Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advent Calendar: Christmas Stories

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past four years (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), but this year, there are some new prompts, and the sequence has changed for some old prompts used in previous years.  For the latter, in some cases I'll simply re-post, while in others, I will link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's at least somewhat related.

The prompt for today (a new one this year) is:  December 17 – Christmas Stories

Whether it is "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Suess, we read or heard special stories at Christmastime. What is your favorite story and who wrote it? Do you have a tradition of reading certain stories each year at Christmas?  Tell us about your favorite Christmas stories and your memories of Christmases past.

Too many stories to list!  This is one of those prompts that, like favorite tree ornaments (or ornaments with stories behind them), it would be easy to write a whole series.

I don't remember books from my own childhood so much as I remember books I read to my own offspring about 20-25 years ago.  One that I still have in my Christmas box is this one, The Starlight Bride, written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis and published in 1988, when Eric was two.

This book isn't really about Christmas, but it is set during Advent - which right there makes it rather unique for children's books!  A prince must marry before taking over the kingdom from his old father the king, and (as in Cinderella), noble women from the surrounding area are invited to come and stay the month of Advent, during which time the prince (Bachelor style) interacts with each of the ladies in a variety of social environments.  When it comes time to make a choice, though, he cannot make up his mind.  He asks God to give him a particular sign to indicate the right woman.

On the book jacket, Lewis says the book was based on a friend's dream, "in which she saw me with an elderly man in a courtyard surrounded on three sides by little houses with different-colored doors.  At each we knocked, and each opened to reveal a different young woman who invited us in to visit.  The dream fascinated me, and I couldn't help but see it as a story of father and son, or King and Prince, seeking the perfect mate.  Reflecting on my own experiences and desires, I projected myself into the scene and the story practically wrote itself."

This beautiful book has a lovely message and gorgeous illustrations, full of rich, vibrant color.  I especially like the border designs around the main picture on each page. I also like the fact that the story is set in a place that does NOT have snow at Christmastime.  For a girl who grew up in a Gulf Coast climate, that is important!

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

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