O Writings of Comfort and Joy!

By Annie Gallay

We all know Christmas is coming, its arrival signaled by every one of our senses. Radio stations and stores alike have been blasting carols since before we carved the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Starbucks has substituted cream-colored cups for crimson containers. There’s the scent of cinnamon, the taste of eggnog, the feel of ancient ornaments in our careful grasp as we trim the token tree. We’re all prepping for peace, love, and joy. We behave our very best, bursting at the seams from generosity and a fair portion of holiday ham. Merriness comes easily for an entire month.

But what next? We go back to the way it was before the December departure from the norm. We keep the presents, but we ditch the cheer. We make tentative New Year’s resolutions— developed over days and abandoned after one just one slip-up. It’s nice to imagine that It’s A Wonderful Life, not just a wonderful season. Yet that’s not the case. We criticize those who don’t get into the holiday spirit, dubbing them Grinch or Scrooge. The fact is, during the year, we all get grouchy, pessimistic, and critical. The only difference is that no one calls us out on it.

Artie_cvrThis Christmas season, with everyone primed for positivity, Bright Sky Press releases two children’s books geared toward teaching lasting lessons. Reading these books can make a difference in your attitude all year long, renewing the pep in your step and halting all the bitter in your twitter. They’re holiday-themed to get the little ones interested. But the ideas they instill endure long after the Christmas lights are stowed away in a tangled bundle.

Both festive fictions center on the magic of Christmas, but not in the traditional sense. In Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree and The Magic Gingerbread House, magic is what you make of it. It’s all about belief. Not just in Santa, but in yourself.

To maintain some mystery, we’ll just provide the plots.

As the world’s very first Christmas tree, Artie’s not too sure about his place in the world. He knows he’s different, and at first he views that as an obstacle to overcome in his mission to make the holidays merry and bright for the family that chooses him. After a touch of magic from traditional trees, Artie thinks he can achieve his goal. But when it starts to wear off, he’s confronted with the question: Am I good enough to do this on my own? Artie: The First Artificial Christmas Tree shows children how to delight in their differences. They’ll learn to celebrate what makes them special and to never forget the power of their own amazing potential.

MGH_cvrThe Magic Gingerbread House reveals how small acts of kindness and encouragement can make a huge difference. In it, two sisters, Meghan and Mollie, build a gingerbread house with the hopes that busy elves will come to play in it on their nights off from Santa’s workshop. Five elves show up each night while the girls are sleeping and leave little notes and gifts. When the girls tell the elves about a lonely girl named Sammie whose parents have been deployed to the Middle East, Santa’s helpers urge them to befriend her. Meghan and Mollie teach Sammie how to believe, filling her with enough hope to have a wonderful Christmas and stay positive until her parents return. Meghan and Mollie meet up with the elves each year, reinforcing the importance of faith and friendship over and over again.

In both books, the characters learn to use power they never knew they possessed. They make other people’s lives better and improve their own in the process.

Take a page out of these books. This upcoming year, stay in the spirit for all twelve months, not just twelve days. Make a daily difference! Believe in the magic of making someone smile. After all, a good attitude is the gift that keeps on giving.

Bright Sky Press: Where Texas meets Books Magic.