Kick Off the Holiday Season With a Visit to the Library

By Lisa Pavlock, Fauquier County Public Library

2021 is drawing to a close and the holidays are upon us. String the lights and make the eggnog. Spend time with family and friends. Catch your breath before welcoming in the New Year. If the season includes time to spend watching holiday favorites or a few stolen moments to relax and read a book or two, look no further than your local library for the perfect movie or book.

Binge on Holiday Favorites

If your holiday traditions include a family movie night or two, check out a Movie Marathon set from the library. Each set includes several movies – all around a theme, like romance, comedy, mystery or – you guessed it – the holidays! Choose from three “Deck the Halls” movie marathon sets composed of classics like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, and Joyeux Noel. Search the catalog for “movie marathon” to find the one right for you.

Beyond the library’s shelves, your library card provides access to Kanopy, a streaming service with over 30,000+ ad-free films, documentaries and TV series. Stream anytime, anywhere from your desktop, TV or tablet. Young viewers can choose from titles like Mister Rogers, Captain Fantastic and I Am Big Bird, to name only a few. It’s perfect for the curious, the adventurous, and anyone who wants to take a break from the multiplex. Access Kanopy at

Curl Up With a Good Book
If you have a few quiet moments this holiday season to pick up a book, Jennifer Schultz-Angoli, Collection Services Development Librarian, suggests a few new to the shelves that are sure to please.

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Niki has always had a stable and predictable life, but after being laid off, she makes a last-minute decision to attend her friend’s wedding in India, right during the Diwali season. Perfect for readers who want fabulous descriptions of festivities, weddings, and food, as well as those looking for humor and stories about dramatic life changes.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
When Carmen loses her job (just before the holidays!), she must move in with her sister and take a job at the local bookstore in desperate need of help right before the Christmas sales rush. If you enjoy Christmas romances or stories set in Scotland, this might be your next favorite Christmas read.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
Rachel is in big trouble. Her Orthodox Jewish parents don’t know about her career as an author of Christmas romances and her publisher has issued an ultimatum: write a Hanukkah romance for a change of pace, or lose her contract. A chance meeting with a former summer camp enemy while volunteering at a New York City Hanukkah party provides inspiration. If you enjoy stories with lots of hijinks and humor (and a sweet ending), put this on your list.

The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin
When best friends Audrey and Eve discover that their boys are obsessed with every toy in the Sears Christmas Wish Book, they decide that they must teach them the true meaning of Christmas through service and acts of kindness through their “Wise Men Project”. Set in 1951, this postwar nostalgic read is perfect for those who want a historical holiday read with Christian/inspirational elements.

You Make it Feel Like Christmas/Rockin’ Around That Christmas Tree/The Wish by Donna Hill and Francis Ray
These three novellas are great for readers who want family drama, romance, and stories about second chances.

Holiday Fun For Children

Library shelves are chocked full of holiday stories for young readers too. With so many choices, it can be hard to decide (and let’s face it, there are a lot of other holiday dilemmas to tackle, like whether to forage for a live tree or hang the tinsel from an artificial one). Check out one of these staff favorites for children or stop by the reference desk at your local branch for additional suggestions.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski; illustrated by P.J. Lynch.
This is one of my favorites to share with the whole family. A very sad and grumpy woodcarver, Jonathan Toomey, is transformed by a young boy, his widowed mother and the miracle of Christmas. Thanks to the rich illustrations you can almost smell the freshly baked molasses cookies, so you might want to have those already baked! – Nancy, Warrenton Central Library

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht; illustrated by Jarvis
In this picture book, a family selects a pine tree from a tree lot and goes about the task of turning it into their beautiful Christmas tree. I love the book’s rhyme scheme and its illustrations that remind me of the Little Golden Books I read as a child. The double-page spread showing the fully decorated tree at the end is a particular favorite. – Jennifer, Warrenton Central Library

The Tree That’s Meant To Be by Yuval Zommer
This sweet book shares the inspiring story of a fir tree that does not grow big and tall like the others and is not chosen by any families looking for a “perfect” Christmas tree. Ultimately, the fir tree finds its purpose within the forest and becomes the tree it’s meant to be. The message of embracing who you are resonates with me. The illustrations are gorgeous, celebrating nature; the final illustration of the book is my favorite. – Julia, Bealeton Branch Library

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman
In this playful and sweet picture book, a variety of woodland animals gather to help their friend Bear stay awake on Christmas instead of missing it as he usually does due to hibernation. Demonstrating the value of teamwork, each animal has a job to do to prepare for the celebration. I especially love how the book highlights the importance of inclusion and togetherness, as the characters make sure everyone gets to celebrate the holiday. – Melissa, Warrenton Central Library

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner; illustrated by Mark Buehner
This wonderfully illustrated book brings to life a boy’s imagination of how snowmen celebrate Christmas while people are asleep in their beds. Its rhyming narrative and pictures of snowmen celebrations will forever change how your children think about snowmen. This book may even help you convince your children to join you outside to build their own snowmen this winter. – Christina, Warrenton Central Library

Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley
Although a Christmas favorite, the message of this book is perfect for any season. Little Robin is prepared for the cold nights of winter, with his seven vests, but as he ventures out each day he gives them away, one by one, to shivering animals in need. With his last vest gone, Little Robin huddles on a snowy roof as night falls. While there, he is scooped up by a special person, taken in a sleigh to a warm house, and rewarded for his kindness. While children may receive many gifts at this time of the year, Little Robin quietly shows that giving can bring more joy than receiving. A timeless message for all of us. – Deborah, John Marshall Branch Library

Best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season!

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