Getting into the Spirit

By now, you probably all know about my Christmas Ornament tradition (and if you don’t, there’ll be more on that, later, once the tree itself goes up). It’s one of the ways I fought for some Christmas spirit after years and years of working retail at this time of year. Last year was my first year without working Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and having only four days off in December before Christmas, and that wretched Chipmunks Christmas song playing every freaking hour…Alvin

Gah. Okay. Shake it off, ‘Nathan, shake it off.

The Christmas Ornaments weren’t the only thing, though. I had a few other traditions for Coping-With-Christmas, and many of them were book related. I actively sought out some fun books set during the holiday season. For one, I always re-listen to the Patrick Stewart version of A Christmas Carol. I’d save that for heading to and from work, usually on the days closest to Christmas Day, often on December 23rd – the hardest day of the retail year, especially if it landed on a weekend. Listening to Stewart’s voice tell that tale, I’d feel my shoulders drop inch by inch, the tension fading away a little bit at a time.

Magic.

A physical book I re-read every Christmas is Becky Cochrane‘s A Coventry Christmas. This one is, hands down, my favourite Christmas book tradition.A Coventry Christmas

It doesn’t hurt that the main character, Keelie, is a bookseller.

My original review, from many, many years ago:

I stayed up to nearly midnight finishing “A Coventry Christmas,” and laughing all the while (much to the chagrin of the attempting-to-sleep husband beside me). Keelie is a blast. She’s an assistant manager for a grotesque boss at a bookstore, and Christmas is coming, with all the attendant issues thereof (you can tell that Becky Cochrane has book retail history, and the scenes in the book store made me chuckle for their accuracy). She’s tired, cranky, hates Christmas, and just wants… well, something. Anything. Preferably being swept off her feet (and out of the bookstore) by the handsome beefy security fellow who picks up the morning deposit. But, with a broken ankle and time off at Christmas for the first time since her retail career began, Keelie has the chance to walk… well, hobble… into a new sort of Christmas.

With the superb group-of-friends style that I’ve come to know and love from Cochrane and her compatriots in other works, the ensemble cast is just the right mix of people, and the plot kept me laughing, smiling, and interested. Empathizing with Cochrane’s characters isn’t hard – somehow, regardless of how out-there some of the characters might be, you click with them and get pulled in for the ride.

If you’re having anything like a rough Christmas period, snap this book up. I do warn you that it will eat up what little spare time you have, might make you stay up late, and your husband might take it from you and say things like, “No book right now, talk to me,” but don’t worry – it’s worth it. And you can always steal the book back when he falls asleep.

So what about you? Do you have a re-read or a re-watch that you come back to every year for Christmas? Let me know – I love hearing about what others revisit.

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