Christmas Eve Love Letters

I know you're all waiting very patiently for That's So Enterprises to publish Mr. Dog's Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn next year, and I do appreciate your loyalty. But heaven forbid you should let a Christmas Eve pass without some good stories by the fire. So in honor of the wonderful night before, I wanted to share a few of my all-time favorite Christmas stories. I'll bet some of these are already in your bookshelf, so be sure to pull them out and put them next to a cozy chair, ready for enjoying anytime over the next few days. And if there's a title on my list that's new and intriguing to you, see if you can grab a copy at your local bookstore as you do your last minute shopping tomorrow!

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This beloved poem by Clement Clarke Moore has been repackaged and republished many times since it first appeared on December 23, 1823 (exactly 190 years ago today!) I highly recommend searching for a vintage copy with illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith or Grandma Moses.

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This story and its epic illustrations are both by the talented William Joyce. Daring boy explorer Art Atchinson Aimesworth, his wise sister Esther, and their friend Spaulding receive a mysterious summons to the North Pole!

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A beautifully illustrated tale from the Swedish author Anna Emilia Lindgren (of Pippi Longstocking fame), about an elf-like creature and his nighttime visits with the animals on a snowy farm. He speaks a "silent little language" only they can understand, warming them with promises of Spring to come. Illustrations by Harald Wiberg

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This contemporary classic, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, tells the story of a young boy who awakes on Christmas Eve to find a train conductor beckoning him aboard The Polar Express, which has dreamily appeared right outside his front door. It's about the magic of allowing yourself to believe—even if only once a year—in the unbelievable.

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For those who appreciate good Christmas humor like I do, Raymond Brigg's Father Christmas can't be beat. This story, told in cartoon fashion, introduces us to the grumpier side of Santa. And honestly, who in the old man's position wouldn't be a bit put out? It's a lot of work… and all in one night!

Now, for those of you just itching to get a taste of what's to come next year, head on over to Love Letters Live—a weekly podcast series hosted by Janet Gallin to discuss, honor and encourage the sending of love letters. Really, what could be nicer? Janet recently interviewed Betsy about the upcoming publication of Mr. Dog's Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn and she even coaxed Betsy into reading the introduction to the story. Listen in on the Love Letters Live website, where you can also subscribe to the Janet's series via iTunes.

Happy reading and listening. And a very merry Christmas to you all!

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