The day after Thanksgiving, we started carrying up the Christmas tubs from the basement. First came the tree, next my new magnolia leaf garland for the mantle along with the stockings and mercury glass trees, the cute teeny pint-size trees for the kids’ rooms, and finally what you would have thought were literal treasures, jewels, gold bars, and coins, according to the reaction of my oldest – the Christmas books.
We started this collection with a The Night Before Christmas for his “read” gift his first Christmas (big lovers of Want, Need, Wear Read at our house). He was merely seven months old that year and obviously didn’t really understand the story or the beautiful old-timey illustrations. But to me, it represented the start of a new tradition, gathering around the tree on Christmas Eve in all of our years to come together, reflecting on how much has changed from the previous year, seeing the magic of the Christmas season in the eyes of our little ones, and wishing time would stop just this once so I could soak it all in over and over again.
I feel so nostalgic seeing the well-worn covers of the Christmas books my own parents have set out for my three to thumb through as we visit this holiday season. Floods of childhood memories come rushing back, equally as moving as the present, my lap full of my own three, hanging on to every word, and feeling their contentment with me, with each other, with every turn of the page.
This growing stack of Christmas books is more than just stories of Santa, hymns singing praise for baby Jesus, and pictures of cozy fireplace snuggles and glistening trees. It’s what they’ll remember from these early years when they are enamored with all of the glitz and glitter, the magic of our time together, and time standing still as they pile on top of me to hear about the story of Christ’s birth. Believing in both miracles and magic – unseen, yet unwavering.
- The Night Before Christmas – I snagged this gem up this year because my favorite little book shop in town sold out last year before I could snatch one up! The artful illustrations are such a visual delight, paired with a classic story.
- Jingle Bells – This has been a fun way to teach the well-loved Christmas carol to my toddlers. I could listen to my middle two-year-old repeat the lyrics back to me in her little sing song voice all day long! The contrasty, black-and-white heavy illustrations are appealing to even my four-month-old, and goodness they cannot wait to get to the last page which has a gorgeous pop-up display.
- Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree – This is one you and your kiddos will love equally. I’m such a sucker for the cadence of the rhythmic story and seeing how one Christmas tree can bring such delight to so many.
- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – You know Little Blue is a big hit at our house, and this friendly little guy’s holiday version is just as charming. This year I’m really noticing my kids are pretty enamored with seeing their favorite characters get into the holiday spirit too.
- The Spirit of Christmas – Nancy Tillman sure knows how to make a mama cry. It’s such a sweet reminder that Christmas isn’t about the hustle and bustle, but being together. Melt my heart.
- Room for A Little One – I so appreciate that this book captivates my little ones as they learn about a baby being born in a manger – because sometimes it seems it’s all about the guy in the red hat, instead. And double points for showing that the holidays can bring even the most unlikely together with the spirit of the season.
- Dream Snow – Give me anything Eric Carle! His illustrations always remind me of some of my childhood favorites so I had to snatch up his Christmas book. The snow-piled pages make this book especially interactive as little toddler hands turn each page to reveal friends underneath, plus our version has a special button that plays a sweet, soothing musical treat at the end. Always a hit.
- The Elf on A Shelf– We’ve joined the ranks of other parents barely remembering to move our elf (named Teacup!) every night. I must admit I’ve used Teacup’s power already to serve as a gentle reminder to listen a bit better. It’s our first year having our little friend so we’ve spent lots of time reading and rereading her story, letting it all soak in (to our favor – ha!).