Category Archives: The Seasons: Winter

My Winter Holidays Reading

I do love reading holiday books! In the last few years, I’ve usually started my holiday reading by the first of October. It’s a refreshing change from my Autumn focus on mysteries and  Halloweenish reading, and I find I enjoy it more and more each year. I decided to create this post to track the books I read for the upcoming winter holidays, and to list the holiday books I’ve read in the past few years. This will be an ever-growing list of the books I find each year to read during this season.


  1. A Christmas Tragedy, by Baroness Orczy
  2. Sherlock Holmes: The Affair of the Christmas Jewel, by Barry Roberts
  3. This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories, by Maeve Binchy
  4. A Highland Christmas, by M.C. Beaton
  5. Sleeping Beauty: An Audible Original Drama, by Marty Ross
  6. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  7. The Christmas Mouse, by Miss Read
  8. A Country Christmas, by Louisa May Alcott
  9. Letters from Father Christmas, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. The Christmas Mystery, by James Patterson with Richard DiLallo
  11. The Legend of Old Befana, by Tomis DePaola
  12. Cozy, by Jan Brett
  13. A Boy Called Christmas, by Matt Haig
  14. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  15. The Holly-Tree Inn, by Charles Dickens
  16. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, by Emily Jenkins
  17. Home for Christmas, by Jan Brett


  1. Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins, by Eric A. Kimmel
  2. Chinese New Year: A Celebration for Everyone, by Jen Lee
  3. Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, by Angela Shelf Medearis
  4. Christmas at the Cove, by Victoria Connelly
  5. A Virgin River Christmas, by Robyn Carr
  6. Ruth’s First Christmas Tree, by Elly Griffiths
  7. Under the Christmas Tree, by Robyn Carr
  8. Bring Me Home For Christmas, by Robyn Carr
  9. The Golden Dreydl, by Ellen Kushner
  10. Christmas at the Castle, by Victoria Connelly
  11. Christmas at the Cottage, by Victoria Connelly
  12. Diwali, Festival of Lights, by Rina Singh
  13. A Parakeet Named Dreidel, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
  14. Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik, by Scott Hilton Davis
  15. Ho, Ho, Whoa! The Tale of Parkour Santa, by Kavae Loseby
  16. A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy
  17. My Kind of Christmas, by Robyn Carr


  1. Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories, by L.M. Montgomery
  2. The Spirit of Christmas, by Nancy Tillman
  3. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, by Agatha Christie
  4. The Burglar’s Christmas, by Willa Cather
  5. A Christmas by the Sea, by Melodie Carlson
  6. Spirit of Steamboat, by Craig Johnson
  7. Christmas at Thompson Hall, by Anthony Trollope
  8. Christmas in Absaroka County, by Craig Johnson


  1. A Literary Christmas: An Anthology, by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, Laurie Lee, Samuel Pepys
  2. No Holly for Miss Quinn, by Miss Read
  3. The Christmas Rose, by Victoria Connelly
  4. The Christmas Mouse, by Miss Read
  5. Village Christmas, by Miss Read


  1. Christmas at the Inn, by Andrea Twombly
  2. An English Christmas, by John Julius Norwich (editor)
  3. Santa Claus in Oz, by L. Frank Baum
  4. Christmas in Plains: Memories, by Jimmy Carter
  5. The True Gift: A Christmas Story, by Patricia McLachlan
  6. Christmas With the Book Lovers, by Victoria Connelly
  7. A Highland Christmas, by M.C. Beaton


  1. Celebrations at Thrush Green, by Miss Read
  2. Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories, by Enid Blyton
  3. A Cornish Christmas, by Lily Graham
  4. Christmas at the Cove, by Victoria Connelly
  5. Christmas at the Castle, by Victoria Connelly
  6. Christmas at the Cottage, by Victoria Connelly
  7. Christmas Crumble, by M.C. Beaton


  1. Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories, by P.L. Travers
  2. In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1940 Christmas Eve Story by David McCullough
  3. Holiday Tales: Christmas in the Adirondacks, by William Henry Harrison Murray


  1. Christmas in Camelot, by Mary Pope Osborne
  2. A Dog Named Christmas, by Greg Kincaid
  3. Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl S. Buck
  4. Christmas Eve, 1914, by Charles Olivier
  5. Great Joy, by Kate DiCamillo
  6. The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen
  7. A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  8. The BIrds’ Christmas Carol, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  9. The Christmas Grandma Ran Away from Home, by Nancy Warren
  10. Winter Solstice, Rosamunde Pilcher
  11. On Christmas Day in the Morning, by Grace S. Richmond
  12. The Gift of the Magi and other Christmas Stories, by O. Henry, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Henry Van Dyke, Leo Tolstoy
  13. The Snow Child, by Freya Littledale


  1. Christmas 1940, by Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy
  3. A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote
  4. An Early American Christmas, by Tomie dePaola
  5. Four Friends at Christmas, by Tomie dePaola
  6. A Christmas Sonata, by Gary Paulsen
  7. Christmas Remembered, by Tomie dePaola
  8. The Legend of Poinsettia, by Tomie dePaola
  9. Tomie’s Little Christmas Pageant, by Tomie dePaola
  10. Rumpole at Christmas, by John Mortimer
  11. Favorite Stories of Christmas Past, by Clement C. Moore, Hans Christian Andersen, O. Henry, Louisa May Alcott
  12. Tied Up in Tinsel, by Ngaio Marsh
  13. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost
  14. Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham
  15. Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon
  16. The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Carol, by Tomie dePaola
  17. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
  18. A Redbird Christmas, by Fannie Flagg
  19. The Christmas Letters, by Lee Smith


Early February in the Garden, 2020

…from The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden

One of the things I love about living in Oregon is that winters are mild and the “spring” garden really comes to life in January and February! I guess our reward for the very dark and rainy days of November and December are the early bulbs in bloom in early February! Around here, my gardening friends plant their Sweet Peas on President’s Day! That all just fills my heart with gardening joy!

These snapshots from my yard and garden give you an idea of what early February is like in an Oregon town 30 miles west of Portland, up against the Coastal Range, 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean!


Cabin Fever

Our car has been parked in the garage for a week — a week of snow and ice in an area that seldom sees that sort of thing. Last Friday, my husband’s bus commute to downtown Seattle took a total of 5 hours (for 8 hours of work), rather than the more usual 1-½ hours total. So we’ve stayed home in the warmth since then, leaving the house only for walks around our neighborhood. We had planned ahead for bad weather…so have had enough food, although we ran out of chips for nachos, darn it, and we’ve watched all the episodes on our current Netflix obsessions. And Christmas was quiet without family members able to join us … their presents still sit under the tree unopened, waiting for the roads to clear enough for travel. Our daughter only lives 4 miles away, but is also snowbound at her place. And our Portland family has had even worse winter conditions than we’ve had, so nobody is going anywhere at the moment and Christmas is on hold until the melt!

So here are a few things that are helping us fend off Cabin Fever…

Playing with our Grandboy on Skype

Watching the extended version of The Lord of the Rings, again for the second time this year.

Going for walks has kept us from going stir crazy, but was difficult until we opened the Christmas presents B had the foresight to order for us:
Have you heard of Stabilicers? And Trekking Poles?
And, of course, we’ve been reading, reading, reading! I’ve finished 3 books this week, and will post reviews before too long. That’s the nice part of being snowbound when there’s no end to the pile of books to draw from!

So we are surviving this extended winter storm. It’s funny how something you read a long time ago can come back to you suddenly with crystal clarity. Watching out the window this morning, I had a sudden “book memory” — descriptions from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, The Long Winter, came flooding back to me. She described so well this feeling of Cabin Fever that keeps trying to creep in and take over. But we’re fighting it off!

Christmas Time is Finally Here, Too!

I just had to chuckle when I read a recent post by my blogging friend, Chris, at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. In his post, “Christmas Time Is Finally Here,” he shared with us that it just hadn’t felt like Christmas yet because the temperatures in his town had been a balmy 85 degrees. But he was happy to report that the weather had changed, the temperature had dropped to 41 degrees, his teeth were chattering in the car, and it finally felt like Christmas time! Well, I’m happy to report that it finally feels like Christmas time here, too! Different reasons, though.

Christmas time is finally here for me because I didn’t have to get up this morning and teach second grade! “Winter Break” has arrived, and for the next two weeks I’m going to enjoy family (the Grandboy is coming for Christmas!), festive fun (we’re all looking forward to our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of homemade spaghetti), and freedom! And I have to admit to being very, very tired, too … after my first holiday season with second graders, I’m going to need a few naps to catch up with myself!

Return to Winter

Yesterday’s euphoria about completed re-roofing jobs and signs of spring was nice while it lasted. We have returned to winter, to a dark, stormy northwest day, which today includes snow mixed with the rain. The quiet, though, is lovely, and I am once again captured by Out of Africa and am enjoying Isak Dinesen’s descriptions of that Africa of long ago. A particular phrase caught my fancy this morning, so I’m including it here with the rest of the paragraph that lead up to it.

I rode into the Masai Reserve…the descent was stony, and the slope up the other side very steep, but “once in,–how the delighted spirit pants for joy.”
Here lay before you a hundred miles’ gallop over grass and open undulating land; there was not a fence nor a ditch, and no road. There was no human habitation except the Masai villages, and those were deserted half the year, when the great wanderers took themselves and their herds off to other pastures. There were low thorn trees regularly spread over the plain, and long deep valleys with dry riverbeds of big flat stones, where you had to find a deer-path here and there to take you across. After a little while you became aware of how still it was out here. Now, looking back on my life in Africa, I feel that it might altogether be described as the existence of a person who had come from a rushed and noisy world, into a still country.

As I watch the snow/rain falling outside my window, while enjoying the warmth of Dinesen’s Africa inside in the quiet, I realize that she has described what is happening to me here at home during this Leave of Absence from work. I, too, have come from a rushed and noisy world, into a still country…much to the delight of my spirit.

The Ngong Hills.