Christmas Book Countdown

P1020337One of our family traditions (well, we’re only on year two, but we’ll be keeping it up) is to have the kids open up Christmas books each day starting December 1 to count down to Christmas.  (I “wrap” them in bags made from Christmas material, kind of like holiday pillowcases tied with red fabric ribbons, and reuse the same wrappings each day.)  It started as a way to alleviate disappointment on the day when it’s a sibling’s turn to open the door on our Advent calendar, but the real beauty is that it spaces out the children’s exposure to our large collection of Christmas books.  Rather than bringing out a huge box at the beginning of the month and only actually reading a few of them over and over, we get two books a day (since Arianna is now old enough to join in the calendar door-opening) and we read those before adding them to our book basket and going back to other favorites.  After the first couple days this year, Ian recognized one of the books and asked me why I’d bought another copy of a book we already had.  He readily accepted my answer that it was the same book he’d opened last year and this was just a fun way to look through all our books.

P1020334I’m somewhat selective about what books I choose to have in our Christmas collection.  I generally only have one qualification: no Santa-related stories (unless they are talking about the historical St. Nicholas).  There is just so much focus on that aspect of Christmas everywhere you turn that we try to keep things Christ-centered in our home.  Those books that don’t specifically focus on Jesus relate to giving, love, light, or other qualities of Christmas that we want to emphasize.  Last year I only did one book a day (an occasionally two if they were board books or really short stories) since just the older boys were participating in our daily Advent activities, but this year I wanted to give two books so I did purchase a few more (usually used on Amazon).  Consequently some of the books are a bit redundant (lots of stories set in the stable).  Still, there are plenty of treasures that I’d buy again if anything were to happen to our first copies.  I’ve marked those absolute favorites* on the list.

Books about Baby Jesus

  • *Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones (I love the excitement in this one.  I save it for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, since it celebrates the end of waiting.)
  • *Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr. (A long story broken up into 4 chapters about Mary telling a young Jesus the story of his birth.  Ian LOVED this one and asked for it repeatedly.)
  • *The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (A sweet tale by a wonderful storyteller)
  • *Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado
  • *Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck (a simple board book with charming rhymes.  Our 2-year old brought this to me several times a day)
  • *Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell (another great book for little ones)
  • Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer (I like that Humphrey ends up with his heart in the right place, but I wasn’t sure my children really needed his example of grumbling and complaining through the rest of the book.)
  • The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Jill Briscoe
  • This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotton (I really like this book, which starts out with a structure similar to “This is the house that Jack built.”  The only reason it didn’t make it into my favorites is because the author doesn’t stick with that structure.  Once I got over that weakness, I enjoyed the fun rhymes.)
  • Tell Me the Christmas Story by Joni Walker
  • The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister
  • Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins
  • The Littlest Shepherd by Ron Mehl, Jr.

Books that illustrate carols/songs

Books that teach about Christmas traditions

Books with stories about the Spirit of Christmas


  • I Love Christmas (This is an anthology.  We don’t read all the stories, but I love “The Christmas Spider by Marguerite de Angeli in which the spider’s web covers Baby Jesus)
  • Christmas Cookies by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

So many good books!  I tried to be really choosey about which ones I starred so it didn’t seem like the non-starred ones were no good.  I enjoy all of them!  If I didn’t, they’d get kicked off the list and passed on to make room for other treasures.  If you know of any other Christmas books you think we should add to our collection, please comment!

Other Crew members will be sharing about what they are reading throughout this season so visit the Schoolhouse Crew blog for the Christmas Books Round-Up for more ideas. (This Round-Up will be live on December 18th.)  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Books


Posted on December 12, 2013, in Holidays, Kindergarten, Parenting Resources and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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