Favorite Christmas Books

The box of Christmas books has come down from the attic and now resides in a basket in the living room. The books (and the Christmas elf) are the first bits of Christmas to arrive at our house. As the children have gotten a little older, I've been weeding out some of our books....we no longer really need the pop-up book of "Cordoroy's Christmas!" There are some books that we will never send away. Our favorites (in addition to the Jan Bretts) are listed below.

I put up a little Amazon widget with links in the sidebar. I'm not expecting anyone to buy them, I just wanted the covers to be illustrated and it was the easiest way I could think of to do it.

My two favorite adult books are:

The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews. This book takes you through many ancient winter festivals and gives very practical suggestions for fun celebrations. There are recipes, crafts, songs, games, and plays for the entire Solstice season right through 12th night.

Take Joy, by Tasha Tudor is a must to own. Finding it is a little hard, but it includes carols, poems, stories, Christmas legends, and then a big section on Tasha Tudor's Christmas traditions with recipes, etc. Of course, the illustrations are a wonder to behold.

Tasha's other books, The Doll's Christmas and The Night Before Christmas are also special to us. We also have Jan Brett's version of The Night Before Christmas. The girls think that Tasha's "jolly old elf" really looks the way a jolly old elf might look.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. You know it's a special book when you finish reading it and there is a collective sigh issued from the listeners. That always happens with this book that takes place in Appalachia during World War I. I love Barbara Cooney's illustrations as well.

Big Susan by Elizabeth Orton Jones was first published in 1947. This is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Doll and their six children. The dolls can only speak and move on that wonderful night when all dolls come alive and speak. One year they prove that there is more to Christmas than presents. This book is about 80 pages and has very sweet illustrations. It's a good read for my 3rd grader.

Night Tree by Eve Bunting tells a sweet story of a family who goes out into the woods to decorate a tree for the animals.

Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Lucy as she begins to make all her family's Christmas gifts in August. The setting is an old farmhouse in NH about 100 years ago and reveals a New England community Christmas as it really happened.

Father Christmas and the Donkey
by Elizabeth Clark is a sweet story about a sad, abandoned donkey. Father Christmas comes upon him and the donkey joins him on his journey to deliver gifts. At the end, the little donkey becomes a gift himself to a family who will love him. This book is magical with glittery silvery illustrations that make Father Christmas just glow. I love this book so much, I'm thinking of making a little needle felted donkey to go with the story. Of course, he will have to be all sparkly.

Lucy and Tom's Christmas by Shirley Hughes. I have always loved Shirley Hughes. This English story follows two children through the days leading up to Christmas and Christmas day. It's a little young for my children now, but I will keep it for grandchildren.

H just hollered in to tell me that her two favorite are Tolkein's Letters from Father Christmas and Father Christmas and the Donkey.

Tara  – (December 1, 2007 at 11:54 AM)  

Thanks for this great list of selections. We always do Halloween books but only have a handful of winter holiday selections. I think it's time to expand the collection!

Jennifer  – (December 1, 2007 at 4:30 PM)  

Oh, I adore Shirley Hughes. She isn't always easy to find, but when I do, ahhh, it's like coming home.
And we too adore the Father Christmas Letters. I just got it out of the library, and we're already looking forward to snuggling up together tonight for a good read!

Tracy  – (December 5, 2007 at 11:38 PM)  

I would love to add some of these titles to our collection! Some of these are not available through my library, but I did get third in line for The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.

Henitsirk  – (December 17, 2007 at 7:41 PM)  

That is a Shirley Hughes book I hadn't heard of! She's one of our favorite authors, not the least because Alfie and Annie Rose are just about the same age apart as my kids.

Jennifer  – (November 30, 2008 at 6:46 PM)  

Greetings a year later - I've been gathering the advent books for this year, and returned again to harvest some wonderful ideas, including Tasha Tudor's Take Joy, which I'm so relieved our library has!
Thanks again for posting!

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