By Kristin B. Sizemore
Does it get any better than snuggling in with a blanket and a good book on a cold, winter day? One way to improve upon this scenario is for this cold, winter day to be during the holiday season and for your book of choice to be a Christmas book! If you want to make life even better, if you can stand it, gather your kids and have a few minutes of peaceful Christmas reading together. From Little Golden Books to Novellas to one of the best Novels of all time, here’s my list of what to read this Christmas season!
19. Frosty, the Snowman, by Annie North Bedford
This vintage book still brings joy to both children and adults. Snuggle up and share this classic with your kiddos. You’ll all be on the edge of your seat hoping that this time, Frosty won’t have to go away!
18. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Barbara Shook Hazen, adapted from the story by Robert L. May
The classic tale of Rudolph, the misfit reindeer, is beautifully retold in this Little Golden Book. Illustrations by Richard Scarry are an added bonus!
17. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again, by Robert Lewis May
One year after Rudolph’s heroic debut as Santa’s lead reindeer, we find our little red-nosed friend feeling a little disheartened. The other reindeer are jealous and resentful. Rudolph becomes so despondent that his nose stops glowing! As he wanders away from Santa’s workshop, Rudolph finds a little family of rabbits in need of help. Rudolph puts the needs of others ahead of his own self-pity and, once again, reaches his heroic potential. Even though this sequel to the classic story is not as famous as the original, it’s authored by Rudolph’s creator, Robert Lewis May, and may just end up being your favorite Rudolph tale.
16. Alabaster’s Song, by Max Lucado
In this beautiful story by Max Lucado, we meet Alabaster, the little boy with no front teeth who’s also an angel. After you meet Alabaster and let him bring that special night in Bethlehem to life, you’ll find yourself stopping to listen for his song.
15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss
This classic tale of Dr. Seuss illustrates the power of Christmas cheer. The joy of Christmas is greater than gifts or material things. It can turn a miserable hermit’s life around. It can even increase the size of your heart!
14. The Christmas Pageant, by Elizabeth Winthrop
The Christmas Pageant will transform you into a kid again as you follow little Maggie through her church Christmas play. The story is sweet and nostalgic. If you’ve missed this Little Golden Book, you need to read it to your kids or to yourself today!
13. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
If you’ve never actually read the unabridged version of this classic, you need to do so this Christmas! This beautifully written novella will give you a new insight into Dickens’ classic tale, no matter how many cinematic adaptations you’ve seen.
12. Jingle Bells, by Kathleen N. Daly
If you like the classic Christmas song, you’ll love this book that takes you through it, word by word, adding a story along the way. When you see the red words, it’s time to sing! You’ll meet new characters who won’t soon be forgotten. Esmerelda Ostrich is one of my favorites! With adorable illustrations by J.P. Miller, this book is sure to stir up your Christmas spirit!
11. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, by Gloria Houston
Author Gloria Houston will transport you to Appalachia of yesteryear with this beautiful story. You’ll never forget Ruthie and her sleeves that looked like angel’s wings when she held her arms just so.
10. The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree, by Amye Rosenburg
Poor Nina and Nutley! Santa has never visited them, presumably because the tree in which they live just can’t be identified amidst all the other trees of the forest. Aunt Mim, Mom and Dad Chipmunk, and the other residents of the tree spring into action. Before you know it, Nina and Nutley’s very normal tree becomes the biggest, most beautiful Christmas tree you’ve ever seen!
9. Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham
I’m a huge fan of “Christmas With the Kranks”, which is the film adaptation of this book. However, just because you love the movie, don’t be deterred from reading the book. You’ll love it even more. John Grisham shows us that he is hilarious and will have you laughing out loud. You will literally LOL. I promise.
8. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson
Do not make the mistake of missing this book in favor of the movie! The film adaptation doesn’t hold a light to the book by Barbara Robinson. You’ll laugh as the Herdmans invade the church Christmas pageant. You’ll commiserate with the director and the other cast members as the unruly group of kids threaten to ruin the whole production. Then, you’ll fall in love with the Herdmans, against all odds. There will be tears. Have a box of tissues handy. Trust me.
7. The Tale of Three Trees, A traditional folktale, retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
You will see the Christmas story with fresh eyes as you follow the journey of three trees with big dreams. They learn the important lesson that all our dreams can be realized in Christ.
6. The Christmas Story, by Jane Werner Watson
This book simply retells the Christmas story. Watson’s book was published in 1952. The illustrations by Eloise Wilkin, while beautiful, present the holy family more as Europeans than their historically accurate Hebrew ethnicity. Regardless, it won’t matter much when you turn to the last picture of the book and see the most beautiful, chubby-cheeked holy child holding a little lamb.
5. Cosmic Christmas, by Max Lucado
This novella by Max Lucado will change the way you think of the Christmas story. Written from Gabriel’s perspective, this story will grab you from the start and take you on a cosmic journey.
4. A Certain Small Shepherd, by Rebecca Caudill
Kentucky author Rebecca Caudill tells this sweet story of little Jamie, a little boy growing up without a mother who can’t speak. Have the tissues handy as you travel along with Jamie on his quest to be a shepherd in the Christmas pageant.
3. Two From Galilee, by Marjorie Holmes
This book forever changed the way I would view Mary and Joseph. Holmes captures the humanity of these two biblical figures that seem larger than life but were really just two people, very much in love, doing their best to obey and follow God’s will.
2. Holding Heaven, by Jerry Jenkins
Forget the tissues. You’ll need a beach towel. Once you’ve read this novella, you’ll never be the same. Read it. Today. Jenkins tackles the often neglected viewpoint of Joseph, who chose to love the Son of God as his own, as well as the feeling Jesus must have had towards His earthly father.
1. The Christmas Donkey, by T. William Taylor
I don’t care that I’ve just put a Little Golden Book ahead of authors such as Dickens and Jerry Jenkins and Marjorie Holmes. I don’t care that this story is a mere 24 pages long. I don’t care if it doesn’t go down in the annuls of notable literature. Madrick, the Christmas donkey, has been my friend for over 30 years and this is my very favorite Christmas book. You’ll love this sweet tale of a loyal and true donkey that loves Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus with all his heart.