When my super-mom friend, Janel, told me about this Christmas tradition of hers last year, I knew I wanted to share it with each of you. I hope you feel inspired!
My favorite tradition is reading a Christmas story under the Christmas tree each night. I wrap and number them, and the kids think it’s the best that they get to open a present each night. I LOVE it and so do they! When my oldest (now 8 years old) was a baby I started collecting Christmas books. I have always loved children’s lit, and knew it was something I wanted to make part of our Christmas. I love how it makes our home feel!
At first, I checked them out at the library, and slowly each year I have added to the collection. I also keep them with my Christmas decorations and the books only come out at Christmas time.
Here are some of our very, very favorites:
1. Santa Claus: This one my kids spend hours looking through. It tells about Santa’s workshop and has really fascinating details.
2. I Believe in Santa Claus: About Santa and Christ and their similarities.
3. Christmas Day in the Morning: This is our very favorite! You know it’s good when it makes my husband tear up.
4. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad (A Golden Look-Look Book): Gotta love Mercer Mayer.
5.The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale: Three trees grow up to be just what they always dreamed, but in a completely different way then they pictured. All centered around parts of Christ’s life.
6. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree: I love how this tree provides holiday cheer for so many. First published in 1963, this story has been a favorite for generations. The illustrations are fun and cheerful.
7. The Polar Express: This is a must with little boys.
8. Bear Stays Up for Christmas: We love the Bear books and this one does not disappoint. Cute story and rhymes, and colorful pages.
9. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey: Perfect for anybody who has lost somebody, and also perfect for anybody else as a Christmas story. Beautiful illustrations.
10. The Mansion: Beautiful message in this one.
11. Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas: It’s fun to add authors your kids are already familiar with.
12. The Empty Stocking: This story is about a pair of twins, one nice and one naughty, who are a little nervous about Christmas morning.
13. Olivia Claus: We love Olivia, and she’s done it again!
14. The Gingerbread Man: I love this version of the gingerbread man, it really comes to life.
15. Frosty the Snowman: My kids ask for this one a lot, probably because they love the song.
16. The Gift of the Magi: This timeless story of love and sacrifice of a young couple is made even more wonderful by the detailed illustrations.
17. C is for Christmas: Full of color and fantastic detail, this is a wonderful version of the classic story.
18. Let it Snow: The darling Toot and Puddle are back in this Christmas story about the gift of friendship
19. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: This unforgettable tale, a seasonal classic, is a touching and joyful story about courage and the power of family.
20. The Mitten: Full of color and fantastic detail, this is a wonderful version of the classic story.
21. The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving: The bear cubs learn a valuable lesson about sharing with one another.
22. Walk this World at Christmastime: This is a journey through the world at Christmastime. It has flaps for children to look through and beautiful pictures.
23. How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This one is a must and a classic.
24. The Night Before Christmas: We always read this Christmas Eve, and I love the Clement C. Moore version.
I’m so grateful for great books to bring in the Christmas spirit.
Janel is someone I admire greatly. She loves her family and delights in her children, and she’s one of the most beautiful, happy, determined people I know! She lives in Portland’s west side with her husband and four children.