‘Tis the season! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! ‘Tis the season to buy grumpy Uncle Arnold a new pair of argyle socks! ‘Tis the season to bake and make, indulge and bulge. It’s the season for families, for churches, for friends.

It’s also the one time of year I break down and watch sappy Hallmark made-for-TV movies. And it’s a great time of year to curl up in a chair (add a roaring fireplace, an afghan and a lap cat for the best setting!) to read those Christmas tales.

Joplin Public Library adds Christmas titles to its collection every year, and this year is no exception. No matter what genre of book you prefer, there is bound to be a Christmas one that fits your likes.

Many Christmas books can be considered “gentle reads” for obvious reasons. Many of these titles are strictly inspirational fiction and romance. Others are inspirational yet contain an element of suspense and crime. Others are written with more a secular Christmas slant.

Some older but classic Christmas books available at the library include “The Christmas Shoes” by Donna VanLiere, a story about a busy bankruptcy lawyer whose personal life is in crisis who, by chance, meets a young boy whose mother is dying of cancer.

Another classic, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson, features the six Herdman children who are “absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.” They show up in church in time to take over the roles in the church’s annual Christmas pageant. Imagine the havoc that this brings!

“Visions of Sugar Plums” by Janet Evanovich is a “between the numbers” Stephanie Plum tale. It involves mysterious intruders, crazed elves and crooks missing their court appearances, all just days before Christmas. Throw in a crazy family, and you’ll have a quick Christmas read.

Like Amish-based stories? We’ve got several new Christmas ones! Try “Amish Christmas Joy” by Patricia Davids in which a man returns to the Amish community he left to provide for the special-needs daughter he never knew he had.

Or read “Christmas at Rose Hill Farm – An Amish Love Story” by Suzanne Woods Fisher, where Bess, on a sort of a rebound, chooses to marry Amos, but she’s still in love with Amos’ cousin, Billy.

Like animal stories? Try “The Christmas Cat” by Melody Carson. Garrison is charged with sorting out his deceased grandmother’s belongings, including the six cats who need new homes. His grandmother left instructions, plus a sizeable monetary gift to those re-homing the cats. Garrison must match the cats with the right owners but not disclose the money. Not surprisingly, he meets someone special along the way.

Let’s just go for some pure schmaltz now. Debbie Macomber has written several Christmas books, including characters Mr. Miracle and Mrs. Miracle. (And, yes, some of these have been turned into the sappy Hallmark movies I confessed to watching.) They, and their movies are respectively titled, “Mr. Miracle”, “Mrs. Miracle”, “Call me Mr. Miracle”, and “Call me Mrs. Miracle”.

Joplin Public Library offers these and many more Christmas goodies in a wide variety of formats – regular print, large-type print, audiobooks, downloadable books and audios, and DVD.

Start a fire, get your afghan, call the cat, and settle into that comfy chair for a nice afternoon of Christmas reading.

Or, if Christmas reading isn’t your thing, we’ll still allow you to check out any of our other materials!

After review addendum:  When I wrote this article, I was only dreaming about the cat on my lap since I’d had to put my 17-year-old Thomas to sleep last May.  No more!!  My cat-“hating” hubby got me a new kitten for Christmas, and Sophie just LOVES a good lap sit!

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