On my nightstand these days:

I'm looking forward to pulling out our Christmas books after Thanksgiving (I put them away with the decorations each year). They'll have a home in a big basket in our living room through the holidays. We might need to add a few more little-hand friendly books now that I think about it.

Looking for holiday books to add to your family's collection? One of my favorite lists of holiday books is a 2007 post from Amanda Soule - we ended up with quite a few of the books on her list that have now become special traditions in our own home.

39 thoughts

  1. Jane

    2010-11-17 10:29:04 -0500

    I have a tradition of reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have read them for the past few years and something about them gets me more and more excited about the holidays.

  2. Emily M.

    2010-11-17 11:08:04 -0500

    Yay for reading poetry! Yay, yay and Mary Oliver is great. I think you would like Naomi Shahib Nye; google "Famous"-- it kinda celebrates the every day.

  3. Emily M.

    2010-11-17 11:12:53 -0500

    Famousby Naomi Shihab Nye

    The river is famous to the fish.

    The loud voice is famous to silence,
    which knew it would inherit the earth
    before anybody said so.

    The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
    watching him from the birdhouse.

    The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

    The idea you carry close to your bosom
    is famous to your bosom.

    The boot is famous to the earth,
    more famous than the dress shoe,
    which is famous only to floors.

    The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
    and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

    I want to be famous to shuffling men
    who smile while crossing streets,
    sticky children in grocery lines,
    famous as the one who smiled back.

    I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
    or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
    but because it never forgot what it could do.

  4. Jessica Turner

    2010-11-17 11:13:40 -0500

    Ali - our online book club- Bloom - is reading Sabbath right now. Check out our site for video discussions, blog posts, a letter from Wayne Muller and more. He is a wonderful man.

  5. Lisa

    2010-11-17 12:27:34 -0500

    We love the "That's Not My..." series for little hands. They have a snowman, reindeer, & Santa version, and maybe more holiday ones. Our kids each get a new book at some point in December & one of those will for sure be added to our collection.

  6. cinback

    2010-11-17 13:02:05 -0500

    Here is a Christmas book idea for you! I have saved all of my girls' favorite Christmas books over the years (and those collected as an elementary teacher) and want to use them in some way. So, I am going to wrap them all up individually in Christmas paper and set them under the tree. Then, each day in December, my girls can open a book and we will read it. Our collection includes more than 25 books, so I will start Dec 1 and see how far it takes us. And you can bet that this will be documented in my December Daily 2010 album!

  7. Jenny

    2010-11-17 14:46:34 -0500

    thanks for the link to Soule Mama. i was wondering if you have suggestions for 1st Christmas gifts from anna & simon's 1st Christmas? our baby girl, madison, will be 8 months on Christmas day.

  8. lauralou

    2010-11-17 17:12:50 -0500

    Mary Oliver is so marvelous. I saw her speak last fall at our community college on Cape. She was as wonderful in person as on her pages. My favorite: On Angels and Trees.

  9. Keshet Shenkar

    2010-11-17 17:19:00 -0500

    I just read a book called "The Sabbath World" also about the Sabbath--I'll have to check out this one!

  10. Barb @ getupandplay

    2010-11-17 17:31:16 -0500

    Oh, man do I love Mary Oliver! She is hands down my favorite poet.

  11. Shauna

    2010-11-17 17:35:18 -0500

    We have a tradition that we have done for many years that helps us slow down during the busy-ness of Christmas. Around Thanksgiving I wrap up all our Christmas/winter books and put them under the family room tree (we put up two trees). Every night in December someone chooses a book to unwrap and we read it together as a family. My youngest child is 11 and we still enjoy this tradition. Sometimes we all have a cup of hot chocolate, sometimes I have a special treat, sometimes we barely have time to read one of the short books, but it is a great tradition!

    A great book that we love is called Red Ranger Came Calling by Berekly Breathed. A really good story!!

  12. Jackie

    2010-11-17 17:49:57 -0500

    I love Ken Follett... he's quite prolific...but keeps your attention. Enjoy.

  13. Erin

    2010-11-17 17:50:21 -0500

    I am excited to pull out our Christmas books as well. I have a weakness for children's literature and buy so many books. The Christmas ones are my favorite. If you don't have it already, I highly recommend the book "Santa Calls". The book is beautifully written with incredible illustrations. The story is so wonderful that I get goosebumps and tear up each time I read it. If you are looking to add to your collection, this one will not disappoint.

  14. Michell

    2010-11-17 18:07:20 -0500

    There is one book that I save for Christmas Eve when everything is done. I put my tired feet up, grab a little spiked egg-nogg and read " A Round of Applause for Mrs. Claus". Every tired mama desired copy.

  15. gerry

    2010-11-17 19:25:45 -0500

    I also like Mary Oliver. Another poetry book I love is called, I Saw God Dancing, by Cheryl Denise--a wonderful, earthy poet. The author grew up as a Mennonite, in Canada and now lives in the U.S. She writes poetry you can understand--you might want to try her book--Amazon carries it.

  16. Sandy

    2010-11-17 19:34:39 -0500

    Even though I don't have children, I always read "The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas" by Madeleine L'Engle and "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson every December. Great stories to get me in the Christmas spirit!

  17. Tracey Bresnahan

    2010-11-17 20:29:58 -0500

    I found this treasure in a thrift store: The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon. From the book jacket, "The Christmas Tree is about growth, learning to love, and, finally, being able to share that lovw with others, allowing it to be reborn, remembered and cherished forever." It's narrated by the chief gardener from Rockefeller Center and although it is a work of fiction, it wa inspired by an actual event. It is such a beautiful Christmas story. I loved the story so much and I know my 10 year old will too. Ironically, the little girl's name in the story is Anna!! :)

  18. shelleymay

    2010-11-17 22:53:52 -0500

    i picked up the book basket tip from you a few years ago... now the basket and types of books rotate with each month! love looking forward to a new metal red bucket this year and adding some readers for my 5 1/2 year old!!! thanks, Ali!

  19. Anna Aspnes

    2010-11-17 23:07:05 -0500

    I just added two more to our growing collection today. Right now Ella still believes, but I wonder for how much longer :(

  20. Sylvia

    2010-11-18 00:24:42 -0500

    Ali, I wanted to recommend Bill Bryon's "At Home: a short history of private life" to you. It's a sort of history of houses and the rooms and furniture in them, and how our concept of housing, comfort, and standards of living evolved over the last several centuries. He talks a lot about how everyday life used to be, how it is now, and how it got that way. As a bonus, it's also tremendously funny - seems like a book you'd enjoy, ties right in with a lot of the themes that are important to you.

  21. Camille

    2010-11-19 00:30:16 -0500

    Ali, I love your blog and wish my kids were still small. You have such great ideas. Although my youngest of 3 children is 15, we still like to read Christmas books together. One of their all time favorites is "Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree" and when it first came out (and pre-movie alteration) the beautiful story "The Polar Express". We have many and like you they are packed up until after Thanksgiving.

    I love to read and and am writing down all of these suggestions.

  22. Krystina Montemurro

    2010-11-20 12:29:05 -0500

    I too put the Christmas books away with our decorations Ali, and am excited to get everything out after Thanksgiving. I have really had the Christmas spirit early this year, humming Christmas songs and planning gifts, the Christmas card, and baking. Usually I don't even think about it until after Thanksgiving. Our favorite Christmas read aloud is The Littlest Angel. Looking forward to snuggling up and reading all together.

  23. Wendy

    2010-11-21 19:44:56 -0500

    I just started Fall of Giants too. I'm excited to read it, I love Ken Follett. If you like this one, you need to read Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Two of my favorite books ever!

  24. Susan Wilson

    2010-12-09 14:59:40 -0500

    Mary Oliver is of my favorites too!

  25. Anna Aspnes

    2011-02-14 01:07:58 -0500

    Just ordered Sabbath for $1.39 at

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