Seven people with ties to New Brunswick tell about their favourite Christmas or “winter season” stories this month. I’ll highlight a title every other day from now until December 25.

Here’s Julia Wright, reporter and media savant for CHSJ News and writer/publisher of Saint John’s Hard Times zine.

What’s your favourite Christmas or “winter season” story, Julia Wright?

There are a few things (fireplaces, cathedrals, copious amount of chocolate) that cajole me into something close to a holiday mood. And one of those things is reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

More accurately, it’s remembering the feeling I got when first reading the book when I was 10 or 11. I was Lucy, the main character, pushing her way through the soft fur coats into the prickly spruce of Lantern Waste, instead of me: a small, nerdy girl with a mushroom cut, crunching celery on a beanbag chair in the wasteland of East Saint John.

I was genuinely chilled by the White Witch, her deep magic swirling Narnia into a static condition of “always winter and never Christmas!” In our creaky home on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, I felt acutely the drudgery that implied.

Christmas does come in the story but with restraint. After the kind, golden lion Aslan finally arrives to break the Witch’s spell, Lewis narrates: “Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t feel like that. … They felt very glad, but also solemn.”

Peering in the dark, quiet forest that surrounded our home, my back to the house glowing with Christmas lights and the snow falling lightly on the trees, I shared the children’s sense of awe. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is about coming face to face with something bigger and older than yourself. Something unknowable, yet benevolent.

That’s still what I’m looking to feel this time of the year.

lion, witch & wardrobe cover

• • •

The New Brunswick Public Library Service stocks this title. Click the link to see if it’s available near you now. (You can also get most books shipped to your closest library, free of charge.)

Thank you to Julia Wright! Follow her on Twitter: @thewrightpage.

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Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

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