As the holiday season is upon us, I have started looking forward to one of my favorite holiday rituals: revisiting Little Women. This may not be on most people’s lists of traditional holiday movies or books, but for me it has become a personal way of celebrating the holidays.
It all started with one of my favorite gifts I received when I was young—a copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Oh, it was beautiful, with a satin ribbon for a bookmark and gold-edged pages. So fancy, and grown-up! Never mind that I couldn’t actually bring myself to finish the book for several years because I couldn’t bear to think of anything bad happening to my beloved March sisters. Watching Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy grow up, I responded to the themes of family, love, and living a moral and interesting life.
I still have that book, even though it is rather tattered and worn now after countless readings and numerous moves. I was already in love with reading when I got that copy of Little Women, but that was the first time I remember falling in love with a story and the characters, as well as the object itself.
I was reminded of the fun of gifting and sharing books when I found a new copy of Little Women to give to a young relative who is a voracious reader. Her eyes lit up and she was so excited—it was so fancy and grown-up! When I told her it was one of my favorite books growing up, she was even more excited to read it, and we shared a new bond. The story starts at Christmastime as the sisters are contemplating a holiday without their father, who is away during the Civil War, and without gifts. The March family story moves through many other seasons and years, but the joy of their holiday as they celebrate the riches of family and friendship is a reminder of what I like most about this time of year.
The most recent movie version has become part of my tradition, too, and my mom and I try to watch it every year around this time. The soundtrack has even become part of our holiday music rotation. As my family tradition continues and grows, I think about the magical power of sharing a book or a story.
What book will you share or gift this holiday season and beyond?
Ann Pearson is the Teen Services Coordinator and enjoys discovering new teen fiction as well as rereading favorite childhood books.