Twelve Books of Christmas

If you haven’t figured this out yet, I LOVE books! So I thought it only right to present a list of my top favorite 12 Christmas Books!

12. The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Warburg Illustrated by James Bernardin

The sub title of this book says it all, “The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy.” This book is a sweet story about a mystery man who comes to town to start a new business. When a young child of the village comes to help him set up the store, it is discovered that he sells candy, and he has one fun minty candy that is used to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I love reading this to my kids every Christmas.

11. The Legend of the Poinsettia – retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

I am a big fan of reading about how other cultures and religions celebrate the season. Tomie dePaulo does a great job sharing the Mexican culture and legends in his art and story. I have this story in a combined volume called Joy To The World, Christmas Storie And Songs. It is a great addition to our holiday book basket.

10. The Gift of the Maji by O. Henry

This lovely little story is one that has been told many times in many ways. A young couple very much in love, but very poor, are only able to afford gifts for each other by selling their most prized possessions. I particularly like the copy illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger. Her soft illustrating style fits the sweet story of sacrifice quite well.

9. The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm

A classic story of a hardworking shoemaker who gets a little help to complete a customer’s order from little elves who magically appear on the Christmas Eve. This one was part of my Grandma’s Christmas Book Basket. I’m not sure where it ended up when she died, but I will always think of her when I think of that story.

8. The Friendly Beasts, an English Carol Illustrated by Tomie dePaola

As a musician, I would be remiss to exclude this little book. The words from the Christmas Carol describe the Nativity Scene as observed by the animals in the stable. Tomie dePaola does a wonderful job again illustrating a Christmas themed book.

7. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

This sweet little story was a favorite of my youngest brother. Mr. Willowby is a rich older gentleman who has a wonderfully big house. He and his house staff get a wonderfully big Christmas Tree for the holidays. But the tree is TOO big, and needs to be cut in order to fit into Mr. Willowby’s house. Rather than cut the bottom of the tree, Whack, goes the saw, and the top of the tree is cut off and discarded…But it’s such a lovely tree top, that it is soon taken by another character who puts it in their home, but the top is too big for their home, so they too whack the top of the tree off to fit. As the story goes on, the top of the tree is continually chopped off and discarded, only to be brought home to another family. How many characters will benefit from Mr. Willowby’s Tree? Read it and find out!

6. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet Ahlberg

This is a great interactive book set in fairy tale England. The bicycle riding postman has a pack of letters to deliver to several fairy tale creatures before he can go home to his cozy house and enjoy a cup of tea. As each letter is delivered, the reader opens an envelope with the delivered letter inside! The text rhymes, the illustrations are adorable, and kids have fun spotting the various characters from popular fairy tales.

5. Just A Snowy Day by Mercer Mayer

This one is not necessarily a Christmas book, but it is a PERFECT winter book. Mercer Mayer’s Critter goes on an adventure on a snowy day as only Little Critter can. This is not just a picture book, however, inside you will find touch & feel elements, pull tabs, and more, which make the story come to life. I grew up with this one, and it was one my siblings bought for my oldest daughter when she was born. Definitely a family favorite that has spanned time.

4. The Sweet Smells of Christmas by Patricia Scarry

This was my favorite as a small child. A classic scratch and sniff book, written by Richard Scarry’s wife, Patricia. Little bear wanders through his home, enjoying the SMELLS of the holiday, including his Christmas tree, a candy cane, and a cup of hot coco. I loved the smells as a kid, and it marked the beginning of Christmas for me as a kid when I had my mom read aloud that book to me. When I found a copy in a used book sale, I snatched it up for my own family.

3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

This little book was written by a local-to-me author from the perspective of a little girl, telling of how her mother was left with the responsibility of running the church Christmas pageant. The pageant is hijacked by a family of the worst kids in town. Will the the bullies ruin the whole show? Will the mother be able to get the little actors to memorize their lines in time? Will the towns people be able to carry on the tradition of the Christmas pageant?

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

A collection of Christmas books wouldn’t be complete without this one. Yes, there are many movies inspired by this book, and with good reason. Dr. Seuss makes the point that Christmas is really about being with those that you love. Its not about songs, or gifts, or tradition, but about friends and family. The whimsical images and goofy rhyming of Dr. Seuss’s style plays so well in this beloved Christmas time book.

1. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

This lovely little poem, originally credited by the great author Anonymous, was a favorite of mine as a child, and I’m enjoying sharing with my kids. It is a story of a father, getting ready for bed the night before Christmas when he hears a noise outside. He finds it is St. Nicholas, coming to deliver the family’s gifts. A charming classic that I enjoy quoting every Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed this collection of books. Do you have any of these in your Christmas book basket? Am I missing some good ones? What other books do you include in your Christmas/Holiday Book basket? What are your top 12 Books for this time of year?

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