✨Tis the season to be reading✨
More than any other time of the year, I love reading the most between Halloween and New Year's Eve. It’s not just that the weather gets cooler and all the cozy reading sweaters are pulled from the bottom of my drawers. But it’s also my favorite way to find pockets of calm amid the whirlwind of the holiday season.
For me, holiday stress comes from picking the right gifts within my budget, figuring out where to spend Thanksgiving vs. Christmas, and navigating how I should answer the classic what are doing with your life questions. *Insert: throat clearing cough, sip of something, and conversation swerve to the weather.* It’s also the time of year I think extra about the family members and friends who are no longer here. Recently, I chatted with a friend about this, and she said, “everything feels multiplied during the holidays. More food, family time, good things, expenses... and anxiety.” I couldn't agree more.
If you too feel this time of year brings out more emotions (good and not-so-good), and you want to carve out more time to connect with yourself, consider turning to your books. They provide comfort and distraction, and reading is a wonderful way to get alone time during a period that’s often filled with lovely yet tiring social gatherings (zoom reunions included). Plus, “what are you reading?” is a handy icebreaker in these kinds of environments! To celebrate reading and all things bookish, here's a reading-themed bucket list full of ways to embrace more books this holiday season.
1. Read a holiday-themed book (or two or three)
Though this is an obvious idea, there are so many fun holiday books that are enjoyable all year round, but especially this time of year.
As a longtime reader of romance novels, here are some holiday-themed love stories:
- The Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory (after you read this, check out her other love stories: The Wedding Date, The Proposal and While We Were Dating.)
- The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
- The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
- The Kwanzaa Brunch: A Holiday Novella by D.L. White
- Miracles and Menorahs by Stacey Agdern
2. Make a holiday reading tradition
Consider starting an annual tradition based on reading. For example, sometime in November or December, I re-read Persepolis. It’s now a trigger to my brain that the year is coming to a close and it’s something I really look forward to. Other ideas could be: reading a book in a genre outside of your comfort zone, picking up a new book from an author you love, or reading your favorite book from the Harry Potter series. Whatever speaks to you!
3. Read a book, then watch the movie
Holidays are often filled with movie marathons. So why not “reward” your latest read by watching the movie that’s based on the book afterward? Here are some to consider!
- The Hate U Give
- The Polar Express
- The Girl on the Train
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower
- Call Me By Your Name
4. Pair a book with a festive drink
5. Gift a book to someone who wouldn't expect it
Spread the love and share a book just because. Better yet, pair the book with a flower-pressed Page Petal bookmark. :) It's the ultimate book lover's gift set!
6. Host a holiday books-and-cookies swap
Put a fun bookworm’s twist to the classic holiday party. The best part: you'll walk out with cookies and a new book for your TBR!
7. Make a must-read list for next year
Write down a few books you want to read in the following year. Go a little further and set a reading goal for yourself. It doesn't matter whether your goal is to read five books or fifty! Need some inspiration for what books to read? Check out this blog.
8. Reflect on the books you’ve read this past year
It's easy to overlook the amount of reading you've done. But take a moment to review the books you did read and celebrate your reading habit. (Psst, reading benefits your brain and may even help you live longer!) Did any book stand out among the rest? Reflect on those books and think about why you liked them, what they showed you, and why they stayed with you.
9. Support a local bookshop
The holidays are a wonderful time to support local businesses, bookshops included. Go to a bookstore in your neighborhood, or if you’ll be traveling use Indie Bookstore Finder to find a shop nearby.
10. Do something nice for yourself
Don't forget to treat yourself during this time of year. Buy the luxurious hardcover, read in a bubble bath, buy some bookish jewelry, or channel your inner Kevin from Home Alone... eat pizza, wear pajamas, and read away!