Every Christmas, Kate and her children re-read some or all of several books aloud: The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden; The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams illustrated by William Nicholson; A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas illustrated by Edward Ardizzoni; and The Lion, the Unicorn and Me by Jeanette Winterson (blurry, but there in the photo).
The last of these is a short story that appeared in The Times just before Christmas in 2007. Kate read it first in a car on the way to Scotland. She loved it. It made her cry – several times. It made her smile – several times. She read it to her children for the first time on Christmas Eve that year.
She didn’t know Jeanette Winterson, so, on Boxing Day, she sent an email to Jeanette’s website, and, eventually, though it wasn’t easy, she was really proud and happy to acquire the text for Scholastic where it was published for Christmas 2009.
It’s a lyrical, mystical, funny retelling of the nativity story from the point of view of the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem.
It is a story she finds very hard to read aloud (because she gets very choked up), but she finds that’s true about T S Eliot’s The Journey of The Magi (and the end of The Story of Holly and Ivy, actually).
Are there books that you or your family go back to every year at Christmas? Do please tell us about them.
And Merry Christmas.