Fairy Tales for Christmas Holidays

As a young girl growing up in Indonesia, I remember that Christmas was one of my most favorite times of the year. My parents bought us a small Christmas tree that my siblings and I decorated. Every evening, during the month of December, my mother would read to us fairy tales from the story books that we borrowed from our school and local libraries. After sunset, we would light small candles in our living room and turn on the Christmas lights on the decorated tree to set a magical ambience for the fairy tales. Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm were among the authors whose works we read the most.

If you feel like taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some fairy tales from your childhood, this is a great time to do it! A quick subject heading search in our library catalog displays several fairy tales from different countries such as AfricaDenmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Norway. Or if you prefer to read only Christmas stories, they are available too. You can also search for works by Hans Christian Andersen, Jacob Grimm, and Wilhelm Grimm using our library catalog.

Interested in seeing some rare editions of the fairy tales? You can visit both the John Work Garrett Library and the George Peabody Library.  You can do subject keyword searches for “fairy tales” limiting each to the Garrett holdings and the Peabody holdings.

As always for your viewing pleasure, several cartoons of the famous fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid are available. Recently, when I was searching for the Sing Sweet Nightingale song from the famous Cinderella cartoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find it several languages – Italian, Russian, Norwegian, Greek, Dutch, Arabic, Swedish, and many more.

Apart from rare books in our libraries’ collection, there are also several freely available online resources. For example, the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Children’s Literature has a good collection of fairy tales and Christmas stories. Another academic library that has a good digital collection of fairy tales is the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries. If you would like to know about other resources, take a look at the SurLaLune Fairy Tales, the Project Gutenberg, and the Children’s Books Online.

Last but not least, you may also be interested in viewing images from Vintage Fairy Tale and Fairy Illustration Before 1970 group uploaded by Flickr members. This set has an excellent collection of illustrations. Now, that you are in the mood to read some fairy tales, I recommend that you also check out the Best Christmas Of All, and Joy to the World from Disney’s Very Merry Christmas songs.

Wishing You Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!

About Chella Vaidyanathan

Curator of 19th-21st Century Books & Manuscripts and Liaison Librarian for History, Africana Studies & Latin American Studies

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