Holiday classics come to life at local book store

In Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, the bitter, green-faced Grinch has a change of heart after stealing all of the presents, food, Christmas trees, and decorations from the homes in Whoville.

Barnes & Noble bookstore is launching this year the “25 Days of Grinch-mas,” a campaign encouraging children to “grow their hearts three sizes,” as the Grinch did, by doing one good deed each day.

On Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m., families are invited to attend Grinch Day at the Milford store. Booksellers will be on hand to give children their own Grinch “Grow Your Heat Chart,” where they can draw a heart around each nice thing they do leading up to Christmas. Parents can fill in three of those good deeds on a postcard and mail it to Random House Children’s Books. For each postcard received, Random House Children’s Books will donate a new book to a child in need through the literacy organization First Book.

Children will also hear the story read aloud and participate in an art activity. Grinch cookies and hot chocolate, which is served in Grinch mugs, will also be available.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! remains a holiday favorite because it’s a transformative story about giving and love,” said Melody Rutkowski, assistant store manager.

“Grinch Day is a celebration of the shared experience between parent and child, author and reader, bookseller and community,” Rutkowski added. “Listening to Dr. Seuss’s story being read aloud makes us want to work together to make the world a better place.”

A popular seasonal event that takes place at Barnes & Noble stores throughout the United States is the Polar Express Party. Before chugging off to the North Pole, this familiar Berkshire steam locomotive pulled into its depot at the Milford bookstore.

In past years, both parents and children have enjoyed participating in this “interactive” holiday program, said store manager Marcus Nelson.

On Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning book The Polar Express will be read aloud in the children’s department.

“We host these special story times every year because we know that parents want to pass on these time-tested stories to their children,” said Nelson. “They need to pass on these holiday traditions. Taking the time out of our busy schedules to listen to these Christmas classics somehow takes some of the hecticness out of the season.”

After the story is read, families will be escorted to the bookstore’s toys and games department, where there will be demonstrations of the Polar Express train set. Before going home, everyone will receive Polar Express stickers. Refreshments will also be available.

Published in 1985, The Polar Express received the Caldecott Medal in 1986.

Although the Elf on the Shelf books haven’t been around as long as The Polar Express or How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the series continues to grow both in size and popularity. On Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble will host its annual Elf on the Shelf Christmas party. Written by Carol V. Aebersold and her daughter Chanda A. Bell, with illustrations by Coe Steinwart, the Elf on the Shelf is based upon their family’s holiday tradition of placing an elf around the house to keep track of the children’s naughty and nice behaviors during the weeks preceding Christmas.

Nelson said parents enjoy hiding the elf somewhere in their home. When the children finally discover the elf, they are typically awarded a special Elf on the Shelf cookie.

“They enjoy playing the game, of course, but I think the kids enjoy the cookies the best,” Nelson said.

Barnes & Noble will offer elf cookies — in both girl and boy figures — and a beverage at the Christmas party.

The latest book in the series is Elf on the Shelf: A Birthday Tradition,  said Nelson.

“The new book tells the story of how Santa and his elves celebrate birthdays at the North Pole,” he said. “We recently received some new elf costumes and they’re selling like crazy.”

Barnes & Noble is located at 1375 Boston Post Road. For more information, call 203-301-0371.