked her if she could make a play tent, memory pillow, and maybe a garter and a tutu for the grandkids as an alternative to just storing the wedding dress.

But once this grandmother got into the project she found herself loving the challenge and trying to figure out how many new items she could craft from one dress. I made two garters so that each granddaughter will have her own. It's not very likely that I'll be there for their weddings, but I hope they will give Grammy Giffen a thought on that day. I still have enough fabric and tulle to make a tutu for Elena's baby sister who is due in August. Jim helped with the engineering.

We designed and he built stabilizers for the top and bottom of the tent, so it doesn't collapse on the girls while they are playing. It's been challenging, a little scary, lots of fun, and probably the major creative project of my lifetime!

With all the attention this post has been getting Giffen added a note to her wedding dress story: She is now creating memory pillows and other keepsakes for other brides through her website. Think back to when you were a kid. Chances are, you struggled to find a doll that really made you feel like you were accurately represented.

Maybe all the toys on the shelf had a different body type than yours, or maybe they were all of a certain skin tone, one that didn't resemble your own.

Christmas Spirit, Do You Possess The True Spirit Of Christmas?

Or maybe you had a challenge of some sort, one that wasn't represented by the dolls you were seeing. Sure, we've come a long way since then: Toy manufacturers are finally realizing how important it is to represent diversity and inclusion in their products A California teacher understands this, and she recently stepped up to do something to make her students feel seen. Genesis Politron works with hearing-impaired children, and she realized that while many of her students wear hearing devices, there were no dolls on the market that represented this.

So Genesis did something incredible: She decided to create dolls that her students could see themselves in Genesis added cochlear implants and hearing aids to existing dolls so her children could see accurate representations of themselves in the toys. The dolls aren't just inclusive, they're also beautiful: Genesis used glitter and puff paint to increase the fun factor.

Genesis tweeted about the dolls and, not surprisingly, her post has gone viral. I wish everyone could see their faces playing with these," she writes. I wanted my students to have the same opportunity, and to be represented in the toys that they play with," Genesis tells CNN of her decision to create these dolls. I wanted to allow my students to see themselves in toys for once, to feel accepted.

The teacher also explains that her children tend to gravitate to the dolls that best reflect their own identities : The students with cochlear implants reach for the dolls with the same device, while those who use hearing aids play with the dolls with hearing aids. As parents, all we can hope for when we send our children out in the world is that someone like Genesis will touch their lives and make them feel special.

This wonderful teachers' students are so lucky to have someone like her.