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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. Rachael S. says…
    01/04/2012

    I would love to recommend a book I discovered this season and LOVE. The pictures are gorgeous and the story is so sweet.

    My friend's daughter received a signed copy from her Aunt. The couple responsible for the work is from Michigan, where my friend and her family live. The wife wrote the book while the husband illustrated it. It might not be a bad book to add to your rotation.

    http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Wish-Linden-Corners/dp/0758266715/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325695630&sr=1-1

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Mandy Bopp says…
    01/04/2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the Maurice Sendak book. I actually danced in that ballet in 1988 when the PNB would come up to Vancouver, BC and do the production up there. it's one of my most vivid memories from my childhood. My parents bought me the book and included all of the newspaper articles and photos of me in it. Not too many people have ever seen that production but it is truly beautiful!!

    Thanks for jogging my memory, Ali! Have a wonderful day!

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

    My daughter got the Elf on a Shelf this year for her 2 boys, 3 and 1 yrs. The 3 yr old was so so excited to find "Chippy" every morning. I told my daughter about your 25 book idea and she loved the idea. So I thought next year, to simplify things we could COMBINE the 2 traditions and have a wrapped book sitting next to Chippy every morning. These books will magically disappear every Christmas Eve night along with Chippy to the North Pole until next year. (they will be at my place, well hidden from exploring boys.)

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

      Love that idea. The kids had the book and an elf over at Chris' house and they loved that.

  4. Donna says…
    01/04/2012

    Letters From Father Christmas by
    J. R. R. Tolkien is my all time favourite :) x

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Queen Mary says…
    01/04/2012

    My favorite has always been The Littlest Angel, you just don't see it anymore! And Tomi di Poalo has some wonderful books!

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

    I collect holiday books too and LOVED this idea!! Will for sure do this next year!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Christine says…
    01/04/2012

    Love this tradition. I would like to share a book:
    Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
    I share this book every year with my students.
    Also, Jan Brett has a wonderful website with lots of free stuff.
    Her illusttrations are AMAZING.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Jennifer says…
      01/04/2012

      I echo Mr. Willoughby! My kids love it and it really is adorable. Check out A Wish to be a Christmas Tree. Another sweet, sweet book. Enjoy!! I'm sure I'll find a new favorite in this list as well. Thanks.

    2. Camille says…
      01/04/2012

      I was going to suggest Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. It is a classic in my mind. My kids are 26-16 and we still sit around and read aloud our favorites at Christmas. We sometimes argue over who gets to read this one.

      Auntie Clause is one my daughter loves and it was her very own Christmas book that is seperate from her brothers books.

  8. Ruth G says…
    01/04/2012

    OK, Ali! My family loves books and I think your tradition is such a great one to have! We have the Jan Bretts and Polar Express. We also have Olive, the other reindeer which is a heartwarming story. Olivia cracks us up, and the Mouse at the movies and Bear Stays up are so much fun! I will hunt down the Tolkein and I remember seeing the Nutcracker one with Maurice Sendak in bookstores and now I know I need to get it, too (AWESOME that you got to see the ballet performed with his sets!!!!) TFS!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. [email protected] of Laughter says…
    01/04/2012

    Hi Ali! Happy New Year!
    I just wanted to share with you a Christmas Tradition we have at our house. Every year since my daughter was born in 1996, we have given her a special Christmas book at Christmas. She now has 16 books in her collection. The books reflect who interests over the years...like when she was 8, she loved angels and fairies so we got her a book about 'Holly the Angel' that year. My son was born in 2001 and we started the same tradition with him, and he now has 10 books in his collection. Both our kids love getting these books out at Christmas and we have been reading them since they can remember so they have memories of reading these these books at Christmas as part of our family culture. My hope is that we have given them a small library of Christmas books to take into adulthood and share with their own families one day.
    Love you Ali! I have been reading your blog since 2005 and please know my heart holds a special spot for you and 2012 will be full of new & fun adventures for you...I just know it! Angie xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. [email protected] of Laughter says…
    01/04/2012

    Shoot! I forgot to mention that if you would like to see my son's and daughter's collection of special Christmas books, you can see the post I wrote about our tradition here:
    http://www.applevalleygirl.blogspot.com/2011/12/gift-of-special-book-at-christmas.html

    Angie xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. rhonda says…
    01/04/2012

    My daughter is 18 and we still love Jan Brett til this day and collect her books!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Lourdes A. says…
    01/04/2012

    My kids love Madeleine's Christmas, and the Animal Advent Calendar, too (and they are teenagers!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Yvette says…
    01/04/2012

    Thank you for your post, what great idea. We have so many Christmas books that It is always a big decision from the kids as to which one we read each night.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Julie says…
    01/04/2012

    I'm not sure how often you add books to the Christmas Book List, but I have a lot of good memories of reading "Christmas and the Old House" by Tom T. Hall at my grandparents' house when I was younger.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Shauna says…
    01/04/2012

    I don't generally like telling people what they should do (!) but everyone "should" get/read this book at Christmas! It is called "Red Ranger Came Calling" by Berkeley Breathed. GREAT story.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ranger-Came-Calling-Berkeley-Breathed/dp/0316102490

    We've been doing this tradition for many years now and every year we can't wait until someone opens that book!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Dawn says…
      01/08/2012

      Thanks for sharing this - I did the 25 days of Christmas books with my 3.5 year old and we loved it! I had not heard of your recommendation but put it on my wish list for when he is a bit older - it looks wonderful!

  16. Cara Seppelt says…
    01/04/2012

    Two more ...Mog's Christmas and Angelina's Christmas.
    I did this for both of my children(28 and 19 now), and they have such fond memories of it - my daughter misses it and I think I'll surprise her next year by doing it again.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. sharon says…
    01/04/2012

    Hi Ali, Happy New Year and astounding new year it will be! I have been thinking about you and the family and as usual you are in my prayers. Thanks for sharing the the Christmas reading books but I would have to add the The Little Drummer Boy, dont have a reference or author but it is a magical spirtual read that children love. I know another book which for me is so heartfelt that I get emotional reading the The Velveteen Rabbit. Still working on my December Daily and enjoying every minute....much love hugs and prayers

    Sharon Dryjanski Phoenix AZ Creative Escape

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Lori S. says…
    01/04/2012

    You might like Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker - great illustrations and it might be the "in-between" you're looking for. We have her Night Before Christmas book and it's just beautiful. You can find them both on Amazon.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Roberta says…
    01/04/2012

    I did this in my kindergarten classroom this year and it was AWESOME! The special helper of the day was the child that got to open the gift. I also numbered the books so we count the school days in December. You might be surprised but the favorite book was Christmas in the Big Woods, from the picture book series from Laura Ingalls Wilder. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Stephanie Howell says…
    01/04/2012

    try great joy by kate dicamillo. it's one of our favorites. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Jill S. says…
    01/04/2012

    Love the list. I've gotta look for "Letters from Father Christmas." Both of my teenagers LOVE Tolkien's books. I've been collecting Christmas books for over 16 years. One of our favorites is "Snowmen at Christmas" by Caralyn Buehner. Also, Robert Sabuda has 3 amazingly awesome Christmas pop-up books: "The Night Before Christmas," "The Christmas Alphabet," and "The 12 Days of Christmas."

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

    I love this tradition and feel so sad that my boys are 14 and 10 and a little too old for this but maybe we can adapt it. Thanks for the idea Ali.

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

    Love this Ali. I'm definitely doing it next year- though my kids love Christmas books all year long so I'll just gather them up and wrap them for December. So surprised that your only book that overlaps ours is "the night before Christmas" a couple of our favs this year were llama llama holiday drama and tractor Mac saves Christmas. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Julie MacManus says…
    01/04/2012

    i LOVED your idea and so this year starting collecting books. i've just finished wrapping 21 books -so only another few to buy. I hit the 50% off sale at one shop after xmas and got like 7 bargain books! Most of mine are different from yours and being from NZ - i have the 'Kiwi' christmas ones.
    i have never seen the Fisher Price Lift the Flap one, even tho we have others of those... so thats now on my wish list :>
    thanks so much for sharing your grand ideas :>
    julie

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Linda Gore says…
    01/04/2012

    Awesome tradition. Too bad my four kids are scattered in 4 states and my baby is almost 21. Great idea for the grandkids......some day.

    Reply 0 Replies

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