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Christmas Books

Before putting the Christmas books away until next year I had Katie type up a list of the books that were all wrapped up and opened one day at a time from December 1 through December 24. Some of them are very old (and harder to find or expensive) and others were found at thrift stores or are part of Chris or my childhood collection. Some are meaningful and rich and others are just silly and fun. I like having a combination of the two.

These aren't in any particular order and I've included links when possible. Now is probably a really great time to collect some books for next year if you're interested in starting this tradition. 22 of the 24 are included as two of them are currently hiding somewhere in the house.

1. Dream Snow by Erica Carle | Love anything Eric Carle.

2. A Ghost Tale for Christmas by Mary Pope Orsborne | This one was more for Simon (a new addition this year). He didn't read it :). He was into reading the new Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and that was totally fine with me. Might be of more interest to him next year.

3. Fisher Price Little People Christmastime Is Here!: Lift the Flap (Fisher Price Lift the Flap)| This one has been around awhile but both kids still love looking at it and peeking under all the flaps.

4. OLIVIA Claus | A favorite of Anna's.

5. Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkein | This is one of my personal favorites. Just magical.

6. Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

7. Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff

8. Santa Calls by William Joyce

9. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold

10. The Animals' Merry Christmas by Richard Scarry

11. The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffman and Maurice Sendak | I have a special story that goes along with this book that I didn't actually realize until Anna and I were looking at it this year. When I was seven or eight (1983 or so) I went to see The Nutcracker in Seattle at The Pacific Northwest Ballet. As I looked through this book this year (which I think I bought as an adult but I'm not sure now) I realized that this was the Maurice Sendak (author/illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are) and that he had been commissioned to make the sets for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker during the time I saw it. In looking through the book I knew those sets. I remembered the images. So many things collided together for me as I flipped through those pages. This one is not a little kid's Nutcracker book - it's big and heavy and in-depth and awesome. And if you like Maurice Sendak there was a really great interview with him on Fresh Air earlier this year that is totally worth your time.

12. The Nutcracker by Gaby Goldsack | This is a very simplified version of the nutcracker story. It was just right for introducing Anna to the story before we went to the ballet but I might be on the lookout for a different version that's between this one and the one above.

13. The Night Before Christmas with Jan Brett | Amazing illustrations.

14. Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas | This one will likely be phased out (not sure about that yet).

15. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg | Classic.

16. Counting to Christmas by Nancy Tafuri

17. The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scented Storybook) by Patricia M. Scarry

18. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff

19. Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury | This book includes a few different stories. Again, Jan Brett's illustrations are amazing.

20. Little Critter: Just a Snowman by Mercer Mayer

21. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg | This was a new one for our family this year and it was an instant favorite. Lots of things to pull out and read. Great story.

22. Disney's Merry Christmas Carols | Couldn't find a source for this one - it's a Little Golden Book.

23. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

We also received two new books this year form a friend in New Zealand - super fun additions to our collection: A Kiwi Jingle Bells and A Kiwi before Christmas both by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde.

I'd also highly recommend checking out Amanda Soule's post on her family's Winter Reading Favorites. Some of my favorites in our collection came from her list - and looking at it now it's totally possible that I ordered the Maurice Sendak Nutcracker book after reading about it on her blog back in 2007.

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79 thoughts

  1. Janine says…
    01/04/2012

    Hi Ali,
    I have somewhat of a strange request but you never now unless you ask. I do not have Photoshop am I able to still use the December daily overlays that have the date on right hand corner? If not is there any chance I can purchase them already printed and then I can just add my photos?
    Thanks
    Janine

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Barb C says…
      01/04/2012

      The overlays also come with a PDF version that you can print from Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  2. Shayne says…
    01/04/2012

    What a wonderful idea - I am definately going to do this in 2012. It's a great way to start a Christmas Book Collection full of memories!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Abbie says…
    01/04/2012

    great collection!
    We love the Jolly Christmas Postman at our house each Christmas. It's fun to see that one on your list.

    When your kids get older, you might want to consider adding The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Great, old fashioned story about sacrificial giving.

    Also, my kids love listening to books on tape. We've found a good audio version of the Nutcracker free online. They enjoy it. It's a great reminder of the storyline before we go to the ballet.
    http://storynory.com/2008/12/15/a-christmas-nutcracker/

    Another audio story that's set in winter from Storynory is The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. It's a classic, but can seem a bit intense for little ones.

    Happy new year, Ali! I haven't commented on your beautiful December Daily pages over the last few weeks, but I've loved them! One of these days I'm going to start that tradition myself. What an amazing keepsake.

    Take care.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Pilbars Pink says…
      01/04/2012

      Oh my, I had forgotten all about the Jolly Christmas Postman. our daughter had the original Jolly Pocket Postman book and I was so excited when I found the Christmas one. She is 26 later this month yet I remember that book as if I read it yesterday :)

  4. Abbie says…
    01/04/2012

    Here's the Snow Queen link
    http://storynory.com/category/snow-queen/

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Abbie says…
    01/04/2012

    Oh, one more Christmas book that we love.....

    Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Sandi says…
    01/04/2012

    I loved this idea of wrapping up the books. I was going to do it this year but when I counted my books I only had 12. I knew I could not go out and buy the remaining in one month. I will buy one book a month this year in preparation for next year. Thanks for the great idea.
    Sandi

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Yolanda says…
      01/04/2012

      Other things to consider: (1) Not every book has to be Christmas-related. Books about winter or seasons work great, too. (2) Consider wrapping library books, especially of the budget is tight. Most libraries rent for at least two weeks & allow you to renew. This is a great way to bring in unique books without having to turn "shopping for Christmas books" into a chore. (3) Know that you don't have to have 24 holiday books on hand the very first year you start this tradition, especially if your child is very young. You can always buy a couple a year and gradually build up to a full set. (4) Buy used. Thrift stores are teeming with children's holiday books almost all year long. Easy, inexpensive way to build the collection.

  7. dnobles says…
    01/04/2012

    I found some of these books on eBay this year....and Amazon used books often has older books available. Love the books that span generations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Denise says…
    01/04/2012

    Thanks for the list, Ali! We came up about 8 short this year, (even after thrifting a few!) so, I picked them up from the library. Our check-out time is 3 weeks, so I was able to wrap them and add them to our basket without a problem! I have wanted to do this for the last couple of years, and am so glad I took the time to do it this year. My kids 5 & 3 were SO into it!! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Kate says…
    01/04/2012

    A book I fell in love with when I read it (even before having kids) is My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, with awesome illustrations by H.B. Lewis. It is a sweet story infused with a bit of humor.

    On a Side note, I would just like to thank you Ali for bringing the December Daily project to us and allowing us to view others work. I have really enjoyed seeing not only how others approach their memory keeping, but also seeing how others celebrate the season. So Awesome, thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Janet K says…
    01/04/2012

    I LOVE this list...even though I don't have kids, I have alway's been a fan of kid's books...this is such a great idea. A client of mine gave me an old, children's copy of A Chritmas Carol this year. She suggested that it start a collection of different copies of the same story. I thought it was a great idea.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Cathy S says…
    01/04/2012

    One of my favorite books is A Pussycat's Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown. It's full of sensory details, sound and smell especially. http://www.amazon.com/Pussycats-Christmas-Margaret-Wise-Brown/dp/0061869783/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325683221&sr=1-1

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Peggy says…
    01/04/2012

    We have the some of the same books. My 8 year old has to read 15 minutes every day. I don't wrap my books I just have them on this cool sleighbut for the month of December every night my sunray one of those books. My oldest is 11 so she really wasn't reading those although she did want to hear twas the night before Christmas on Christmas Eve

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Dawn Cheshire says…
    01/04/2012

    Thank you so much for sharing your list, I tried the idea this year and although we didn't do the full 24 days we did enjoy what we did. Next year I plan on being a little more organised so will add some of these to my library wish list now!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Kathy (kathyb) says…
    01/04/2012

    We enjoyed " Harry and the dinosaurs make a Christmas wish" this year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Lisa W. says…
    01/04/2012

    Ahhhhhhhhh just love this post. My babies are no longer little..to big for these Christmas books but no matter. I will treasure this idea and start a collection when the grandkids arrive some day:) I ALWAYS buy my daughter a book every year for Christmas! Thanks Ali for again a wonderful post!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Katie says…
    01/04/2012

    I did this new tradition with my family this year too. Granted my son turned 1 on 12/31, but he did enjoy drinking his milk and looking at the pictures before bed each night. We actually have a few of the same books that are on your list. I can't wait until next Christmas to see how he reacts to these stories!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Sherry Eckblad says…
    01/04/2012

    What a great collection of books! We love Olivia Claus.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Marsaille says…
    01/04/2012

    An idea that people have forgotten is that you can always borrow from the library. Our little library check-out is for 3 weeks! And then you can renew! Thank you for the Nutcracker link. I was going to ask, but didn't want to bother you with it. I too have the Maurice Sendak version, which is too much for my 4 year old to follow (although we saw the ballet on TV, and she too got excited about the sets). Love Maurice Sendak, thanks for the Fresh Air link. We will be wrapping them next year. I don't think we got much past Bear Stays Up and The Grinch this year. Hopefully with wrapping them we will get some more variety.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Amy Z says…
    01/04/2012

    Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas was phased out in our house after the first time I read it! It was exhausting! LOL!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Julie in Edmonds says…
    01/04/2012

    What a lovely idea!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. elinjanne says…
    01/04/2012

    Thanks for sharing this. I love the idea of collecting 24 books for next Christmas and now is a good time:)
    But - do the kids use them or is it too much? I have a picture in my head of 24 books all over the house:)

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Erin says…
    01/04/2012

    I am so glad you got "Santa Calls". I know it will always be one of my favorites. Next year, you should get the book "The Story of Holly and Ivy" for Anna. I know you too will love reading it together. It's a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. You should also consider "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey". It is a beautiful book that captures the spirit of the season.

    Getting out the Christmas books is one of my favorite things to do at Christmas time. You had some great titles and some I have not seen before. I'll have to add them to my list. Every year we give the kids a new Christmas book on St. Nick's Day so I'm always looking for new titles.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Melissa says…
    01/04/2012

    Some of my favorites you might be interested in adding to your collection are:
    This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten
    Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev
    The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson
    The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg and James Bernardin
    The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Diane says…
    01/04/2012

    I was really excited by your "Christmas book a day" when you first posted it and love how it both promotes reading and quiet family time. One of our favorite Christmas books here in Sweden is "Findus at Christmas" both because of its sweet story and the marvelous job the illustrator does of hiding details in the pages to be discovered when one rereads the story.

    http://www.amazon.com/Findus-at-Christmas-Pettson/dp/1907359052/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325691046&sr=1-2

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Lisa says…
    01/04/2012

    Thanks for sharing your book list. You inspired me to try this too and we loved it. It's fun to see which of our books overlapped. I had the Elmo book in my collection, but didn't find it until after we wrapped all the books. I found thAt it was a gift to me from my mother-in-law the year I met my husband. However, I was hoarse by the time is finished reading it to Colin this year!

    Reply 0 Replies

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