Chronicling the books we read to our children (and perhaps the books they read themselves). Can we read 500 before they turn 12? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Christmas Book Tradition

Lately, Times and Seasons has been on the subject of children's books, which reminded me of a post I've been meaning to write for a while about one of our family Christmas traditions involving Christmas books. Actually, I'm lazy, so I'll just paste the text that my wife wrote last year on the subject:

One of our very favorite family holiday traditions is reading Christmas books throughout the month of December. Here’s how it works:
Sometime before December, I wrap up all of our favorite Christmas books. On December 1st, I put the wrapped books in big basket under the Christmas tree. Each night the children are allowed to choose a book to open and read together. Besides being a great family activity that we all look forward to each night, we have felt that it really brings the Christmas spirit into our home. Children of all ages can enjoy this tradition. There are so many really good Christmas books that focus on the Savior and the true meaning of Christmas. There are also a lot of really fun and whimsical Christmas books that have good messages and teach the values and characteristics that we would like to impart to our children. There are also many great books about how Christmas is celebrated in other cultures and countries around the world.

It has amazed me how excited the kids are about this time spent together every evening. They never tire of it or the stories, even though they have heard many of the stories before. I think it also relieves some of the angst of waiting for Christmas as they have something to open each night. And it is a good way to count the days until Christmas; as the number of books dwindle, so do the days until Christmas.

If you don’t have enough Christmas books to do the entire month, you could do the week or 12 days before Christmas. The library has many great holiday books that can supplement your collection.

We started doing this a few years ago, with about 10 books that we had. Since then, we've added many, many more, to the point where instead of buying new books, we are trying to figure out which ones to get rid of (We have enough books for each of our three oldest children to open one a night for every night in December before Christmas). Of course, there are still a few gems that we would like to add to our collection.

I asked Kristen for a list of her favorites. She gave me a stack of about twenty books. When I told her that was too many, she cut it down to the following:

Kristen's favorites:

  • Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl S. Buck

  • Christmas Tapestry, by Patricia Polacco

  • Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect, by Richard H. Schneider

  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski

  • Christmas in the Manger, by Nola Buck

My favorites:

  • Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl S. Buck

  • Christmas Tapestry, by Patricia Polacco

  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski

  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson

  • Danny and the Kings, by Susan Cooper

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss

  • On Christmas Eve, by Margaret Wise Brown

And since you asked, here's a list of all of our Christmas books. There are about 30 of these that I haven't read yet -- we purchased them since last Christmas. (Scroll down the page -- for some reason, Blogger inserts a lot of blank lines before the table).

Any other suggestions?

TitleAuthor Illustrator
The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza Shannon, David Shannon, David
Auntie Claus Primavera, Elise Primavera, Elise
Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas Primavera, Elise Primavera, Elise
Bear Stays Up for Christmas Wilson, Karma Chapman, Jane
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Robinson, Barbara
A Child Is Born Winthrop, Elizabeth Mikolaycak, Charles
Christmas Bruna, Dick Bruna, Dick
Pienkowski, Jan
A Christmas Carol Dickens, Charles
Christmas Day in the Morning Buck, Pearl S. Buehner, Mark
Christmas in the Manger Buck, Nola Bond, Felicia
Christmas Is A Time of Giving Anglund, Joan Walsh Anglund, Joan Walsh
Christmas Magic Garland, Michael Garland, Michael
Christmas Mice Scarry, Richard Scarry, Richard
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Wojciechowski, Susan Lynch, P.J.
Christmas Oranges Bethers, Linda Sowards, Ben
Christmas Tapestry Polacco, Patricia Polacco, Patricia
Corduroy's Christmas Hennessy, B.G. McCue, Lisa
Countdown to Christmas Peet, Bill Peet, Bill
Country Angel Christmas dePaola, Tomie dePaola, Tomie
The Crippled Lamb Lucado, Max Bonham, Liz
Danny and the Kings Cooper, Susan Smith, Jos. A.
An Early American Christmas dePaola, Tomie dePaola, Tomie
Eloise at Christmastime Thompson, Kay Knight, Hilary
The Friendly Beasts: an old English Christmas Carol
dePaola, Tomie
A Gift From Saint Nicholas Kismaric, Carole Mikolaycak, Charles
Hark! A Christmas Sampler Yolen, Jane dePaola, Tomie
Here Comes Santa Claus Autry, Gene and Haldeman, Oakley Whatley, Bruce
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Seuss, Dr. Seuss, Dr.
It's Christmas Prelutsky, Jack Hafner, Marylin
Jingle the Christmas Clown dePaola, Tomie dePaola, Tomie
The Jolly Christmas Postman Ahlberg, Janet and Ahlberg, Allan Ahlberg, Janet and Ahlberg, Allan
The Legend of the Poinsettia dePaola, Tomie dePaola, Tomie
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Baum, L. Frank
The Little Crooked Christmas Tree Cutting, Michael Broda, Ron
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona dePaola, Tomie dePaola, Tomie
Miracle on 34th Street Davies, Valentine dePaola, Tomie
The Mouse Before Christmas Garland, Michael Garland, Michael
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree Barry, Robert Barry, Robert
The Nativity from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
Sanderson, Ruth
A Newbery Christmas Greenberg, Martin H. and Waugh, Charles G.
The Night Before Christmas Moore, Clement Brett, Jan
The Night Before Christmas Moore, Clement Clarke Tudor, Tasha
Nutcracker Hoffmann, E.T.A. Gustafson, Scott
On Christmas Eve Brown, Margaret Wise Calder, Nancy Edwards
One Winter's Night Herman, John Dillon, Leo and Dillon, Diane
Peter Spier's Christmas
Spier, Peter
The Poky Little Puppy's First Christmas Korman, Justine Chandler, Jean
The Polar Express Van Allsburg, Chris Van Allsburg, Chris
Pooh Christmas Songs
Baker, Darrell and Moore, Sparky and Wakeman, Diana
Rocking Horse Christmas Osborne, Mary Pope Bittinger, Ned
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale Waddell, Martin Cockcroft, Jason
Rudolph Shines Again May, Robert L. Papp, Lisa
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Hazen, Barbara Shook Scarry, Richard
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer May, Robert L. Wenzel, David
Santa Calls Joyce, William Joyce, William
Santa Kid Patterson, James Garland, Michael
Santa Mouse Brown, Michael De Witt, Elfrieda
Santa's Favorite Story Aoki, Hisako Gantschev, Ivan
Santa's New Suit Rader, Laura Rader, Laura
Silent Night, Holy Night: The Story of the Christmas Truce Cronkite, Walter Barrett, Robert T.
Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story Rylant, Cynthia Soentpiet, Chris K.
Spirit Child: A Story of the Nativity Bierhorst, John Cooney, Barbara
The Story of Holly and Ivy Godden, Rumer Cooney, Barbara
The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet Hautzig, Deborah Goode, Diane
The Sweet Smell of Christmas Scarry, Patricia Miller, J.P.
Take Joy! Tudor, Tasha Tudor, Tasha
This is the Season, Beloved of the Year
Dewey, Simon
The Trees of the Dancing Goats Polacco, Patricia Polacco, Patricia
Truffle's Christmas Currey, Anna Currey, Anna
'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Other Seasonal Favorites The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Duax, Anne
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Sabuda, Robert
The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas L'Engle, Madeline DeVelasco, Joe
A Very Mary Christmas Englebreit, Mary Englebreit, Mary
We Wish You A Merry Christmas: Songs of the Season for Young People Fox, Dan
Welcome Comfort Polacco, Patricia Polacca, Patricia
What Could Be Keeping Santa? Janovitz, Marilyn Janovitz, Marilyn
Where Is Christmas, Jesse Bear? Carlstrom, Nancy White Degen, Bruce
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect Schneider, Richard H. Miles, Elizabeth J.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree Houston, Gloria Cooney, Barbara


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