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Exploring Winter Holidays

Winter is a season of celebration, and it is not just because of the snow and cozy firesides. It is also the time when various cultures around the world come together to mark the end of the year with joy, gratitude, and unique traditions. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, or another winter holiday, your local library is a treasure trove of information to help you explore the rich tapestry of these festivities. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of some prominent winter holidays and demonstrate how your local library can be your guide to understanding, appreciating, and participating in these diverse celebrations.


Christmas, one of the most widely celebrated winter holidays, commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ in Christian traditions. However, it has evolved to include a broad spectrum of customs that do not have religious connotations. From the Christmas tree to gift-giving and festive decorations, libraries offer an array of books, magazines, and resources on the history, traditions, and modern adaptations of Christmas celebrations. You can find classic literature like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens or explore cookbooks filled with holiday recipes for a festive feast.


Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that typically falls in December. It celebrates the miracle of a single day's worth of oil keeping the Temple's menorah alight for eight days. At the library, you can discover books that delve into the history, rituals, and significance of Hanukkah. Learn about the lighting of the menorah, the delicious cuisine, and the beautiful songs and stories that accompany this holiday. These resources can help you gain a deeper understanding of the Jewish faith and culture.


Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights in Hinduism, is celebrated by millions around the world. It marks the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. In your local library, you can find books that explore the legends, customs, and rituals of Diwali. Discover how families come together to light oil lamps, create intricate rangoli patterns, and indulge in delicious sweets during this vibrant and spiritually significant festival.


Kwanzaa is a relatively modern holiday celebrated in African American and Pan-African communities. It runs from December 26th to January 1st, emphasizing the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work, and purpose, among others. Your local library can provide insight into Kwanzaa's history and how it is observed, with books that explain the seven candles of the kinara, the significance of African symbols, and the importance of family and community during this time.

Resources at Your LibraryYour local library is a valuable resource for delving deeper into these winter holidays. Here's how you can use it:

Books & Audiobooks
Libraries house a vast collection of books on cultural celebrations, historical accounts, and personal stories related to these holidays.
  • The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber (Book / Audiobook
  • The 19th Christmas by James Patterson (Book / Large Print / Audiobook
  • Kwanzaa: From Holiday to Everyday: A Complete Guide for Making Kwanzaa a Part of Your Life by Maitefa Angaza (Book)
  • The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (Book
  • The Hanukkah Anthology edited by Philip Goodman (Book)
  • A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli (Book

Explore the culinary traditions of these holidays with cookbooks that feature delicious recipes for festive dishes.

Magazines and Journals
Libraries often subscribe to periodicals that provide insights into various cultural festivities.
Stop in to see our magazine selection! 

Children's Books
For parents and educators, libraries have a rich selection of children's books to help young ones learn about and appreciate these holidays.

Digital Resources
Libraries may provide access to digital resources, including e-books, audiobooks, and online databases, making it easy to explore these winter holidays from home.

The winter season is a time for reflection, celebration, and connection with cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, or any other winter holiday, your local library is your gateway to understanding the rich tapestry of these celebrations. With an array of books, events, and resources, your library offers a warm and inviting space to explore, appreciate, and participate in the diverse festivities that make the winter season so special. So, this winter, let your local library be your guide to the world of holiday traditions and the magic they bring.

by Natalie McAdams, Library Director 

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