This is a time of warmth and cheer for many people, hot cocoa and fireplaces, friends, family, candelabras, Christmas trees and latkes. It brings happiness to many, sadness to others, probably a mix of the two to more than we realize. But we do our best, especially if we have children, to create an atmosphere of joy.

It’s the end of a year, too, and not just any year. 2016, don’t let the door hit you in the derrière on the way out. On second thought, do. You deserve it.

There will be plenty of time and opportunity in the year to come to experience and express sentiments we wish we could live without. So let’s set that aside for the last week-and-a-half of 2016, and lift ourselves up a bit. Let’s look for comfort for our kids, who, despite seeming evidence to the contrary, might need some help processing the world at this troubling time. Let’s read a few stories to warm our hearts—stories to help us remember what’s good again. We all know we love our kids, but sometimes an outside perspective can help us see that in a new light. And what are all of this season’s holidays about if not lights in the darkness?

First, from the Washington Post, Karen MacPherson offers a great list of 19 books to help children find hope and strength in stressful times for children ages 3 to 12.

Author and co-owner of the soon-to-open Belmont Books in Belmont, Massachusetts, Chris Abouzeid, suggested these three titles for tweens and teens:

Next, this piece on Babble.com by Lori Garcia, 46 Things No One Tells You About Parenting a Teenage Boy, literally made me laugh out loud. Number 38. And number 12. Also number 15. Oh, just about all of them.

You may want to get a tissue ready for The Child I Love, by Jon Ralston, about his relationship with his transgender son.

Finally, don’t miss this lovely essay by my colleague, John Herman, about—well, I’ll let you discover what it’s really about. It features Santa Claus, a sled, a bag and a fence.

Happy holidays, no matter which or how many of this season’s holidays you celebrate. See you in 2017!

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