In December, our favorite Advent and Christmas books sit under our Jesse Tree, like the gifts that they are.
Here, in no particular order (and with links to past posts that contain more detail, in some cases) are some of our favorite books.
And, here's the "no panic" part: Although we own many of these, we certainly don't own them all. I make generous use of the library and then every year, I purchase one or two new books to add to our collection.
Here' s the other "no panic" part: We don't read all of these every year. We'll definitely read our dearest favorites, but other books will rotate. For example, one year, we really focused on all of the American Girl Christmas stories, and we baked related treats, learned more about Christmas in other times and places, etc. But, we don't always get back to those books every year. Read and do what works for you.
The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger is an all-round favorite.
In this post, I talked about it, and about "how literature teaches us beautiful things."
The first time we read The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey I cried a bucket. What a touching story about love and patience, healing and Christmas. Recommended with vigorous shaking of the head and tears in my eyes.
this post, The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas is out of print, but used copies are floating around. A very sweet story by Madeleine L'Engle, and worth hunting down.
The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale is a story that can be read anytime, but is especially good for Advent and Lent.
It's a simple, beautifully illustrated book that helps children to see that God will answer our prayers, but not always in ways we can foresee.
The feast of St. Nicholas has us reading The Miracle of Saint Nicholas (Golden Key Books) and The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (Yikes! Looks like that one's gotten rare.)
Alas, we do not own this one, but must request it via inter-library loan each year. Used copies of this book, written once-upon-a-time by Little House author Melissa Wiley, go for staggering amounts and so we must be happy with our annual library check-out.
Our must-read on St. Lucia day, along with saint books that tell us more about St. Lucy.
We love Tomie de Paola's The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Night of Las Posadas. And, don't forget Jingle the Christmas Clown and An Early American Christmas (yikes, two more rare books! Check your library and watch your library sales!) Country Angel Christmas is a sweet one, too. And, anything else by Tomie de Paola that we can find.
My sister gave The Legend of the Candy Cane to Anne-with-an-e when she was very little.
It has become a tradition that both it and Jan Brett's The Night Before Christmas must be read by Atticus.
Gennady Spirin's rendering of The Christmas Story is gorgeously illustrated. I think I bought this one for me.
Okay, so I cry a lot. Yes, I cried at this one, too. A lot. Love this book. Silver Packages is beloved by all the females in the house. Atticus has probably never read it, but then, he doesn't love to cry.
More and more:
The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William Hooks
Bright Christmas : An Angel Remembers by Andrew Clements
This Is the Star by Joyce Dunbar
Jesus by Brian Wildsmith
A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith
The Gift of the Magi (this version, illustrated by P.J. Lynch, is on my wish list for "Books to Add This Year")
Hark! A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen
This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten
The Story of Christmas (Orchard Paperbacks) by Jane Ray
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell (just ignore the faulty theology. Sorry. I can't help it.)
Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado
Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L.M. Montgomery
The Christmas Story by Kay Chorao
A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
American Girl Christmas Books
And, of course:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis