Thursday, December 11, 2008

PBW Holiday Giveaway #1 -- Gifts of Stories

This holiday season is all about books for me. I'm asking Santa for a pile of them, I'm nagging all my friends to hit the bookstore at least once before the end of the year, and I'm giving books as gifts to everyone I know. You guys are no exception. For the next twelve days, I'll have my usual daily holidays giveaways of books and other goodies here at PBW, as well as share some thoughts on books and storytelling.

Each year during Christmas I always re-read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The way the Ingalls family celebrated Christmas despite their hardships renews my spirits every time. I think this is an excellent book to give to your favorite kid or adult.

My other faithful holiday read is The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. I never get tired of this story, and the first three lines are simply genius: "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies." O. Henry's beautiful story reminds us that the greatest gift of all is love, which is all we really need to give to each other during the holidays (okay, but some books would be nice, too.)

Sharing a holiday story with another person in your life is a gift in itself, whether you read The Night Before Christmas to your kids on Christmas Eve or you push a holiday romance into your best friend's hands after you two survive your annual Shop Until We Drop spree. Holidays are all about sharing stories and making memories, and holiday books do both.

For the first PBW Holiday Giveaway, I have:



A Gift Bag of 12 Christmas Reads

-- unsigned hardcover copies of Dashing Through the Snow by Mary & Carol Higgins Clark and The Purpose of Christmas by Reverend Rick Warren

-- unsigned paperback copies of This Year's Christmas Present by Nina Bangs, Sandra Hill and Dara Joy, A Virgin River Christmas by Robin Carr, Wanted: Christmas Morning by Judy Christenberry, Snowy Night with a Stranger by Jane Feather, Sabrina Jeffries and Julia London, Small Town Christmas by Debbie Macomber, Silver Bells by Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, Mary Burton and Judy Duarte, Heating Up the Holidays by Jill Shalvis, Jacquie D'Alessandro, and Jamie Sobrato, All I Want for Christmas by Gina Wilkins, Welcome to Serenity by Sherryl Woods

-- a signed hardcover copy of my Rebecca Kelly GCI novel, Home for the Holidays

To have a chance to win this giveaway, in comments name your favorite Christmas or other holiday story, book or novel (or, if you can't pick just one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, December 12, 2008. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the gift bag with the 12 Christmas reads, plus an extra stocking stuffer -- a signed, printed* copy of my December Darkyn novella e-book release, Master of Shadows. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something from PBW in the past.

*Printed by me on bond paper and placed in a three-ring binder.

117 comments:

  1. I don't have a favorite Christmas story per se, but I like to read about how different cultures celebrate Christmas / year end, OR read novels set in summer. Probably because it's so cold here in winter. Burrr. :)

    Merry Christmas!

    P.S. I'd love to win the giveaway pack. I haven't read any of the stories you're giving away.

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  2. It's not technically a Christmas book, but it's absolutely lovely because it's about giving without thought to receiving, loving unconditionally, and always being there for those you love.

    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    A perfect Christmas gift for anyone, if you ask me.

    (Personally, I give it to couples as a wedding present.)

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  3. I love Connie Willis's Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. It's a collection of short stories that are offbeat and good-hearted and funny.

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  4. i love the night before christmas! an oldie but a goodie!!

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  5. katelin12:35 AM

    i love christmas stories! I love rudolf!!

    glittergurl04(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. Oh, I'm all for book giveaways...I've got a ton of Christmas reads that I love, but it's 12:30 and my brain is fried.

    So just throw me in. :)

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  7. Michelle12:38 AM

    i'd love to be entered to read all these awesome books!!

    papalum(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  8. I have a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" that I received when just a wee child (so it's at least over 40 years old). It has a paper cover which has been mended with age-discolored scotch tape over the years, but there's flocking on the pages, and the artwork is just magical, and I read it every Christmas to my niece & nephew (it's become *our* little tradition).

    I can't wait to bring it out this year and smell the pages once again ... (hard-core readers will understand!) It immediately brings me back to the Christmas spirit!

    — Bonz

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  9. Every year, the days before Christmas, some friends and I always watch an especially cheezy movie version of "A Christmas Carol". It has gotten to the point where most of know the dialogue so well that we can re-enact it ourselves...

    (I tend to, ironically, get stuck with the role of Tiny Tim Cratchet).

    It is just an in-joke we all sort of assigned value to (and none wants to miss it for the world).

    Are there any good vampire christmas stories?

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  10. I love love love O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. I've read it countless times, and yeah, ok, I confess, I find myself ending the story with tears in my eyes. Each time. Without fail.

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  11. on a work computer with not much time - tossing my name in the hat and will try and log back on before the hat choses!

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  12. It's not a novel but a movie. Every Christmas, I'm anxious to see this movie than the gathering or food. ha ha

    It's a Wonderful Life with James Stewart

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  13. Sally2:28 AM

    The original "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is still my favorite story to read this beautiful time of year. And our family has an old worn-out copy with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Pure Christmas magic. :)

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  14. madscientistqld3:04 AM

    I'm quite fond of Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, but last week I read 'All Seated on the Ground' by Connie Willis and loved it. You can find it online at asimovs.com.

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  15. oh, there's too many to have a favorite, really, so I'll just toss my name in the hat and hope for the best.

    Emmy

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  16. I love Wolfbane and Mistletoe. A whole book filled with christmas themed UF short stories. Can it get any better?

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  17. Christmas in the sickroom in What Katy Did, where the presents are accompanied by poems from unlikely characters, and Aunt Izzy says that if Father Christmas has never heard of nail brushes, he must be a very dirty old gentleman.

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  18. I know it's not a novel, but since it's based off a collection of short stories I'm still gonna say it.


    A Christmas Story

    Love it! My dad and I watched it every year as a kid, and I'm hoping to keep doing so even though I live out on my own now.

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  19. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is my favorite.

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  20. I haven't found that perfect Christmas read yet. I'm still looking, although I love The Night Before Christmas. There's a special NZ version with tractors and gumboots that's lots of fun.

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  21. I have too many favorite holiday movies, like The Grinch and my new favorite, The Holiday, so I'm just tossing my name into the hat.

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  22. As kids,my grandmother would make cocoa before bedtime each year on Christmas Eve and read us The Night Before Christmas. As I got a little older, one of my gifts was The Gift of the Magi, loved that, too, and have read it many times over the years, a true classic. Now during the busy holiday season needing quick reads, I look for the romance Christmas Anthologies, usually historicals and paranormals. Last year favorites were Nalini Singh and Maggie Shayne's stories in An Enchanted Season. I have read so many in past years by Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly in the yearly Regency anthologies that used to come out, miss those now.

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  23. I love watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life." There is an early version of "A Christmas Carol" that I like to watch but I can never remember who is in it so I find it by hit and miss.

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  24. I read A Long Winter to my class every December!

    I just read a sweet Christmas book by my friend Janet Kaderli called Santa's Angels. It will be my new Christmas tradition.

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  25. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of my all-time favorite stories. I read it in December. I read it in July. I read it whenever I want to see Scrooge redeem himself!

    Great giveaway! :)

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  26. StaceyB7:11 AM

    I like all Christmas stories, but I really don't have a favorite. Too many good ones to chose from.

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  27. i love Christmas night..

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  28. I enjoy reading Christmas themed anthologies from Harlequin Historicals and Brava.

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  29. A Christmas Carol. Every Year LOL. The Tyler Series from HQ in memory of my grandmother. And almost any christmas anthology I can get my paws on.

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  30. An Outlaw For Christmas by Lori Handeland.

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  31. Megan said mine! Miracle by Connie Willis. It is absolutely the funniest Christmas story I have ever read.

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  32. I absolutely adore A Christmas Carol as well. I remember when I was little and my mom would read it to me and my sister every year. I never did understand why Scrooge was so miserable, that is until I grew up and saw how easy it was to become scrooge-like. It's important to have holiday spirit, no matter the circumstances. The best present of all is love, no need for gift-wrapping (=

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  33. My favorite Christmas story is the Polar Express. I still cannot read the book aloud without tearing up at the end. I have an original copy before it won the Caldecott Medal. One year when I was reading the book to my son's first grade class (he is 29 now), one little girl with the bluest eyes and blonde hair looked up at me and said, "That story gives me shivers. Is that OK." I replied, "Yes, it happens to me too."
    For personal pleasure I re-read all of Carla Kelly's stories in the Christmas anthologies. They are just lovely heart warming stories of ordinary people.

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  34. I love to reread "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote every year. Bonus: It's short enough that I can usually manage to squeeze it in amidst all the crazy.

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  35. There is something cozy and christmassy about the Harry Potter books (in my mind anyway)... Each december, I reread one of them while drinking hot cocoa and it feels great :)

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  36. The Night Before Christmas! has to be my favorite.

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  37. Pretty impossible to pick just one story, but I do love The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum.

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  38. I think all the Laura Ingalls Wilder novels are excellent to read this time of year. I remember reading the whole set when I was in elementary school one winter when I was sick a lot.

    As far as movies go, I love to watch "Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart around the holidays. The ending of it always makes me laugh and tear up at the same time. Nothing like a little holiday romance.

    -Di

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  39. Okay its not your typical holiday story but I always re-read Holiday In Death and Midnight in Death. I love Eve and Roarke and love the traditions they develope together (so yes I skim the rest and read their scenes.)

    Pls throw me in.

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  40. I still like Terry Pratchett's 'Hogfather'

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  41. A Christmas Carol, for sure, but I always have to grab the newest Christmas romance on the shelf! Its a treat for me when the wrappings done! Thanks!

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  42. No specific book--but every year I pick up a basket full of Christmas themed romance novels. And I have to admit, many times I do judge these books by their pretty covers : >

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  43. A Christmas Carol. It's been a family favorite for years, most likely so no one ends up as a Scrooge. We lost our grandfather at Christmas 25 years ago and my mom tried hard not to be sad at that time of year by trying to make it special for us kids. Now I have to do the same as we lost our mom last year before Christmas. I'm trying really hard not to be a Scrooge.

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  44. I love many Christmas stories, but every year my husband and I read Cosmic Christmas by Max Lucado. :)

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  45. Obviously I'm biased, but you can't beat Luke 2:1-20.

    Other than that, it's not a book, but "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my favorite Christmas story tradition. I watch it every year, and when Linus tells Charlie Brown "what Christmas is all about" I get misty.

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  46. Ooo, ooo, ooo!!!! [hand raised high] Sign me up! Sad to report, I've never read A Christmas Carol!

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  47. Both my sister and I loved "The Animal's Christmas Eve" when we were kids. My mom read it to us so many times (year round) that she still has the whole thing memorized. Throughout the year we'll hear her randomly start saying "In the barn on Christmas Eve, after all the people leave..." just to get us to chime in!

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  48. Karmelrio10:49 AM

    I don't have a specific favorite holiday story, but love to read about various cultures' celebrations.

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  49. "The Little Match Girl". One of the bleaker fairy tales in the book I had when I was a child, but for sme reason I always loved it.

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  50. The first Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

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  51. Eugenia, just hang in there. I buried my mom Christmas Eve day, 21 years ago. I had a one year old at the time and a dad who just fell to pieces and never really recovered. It will take time, but it will get easier.

    As for books, okay, I know, this is silly, but at 22 and 20, my girls still wait for me each year to read them A Wish For Wings That Work, an Opus Christmas Carol. And we all still sit there and cry at the end! :P And though I have a few other favorites (the old stand-bys come to mind like A Christmas Carol by Dickens) AWFWTW is my all time favorite.

    theo

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  52. Garnigal11:27 AM

    We have a gorgeous red leather bound copy of A Christmas Carol that I always read. It might be an abridged version, since it actually says Scrooge on the cover.

    I also always read Christmas with Anne - a book of Christmas themed short stores by LM Montgomery. I just love it when Anne gets the dress with the puffed sleeves!

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  53. How generous of you! My favorite Christmas story has always been The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. I had it read to me as a little girl, and grew up watching the cartoon. I still watch it! I get all nostalgic when I see the book in the stores. I think I just need to by it so I'll have it always.

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  54. My favorite stories are: In God we Trust (all others pay cash!) and
    Santa's Evil Twin by Dean Koontz.

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  55. I grew up Jewish but I have pictures under my first Christmas tree like any other good little Jewish girl born in Tennessee. My parents raised me to be appreciative of all religions and celebrations. To this day (and to the bafflement of many of my teachers) The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank. Baum is still one of my very favorite stories. I love how we see Claus develop from a carefree child to someone who is aware of the world around him and then takes steps to make it a better place. A Happy Christmas and Merry Chanukah to all!

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  56. DonnaJ11:43 AM

    It's an oldie, but still my favorite: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. I reread it every year and it never fails to remind me of the true spirit of Christmas.

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  57. My first knee-jerk response: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. But I also love "A Christmas Carol"

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  58. I also love "A Christmas Carol". I understand Dickens wrote it because in his mind, people were losing the Christmas spirit. I love the very end of the story where he says: "..and it was always said of him, that he knew
    how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

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  59. I'm a traditionalist and I love Dickens' Christmas Carol.

    My 4-year old is excited by books of any kind, and by church, and she loves any version of the story of Jesus' birth. Last year she went parading around the house singing a made up song about "Jesus is Born", and one of her baby dolls to this day is named "Baby Jesus".

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  60. I have way to many so I'm just tossing my name in the hat.

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  61. I'm a big old softie, so my favourite Christmas story is O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi". There's something about it that just makes me happy.

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  62. Anonymous12:26 PM

    The Polar Express.....

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  63. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We read it all together as a family every year. :)

    Jana

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  64. There are three different novels that are my Christmas favorites. When I was a little kid, I loved listening to my dad read me The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express (though I can't stand the movie). When I was a little older, I discovered Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

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  65. Impossible to pick just one. We have a collection of children's Christmas books that I put out on display each year. When the kids were little they got read a lot so most of them look like they've seen better days. But when I'm needing a lift I will pick one up and read it and remember what it's like to have little ones in the house at Christmas.

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  66. The Gift of the Magi is absolutely one of my favorite Christmas stories. I also love those old classics A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Oldies but goodies for a reason. I'm not terribly original come Christmastime.

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  67. And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

    - Dr. Seuss (http://quotes.wordpress.com/2006/12/20/christmas-quotes-dr-suess-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas/)

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  68. I don't think I've read a single Christmas book really. None of the traditional ones and the only newer/untraditional one would be Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Oh! And Garfield comic strips!

    Otherwise, since other people are naming movies, Santa Claus: The Movie (with Jon Lithgow and Duddle Moore) is my all time favourite and I just bought it on DVD so that we can watch it in decent quality rather than the much worn out video tape!

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  69. AnnaM.1:48 PM

    My favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas because it reminds me how the holiday is not about material things, but family and rejoicing.

    Anna

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  70. MKW12489072:00 PM

    Every year my Mom would read The Night Before Christmas to us as a bedtime story on Christmas Eve. Now she does it with her two grandchildren. But because of that, it has become my favorite story to read at Christmas (a lot of good, warm, loving memories tied up with that book). The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I love the original cartoon movie!)are really good too.

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  71. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

    :)

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  72. There are several that I enjoy, but I love reading A Pussycat's Christmas (Margaret Wise Brown and Anne Mortimer) to my kid--kids, now. She uses such evocative language.

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  73. A strange holiday tradition I have is buying farm animals through the Children's Christian Fund. I normally buy one in the name of my husband as a gift for him.

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  74. Oooh, I love A Christmas Carol! I'm going to need to re-read it again (and I adore the Muppet version!)

    Val
    (also addicted to the Nutcracker with Baryshnikov and Kirkland - I have to watch that version at least once a year)

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  75. Mine is actually a children's book, The Mole Family's Christmas. Very heartwarming. My favorite story is It's A Wonderful Life (based on a short story at least!)
    I'd love to read all the stories in your package! Happy holidays!
    cate.masters @ gmail.com

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  76. I haven't read it yet, but the Christmas book I'm going to read this year is the NY Times best seller "The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck. Most know Beck as a conservative radio and CNN commentator, but this book is a fictional story based on his real past. I am also seeing his broadway performance of the same name next week.

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  77. Well, if you want to list movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my all time favorite! The Rottie, the squirrel, and Chevy Chase...

    "gone"

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  78. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Not a book or a movie, but I love to go to the ballet at Christmas-time to see The Nutcracker. It's a wonderful story, and the music, dancing, and costumes are always spectacular! ~JK

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  79. I don't think I have read many Christmas themed stories but every year I have to watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

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  80. Classic: Night Before Christmas
    Contemporary: Nightmare Before Christmas
    Romance: Nalini Singh's Christmas story Beat of Temptation

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  81. I always read A Christmas Carol by Dickens this time of year. Such a short read and yet still so powerful.

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  82. My favorite Christmas story is The Polar Express. It's a trip into fantasy every time.

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  83. *winds tinsel around hat*

    I love Scrooged, the film with Bill Murray. I could watch that every Christmas. It's so funny, and yet manages to get to the heart of what Dickens was writing about.

    Okay, that's not a read. But it's based on one. Sorta.

    Thank you PBW for all these wonderful gifts!

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  84. The Night Before Christmas. It has a wonderful rhythm to it and was read to us as children in England. We brought it home and still have that copy. And read it to the next generation.

    (word verification: gyminis. How did they know I was a gymini?)

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  85. I don't have a favourite Christmas story... in fact, I think the only Xmas book I have read is A Christmas Carol.

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  86. The Night Before Christmas

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  87. My favorite Christmas story is Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol

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  88. Paula7:32 PM

    I like Undercover Clause by MaryJanice Davidson. Fun and fast to read. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Love Bytes is another favorite.

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  89. I'm not sure I have a "favorite", but I always like the movie "A Christmas Story". TNT shows it every year.

    I get a kick out of it every time I watch it.

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  90. A few years back I saw a movie called The Christmas Shoes, and ever since, when they play the song about it, it brings tears to my eyes. OK, not a pleasant thing, but it just serves to remind all of us (and our families) that are alive and happy (sometimes...) and healthy just what we should be thankful for.

    Lorrie

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  91. I've always been a fan of classics like Dickens but caught the Hogfather by Pratchett not too long ago and loved it... the book and the movie.

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  92. I love "Apple Tree Christmas" by Trinka Hakes Noble, but I may be biased, as she came to my elementary school and signed my copy :)

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  93. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Hmm...Well, call me a kid at heart, but my favorite christmas story is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". I read it to my kids alot, and honestly I think I enjoy it at least as much as they do.

    Not sure that I've read very many novel length christmas stories....not even the one you mention by Laura Ingalls Wilder (but I will be making a trip to the library to check it out)

    Stephanie L.

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  94. All the Night Before Christmas version that I bought my kids when they were little.

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  95. Anonymous10:25 PM

    I loved "A Christmas Story" about a mouse and two children in my childhood.

    Terri W.

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  96. Karen W.10:40 PM

    My all-time favorite Christmas story/movie is "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." Even though I'm now middle-aged, I still tear up every time the Grinch has his big revelation about the true meaning of Christmas.

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  97. My 2-year-old has fallen in love with "Rudolf the Nose Reindeer," as she calls it, so we've been watching that a lot and singing the song. The animation always creeped me out, but I'm getting used to it, I guess ;)

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  98. I wish I could find A Child's Christmas in Wales on dvd. I caught it one latelatelate night on our small town PBS channel was amazed that the story I read in my school book was made into a small movie.

    That and reading David Sedaris' story of being a Macy's elf every year makes a return to retail this year bearable like it always used to. Though I must say I love loading people up with books to give as gifts!

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  99. My sisters and I always read A Wish For Wings That Work, an Opus Christmas Carol together on Christmas Eve. We don't normally read A Christmas Carol, but we watch both Scrooged and the Muppet version. We may add listening to the recording I gave to my sister last year of Dylan Thomas reading A Child's Christmas in Wales.

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  100. I'm not sure I'm in time, but I'll give it a shot.....my favorite Christmas book is The Christmas Box

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  101. my favorite christmas story isn't available in English. I received it at christmas as a child, and every december I am reminded of that book, and the picture of the little donkey (which is also the title of the book) on the front cover.
    I will have to go to my library to get it soon, and maybe read it to my nephews this christmas :)

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  102. The only Christmas books I've read recently were A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr and All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann.

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  103. OOH I'm drooling!!!
    Happy Holidays

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  104. The Smells of Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas books. It's a scratch and sniff book and my aunt always has it on her coffee table during the holidays.

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  105. A Christmas Carol, definitely!

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  106. Hah! Love the gift bag!

    Can't say I've read a lot of Christmas books beyond a few classics. I'm a big fan of the cheesy animated movies, though. "Year Without A Santa Claus" being my favorite.

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  107. My favorite is the original Grinch cartoon, not that horrible remake.

    I love the Grinch's dog, poor little fella.

    Julia

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  108. I still enjoy watching It's a Wonderful Life, what a great prize!

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  109. I also love Christmas movies, but my favorite would have to be the opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors.

    btw, I'm not sure why, but I can't respond to blogger blogs from home, so I'm entering from work :D

    Suelder

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  110. Ok, my favorite christmas time readings: mostly these are books I recall fondly from my childhood (so please don't laugh!)

    Ballet Shoes (by Noel Stratfield)
    The Worst Witch (Jill Murphy)

    and one (sort of..its romance. Not from my childhood LOL) grown up book: The Wife Test (by betina krahn)

    (ok you all can stop laughing now!)

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  111. The Gift of the Magi

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  112. I love 'Twas the Night Before Christmas because my oldest brother reads this to the kids (and adults) after Christmas dinner. It's just such a wonderful tradition. Even his daughters, who are in their twenties, get teary eyed.

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  113. "The Night Before Christmas" is my favorite.

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  114. My favorite Christmas story is actually the poem "The Night Before Christmas" because I read it to my daughter just before bed on Christmas Eve every year.

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  115. My favorite Christmas story is The Red Ranger Came Calling. A sweet children's story about dreams and the magic inside children's hearts at Christmas

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  116. I always have to read A Christmas Carol...I keep trying to talk my family into making a reading of it a family tradition (it's really not that long!), but so far they keep resisting.

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  117. I love Dickens, I love the historical era he covers, and I am bemused at the many movie variations of A Christmas Carol. But it is hard to choose, with the Laura Ingalls Wilder story we read to our children that appeals to my heart.

    I would love to have (another) signed copy of your writings, and oh joy! something new to read at Christmas. Please put name in your hat.

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