Books for Christmas: the possibilities are endless

Bonnie Belec
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Since our last column, we’ve been to our first Guy Fawkes Night as a family, as well as our first MUN Sea-Hawks basketball game.

Liam and Lindsay Belec Rice enjoy the Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade. — Photo by Bonnie Belec/The Telegram

Last weekend we checked out the annual Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade.

While I understand some people think Bonfire Night is an event that isn’t worthy of celebration, for us it’s about roasting marshmallows and hot chocolate while gathered around a roaring fire together with family and friends.  

And I have to say the Town of Paradise put off a wonderful time, complete with all the fixings, including hotdogs and the perfect roasting sticks.

A couple of weeks later, we attended our first Sea-Hawks game during the season opener against St. Mary’s University, and while neither the women’s nor men’s teams won, it was very exciting.

Lindsay and Liam were cheering, applauding and fist pumping whenever the Sea-Hawks made a basket.

We make it to the Christmas parade every year, and every year the children are extremely pleased with it.

For them, it doesn’t matter how many floats there are and it isn’t that important how well they’re decorated. For my children, it’s all eye candy and a reminder that Christmas is just around the corner.

I think the parade is the stimulus for getting many people in the Christmas spirit, because on our way there and back people were mulling about their properties hanging up lights and wrapping railings in garland and red bows.

 After the cheerleaders, dancers and marching bands, and Santa’s grand finale, we made our way home.

We felt motivated about the season following the parade, however not enough to start decorating.

My husband said in no uncertain terms he would not be putting up the lights before the calendar hits December, so instead, the children and I pulled out some Christmas books and snuggled on the couch for a reading session.

Christmas books are wonderful gifts for the holidays, but they don’t have to be about the festivities in order to be well received.

The manager of a book store in the Village mall said the possibilities for childrens’ books for Christmas are endless.

Big on the list again this year, she said, is “The Elf on the Shelf,” which has prominent displays in several retail stores.

She said the latest in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, “Hard Luck,” is also a big hit with children. Lindsay and Liam have been reading about the antics of Greg and his friend Roley and their families for about a year.

They also like the movies.

We have about a dozen Christmas books that we unpack for the holidays and take turns reading, such as “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree,” “Finding Christmas,” by Robert Munsch, and my all time favourite, “A Chanuka Noel.”

We’ve already reviewed these, but we’ve come across some new gems to add to the list, including the wonderful Barbara Reid who puts her plasticine spin on “The Night Before Christmas” poem by Clement C. Moore. She says it’s “for all children and mice both naughty and nice.” 

Reid is one of Lindsay’s favourites and this one has been added to her must-have list.

My new pick — released this spring — is “The Birchy Maid” by Robin McGrath. It reminds me of a Cinderella story, only it begins with a young girl of means whose mother dies, and she becomes disowned by her father only to find true love as a woman pretending to be a kitchen helper.

Liam’s choice is “Yaffle’s Journey” by Nancy Keating, a book about a young seagull fed up with the rain, drizzle and fog in Newfoundland.

He decides to take it upon himself to remove the island from Labrador and pluck it somewhere sunny and warm.

The determined young bird succeeds only to realize some things are just meant to be.

 The book store manager is correct about the endless possibilities, and in this day and age of everything high-tech, sometimes its nice to just sit back and let your imagination take over.

Keep reading, and happy shopping.

Bonnie Belec is a Telegram reporter and the mother of eight-year-old twins

Lindsay and Liam. She can be reached at

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Elf

Geographic location: Mary, Newfoundland, Hard Luck Pine Tree

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