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Pittsburgh, December 16, 2009 — ‘Tis the season to curl up in front of the fire with a good holiday story and this year La Roche College English Professor Linda Jordan Platt, Ph.D., offers her top picks for classic Christmas stories.

Charles Dickens is always a good choice and according to Platt, there are two different inexpensive collections of Christmas stories that would be a great addition to anyone’s bookshelf. “A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories” published by Signet Classics includes, “A Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Tree,” “A Christmas Dinner” and two chapters of the “Pickwick Papers” set at Christmastime. Another collection, published by Borders Classics, “A Christmas Carol and Other Holiday Tales,” features “The Chimes,” “The Cricket on the Hearth,” and “The Haunted Man.”

“A Dickens Christmas means ghosts, goblins and fairy tales, as well as a sharp reminder of the ways we fail to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Platt said.

If a book to read aloud is what you are looking for this year, Platt offers three suggestions that are suitable for the entire family.

“The first chapters of Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ introduce us to the March sisters at Christmastime during the Civil War and touch on their mother’s call for them to sacrifice what little they have at Christmas for children who have even less,” Platt said.

Another story Platt recommends is by Cleveland Amory, a noted television critic and animal activist, titled “The Cat Who Came for Christmas.” The book follows his encounter with a “dirty, injured, starving, decidedly unfriendly cat” that changes his life.

Lastly, Platt reminds readers to remember the classic O. Henry story, “The Gift of the Magi.”

“This story puts the crazy materialism of people trampling others to get into a discount store into stark perspective,” she said, referring to the Black Friday incident at a New York Wal-Mart store in which an employee was killed when shoppers rushed into the store for early-bird bargains.

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