My favorite time of day is just before dawn in winter, when my family is still asleep. I walk through the still-dark house, put on the kettle, and head into the living room to turn on the twinkle lights. After I plunge the French press and pour myself that first glorious mug of coffee, I curl up next to the warm sleeping dog on the couch and settle in to read by the light of the Christmas tree.
Some mornings I only get a few pages in before my son wanders out to join in the puppy snuggle, but if I'm lucky, I can log almost an hour of uninterrupted reading time. It's the perfect respite from holiday madness, and the alone time helps me hoard up energy reserves for the holiday parties and travel stress and family reunions that await just around the corner.
Books and holidays go hand-in-hand. I'm a big fan of Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition of gifting books on Christmas Eve, then heading off to bed to read. (I mean, any gathering that ends with party-goers taking leave to read in pajamas is my kind of celebration.)
The best part of this tradition is that it allows me to reflect on the books I've read over the past year and identify the favorites that I want to pass along. Here are my top picks from 2018.
However you celebrate, I hope you have a relaxing, book-filled holiday in your cozy corner of the world!