Holiday Favorites

Woman resting with cup of hot drink and book near fireplace

Our Tuesday Fox asked, “Do you have a favorite Christmas/holiday novel? What about your favorite movie? Do you restrict reading/viewing of Christmas/holiday themed books/movies to the holiday season?” 

I’ve mentioned before that I watch very few movies, so we’ll start with those. The holiday movies I’ve seen are pretty much limited to ones I’ve watched with my kids when they were young: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Christmas Vacation, and a few others. I’ve seen bits and pieces of several from the “69 Best Christmas Movies of All Time” list from Rotten Tomatoes, but if I’m watching at home, it seems there are always chores that need to be done, so my memories of the story lines are incomplete. So of the movies I’ve watched all the way through, I’d have to say that A Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite. I love the familiar characters, the relatable conflict, and the simplicity of the message. That said, I haven’t watched it in nearly 30 years. So in case you haven’t seen the ending lately, here it is:

As for holiday novels, I’ve read and enjoyed many. Most are by people with whom I’m associated through a mutual publisher or through one of my many writing groups, but a few are by well-known authors I’ve enjoyed for years. To pick one single favorite would be difficult, so I’m going to take a page from our hound’s book and split my reading into types of stories. 

Action/Adventure/Comedy: Swamp Santa by Jana DeLeon. This is Book 16 of the Miss Fortune series that now numbers 23. It absolutely amazes me how DeLeon manages to keep such a high level of action while spinning a totally believable tale, all while entertaining me with laugh-out-loud moments! At first, I compared these to the Stephanie Plumb books, but unlike the other series, the characters have grown and changed. Fortune has left the CIA, and Ida Belle finally got married. So far, this is the only installment that takes place during the Christmas season. I reviewed the book in July of 2020.

Cozy Mystery: The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews. I’ve been a die-hard fan of Donna Andrews’ mysteries ever since she started the Meg Langslow series in 2006. Like Jana DeLeon, Andrews’ books are entertaining, and in this series the characters also grow. Through the 32 books (so far), Meg has gotten married, given birth to twins, and the twins are now in junior high. I do find it hard to believe that Meg’s grandparents are still so healthy, but other than that, everything is totally believable. In addition, I always learn a new vocabulary word or two. There are several holiday-themed stories in this series, and this is the one from last year – I have this year’s in my reading queue! I reviewed this book in November of 2021.

Children’s Picture Book: Angel Diamonds from the Sky by Jack Maynard. Jack is a member of my local writing group. After we did a group author event a few years ago, he passed out copies of his picture book to the rest of us. I took it home and read it, thinking I’d give it to my youngest grandkids or my great-grandkids, but it was such a lovely story I ended up keeping it! This is about what happens when some angels desire to give Jesus something very special for His birthday. Apparently I didn’t write a review, but you can check out the description on the book’s Amazon page

Traditional romance: The Nutcracker Prince by Rebecca Winters. Although some critics have deemed Ms. Winters’ books to be formulaic, I found them to be thought-provoking and they often made me cry. This story was written in 1994, and the hero is a former KGB agent who has defected and moved to America to be with the heroine and their young daughter. I read it shortly after that, and I fell in love with the romance genre, especially Rebecca Winters’ books. 

To answer the third question, no, I don’t restrict reading of holiday books to the holiday season. I do purchase and read some during the last two months of the year (especially if they’re from my friends and/or author favorites), but I have no problem reading Christmas books in March, or even July. I suppose that’s because I’ve written several, and because of the time it takes to get a book written, edited, formatted and published, holiday stories have to be written in the heat of summer. So since I’m writing holiday stories at odd times of the year I might as well read them then, too!

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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8 Responses to Holiday Favorites

  1. Oh, I was caught unaware this week. We have certainly covered Christmas movies before. I know we will be running all of the usual suspects,(not THAT movie for Christmas!). Joe-the-Husband has been running Halloween movies:Ghostbusters I&II, Ghost, The Sixth Sense. Tonight,I know The AddamsFamily will be run.


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I haven’t tried the Donna Andrews books yet, but I’ve enjoyed the Jana DeLeon titles I’ve read.
    Between now and Hound Day, I’ll have to ponder further about films for the holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    You have a nice list of both books and movies. I like the look of some of the books very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have to try a few. These look good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a favorite around here. We own all the Charlie Brown Christmas specials but that first one is our favorite.
    The books you’ve listed all sound like great books.


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