Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Tradition: Christmas Books

Traditionally, our family purchases our Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. By December 1st, the tree is lit, decorated, and has 24 presents beneath its branches.

These "presents" aren't typical Christmas gifts. They are our treasured Christmas books we have collected over the years. Some of them tell the story of the Nativity, some of them are strictly Santa Claus, but all of them have something to do with the holiday season.

Every night until Christmas Day, we unwrap one "gift" and read it together as a family, just before the kids head to bed.

The first year we started this tradition, we only had a few books- no where near the 24 needed. So, I headed down to the local library and checked out 20 Christmas books to wrap up.

Each year, I have purchased a few books, and we have recieved some as gifts, so we have had to rely less and less on the library for our Christmas book collection. One hint if you use Library books: wrap them in different paper than your other books. Have your children choose from those books under the tree first, so they can make it back to the library before they are due.

Some of our favorites: Christmas Oranges, A Christmas Dress for Ellen, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and of course, T'was the Night Before Christmas.

At the end of December, the Christmas book collection gets boxed up with the rest of the decorations. This keeps the books in good condition, and also keeps the excitement alive for the next year. "Oh yes, I remember this one!!" has already been heard a few times this year at our house.

I am on the lookout for a Christmas book to add to our collection this year. Any recommendations?


Amylouwho said...

This is SUCH a great idea! I'm going to start doing this!

Dawnell said...

My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and H. B. Lewis

This book is hilarious. A little boy asks for a penguin for Christmas and then realizes after ice cube filled baths and creamed herring for breakfast that maybe it wasn't such a great idea. Great illustrations and engaging story.

Linda said...

Dear Theresa,

I have a Google Alert on the phrase "Christmas Oranges" so anytime these two words appear together in an internet posting, I receive a copy of the posting. Today your Christmas tradition blog came through. I just wanted to thank you for mentioning "Christmas Oranges" as one of your family's favorite Christmas stories. Those sincere, unexpected, unsolicited compliments always mean a lot.

My mom has given me a Christmas book almost every year since I was born. As an adult, I've added one or two (or three or four!) each year too, so now I have way over a hundred different books. I write the year I got it in the front and that has ended up being a fun thing to look at each year also. I then started the tradition of giving my niece and nephews a Christmas book each year for their gift from me and they love seeing their collections grow.

The books you mentioned are also favorites of mine. (I love "Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree" but often it gets forgotten and to me, it's a classic.) A couple of others that come to mind are "Always Room for a Little One" (Waddell) and "Night Tree" (Bunting)

And, may I just say that as a librarian I LOVE your family's tradition! Good for you!

Wishing you a peaceful and fun Christmas!

Linda Bethers,
"Christmas Oranges"

P.S. Sorry if this comes through twice. I didn't see it post when I clicked anonymous (so I wouldn't have to remember my password!) so I'll try logging in.

Em and Ms said...

Great tradition. We may have to start it. Last year we bought "I Believe in Santa Claus" from Deseret Book. It's a great book finding similarities between the tradition of Santa and the real meaning of the season, the Savior.

aud1inok said...

I LOVE this idea! I can't wait to share it with my hubby and start it in our family. Thank you for sharing it.

Brigham Tomco said...

What a great idea! I want to start this tradition with our family! We like to read "Follow the Star" by Rachel W.N. Brown. It is about this cute camel who carries the wise mens' gifts. I like it because it shows that it takes the wise men awhile to travel to visit the Savior and when they finally arrive the Savior isn't is a new baby but a little older. Hope you like it!

Dinah said...

I love this!

ZAC said...


Ricki said...

I always loved when my mom read us "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"- a little long for little people, but maybe a choice in a few years. I also really like the illustrations of "Red Ranger Came Calling."

Brooke said...

We love Bear Stays Up for Christmas be Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. This is a very cute idea, thanks for sharing. :)

Theresa said...

Thank you for all of these book suggestions!! They made my Christmas Book Purchase a lot easier this year!