The weather has gotten colder and snow has already started to fall. It’s officially winter and that means it’s time for all of those traditions that sit in the back of our minds all year. Now that the holiday season has come again, it’s time to pull out all of our favorite holiday books or get to watching those movies for those who don’t have a lot of time to read. According to the Daily Utah Chronicle Holiday Book Survey, here are the top reading traditions for major holidays.
Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in Utah and many people have traditions that involve the whole family. However, not so many of those traditions involved reading a specific book every year — or even reading one at all. The top answer for this holiday was that more people weren’t big readers or preferred to watch Christmas movies (36 percent of students.) Which makes the most popular book to read every year for students at the University of Utah “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clark Moore. This is a fun story many of us remember from our childhoods and will most likely pass on to a child in the future, be it our own or a family member. The book is one of the many hallmarks of the holiday season, so it isn’t really surprising that 16 percent of those who participated in the survey have read and continue to read to book every year. Third place was a tie between “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allberg, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson (a write-in answer.) All of these also appear on a master list of popular Christmas books compiled by Goodreads.com from readers across the world. Though they may not be read every year, these books represent many people’s favorite parts of the holiday season.
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa:
Of the people who participated in this survey, none of them celebrated Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Though somewhat surprising, this result wasn’t too unexpected. As two of the three most commonly celebrated holidays in the United States, both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa do have lists of popular holiday-specific books, Popular Hanukkah Books and Popular Kwanzaa Books. The lists are based on how many people with Goodreads accounts have shelved the book with the tag Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and feature titles like “Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat: a Chanukah Story” by Naomi Howland, “Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale” by Eric A. Kimmel and “Seven Candles for Kwanzaa” by Andrea Davis Pinkney. These stories use creative and cute ways to explain the history of the holiday or talk about the best parts of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
No matter which holiday you celebrate or what your traditions are when celebrating, snuggle up with a good book this season — maybe one of those on these lists — or your favorite holiday movie and enjoy the break from classes. This is the time for family or friends and the calm that comes after the end of finals when your life is your own again. Maybe even take the time this year to start a new tradition.