Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Favorite Christmas Books and A New Tradition

This Christmas Season we're trying something new in our family.
I've read about this idea in several places over the years, but can't really remember right now who I should give credit to!
You wrap up twenty-five different Christmas books and place them in a basket. Beginning on December 1st, you let one of your children open up one book, and you read it together as a family. You continue opening up one book per night through December 25th. When the basket is empty, it's Christmas!

So far the kids have been really excited about this, and they look forward to each night's new story. Sweet Pea (age 3) is having a hard time understanding that we only open one book each night. She'd like to tear into the whole basket if she could. Other than that, this has been a big hit that will probably become a standing tradition for us.

The following are our favorite Christmas books, twenty-five of which were wrapped up for our basket this year:

Stories about Christ's Birth
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck*
O Come Little Children by Anita Reith Stohs
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell*
Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate*
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado*
The Friendly Beasts illustrated by Tomie de Paola*
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats*
The Shepherd's Christmas Story by Dandi Daley Mackall
This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten*

Stories about God's Love
The Christmas Troll by Eugene Petersen
The Candymaker's Gift: The Legend of the Candy Cane by David Haidel
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Wahlberg
When Christmas Came by Eileen Spinelli

Christmas Around the World
A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert (Post-WWII Europe)
An Early American Christmas by Tomie de Paola (19th Century New England)
Hark! A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen & Tomie de Paola (a collection of songs, legends, etc. from various countries)*
Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie de Paola (Italy)
The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola (Italy)
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie de Paola (Mexico)
Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar by Kathleen Long Bostrom (possibly Germany)

More Christmas Fun
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Harvey Hare's Christmas by Bernadette Watts
Mouse and Mole and the Christmas Walk by Doug Cushman*
Santa's Toy Shop by Al Dempster (This is an old Disney/Little Golden Book - probably would be considered "twaddle" by some, but the vintage 1950's illustrations are special, and my kids love it. :)
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

New (to us) Stories - I hope to get to these this Season. If they're winners they might make it into the basket next year. :)
Asleep in the Stable by Will Hillenbrand
Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson (because my kids are huge fans of Harold)
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham
The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs (I'm having a terrible time getting my hands on a copy of this!)

* I used these stories as the basis of our Christmas unit last year, Around the Manger: The Animals of the Nativity. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the entire lesson plan.)

So what are your family's favorite Christmas books? I'm always looking for new ones! :)


  1. I've got An Orange For Frankie by Patricia Polacco from the library this year. It's good. She has a few other Christmas books too. Wanting to do an author comparison, I checked out all the books by her on the library shelf this week. The other Christmas one I got is Uncla Vova's Tree (same author). This one shares Russian Orthodox traditions.

  2. Did you buy 25 new books, or did you wrap up books you already owned?

  3. Molly,
    We've got a good-sized collection of Christmas books, but not enough to countdown the 25 days. I checked some of them out of the library and wrapped those up too.
    Hope that helps! Merry Christmas. :)


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