Adapted and updated with info for 2015

I have a lot of love for Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. If you’ve managed to escape me talking too much about my five-year run as a child star in a local production back home—well, feel free to ask me about it. I might even sing for you. But for now I’ll just say, for those five years the time between Halloween and Christmas was Christmas Carol season for me, and in the years since I’ve had to feed my love for the story other ways. Watching A Muppets’ Christmas Carol is one of my favorites (even if it leaves out my beloved Fan, Scrooge’s little sister), but a few years back I experienced a new favorite: the marathon reading of A Christmas Carol at Housing Works’s bookstore café.

There are so many things I love about this event. It’s at Housing Works’s bookstore café, which is a shop in SoHo where all of the merchandise has been donated, most of the staff is made up of volunteers, and all of their profits go to support the good work done by Housing Works. I’d love the bookstore just for its great space and selection of books, but its mission makes it even better. I’ve already explained my deep love of A Christmas Carol and anything resembling live theater, but I also just love hearing stories read aloud. This event brings all of these things together and has an awesome lineup of guest readers (writers and actors who are listed on the site, as well as some surprises).

When I went in 2012, the entire café was filled with listeners. There’s a balcony that runs along three sides of the bookstore section of the shop, and the readers stood at one end overlooking the café. I found a window seat and settled in to stay for the whole thing, but people did come and go throughout. It also looks like everything is 10% off during the reading (and that whole weekend)—what a perfect way to shop for the best kind of present (books) and get in the Christmas spirit!

The 2015 marathon reading of A Christmas Carol at Housing Works’s bookstore café is on Saturday, December 12, at 1 p.m., but if you show up early you’ll get to hear some members of my choir sing carols beginning at 12 p.m. (look for me if you go!) Having gone in 2012 and stayed all the way to the end of the reading, I highly recommend stopping by—the earlier, the better, to get a good comfy spot to listen from. Buy some hot chocolate and a cookie and settle in to hear one of the best Christmas stories ever written—you won’t be disappointed.

Anyone else have old favorite Christmas traditions that have seen new life lately?