During Advent I always like to go back and reread a handful of old favorites--books that really provoke a profound sense anticipation apt for the season. G.K Chesterton's many Christmas essays and poems, which inspired the Advent meditation-in-verse I posted yesterday, are the first to be pulled off the library shelves. Arthur Quiller-Couch has some great Christmas stories set in and around Cornwall at the beginning of the 20th century. I read them lazily, haphazardly, and joyously. Miss Read also has a collection of Christmas tales I love to browse through. And just for fun, Karen and I always try to read a Jan Karon novel aloud during Advent. Her Christmas novel, Shepherds Abiding is a particular delight.
All of these familiar books make the holiday season just that much more pleasurable.
As far as viewing goes, I am terribly predictable: It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street are our family's film staples. I know that I am supposed to love Christmas Story as well, but it has never been a must see tradition for us. The last couple of years, I've also been prone to pull out the Lord of the Rings DVD set for some random sampling of favorite scenes (which is when I usually complain for the umpteenth time that Peter Jackson's greatest mistake was in cutting Tom Bombadil out of the screenplay).
But, I'm really not that much of a movie-goer or movie-watcher. I'd rather read. I do, however, listen to a great deal of Christmas music. In addition to a wide-ranging Classical choir repertoire, I dearly love Celtic Christmas music. I've compiled quite a collection over the years and listen pretty constantly during Advent.
This year, of course, I've prepared for the film version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by rereading all of the Narnia books. But, that's not my usual Advent fare.
All-in-all, it is the poetry that I love the most about this time of year and its joyous celebrations. It just seems that Yuletide is tailor-made for verse and that verse is tailor-made for Yuletide.