When my three kids were younger, every year as the holiday season began I’d buy them a new Christmas book or three, which they could open a few days before Christmas. We would sit together and read the new stories every night through the holidays (and sometimes beyond if a story became a favorite). Later in the year, often by Thanksgiving, we would get the books out again and read the favorites as well as the newest. Over the years, we acquired
an extensive collection of holiday-themed books.
Some favorites were (of course!) Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Tazewell’s The Littlest Angel, Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, Tolkein’s Letters from Father Christmas, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, and my middle son’s absolute all-time favorite, Little Dracula’s Christmas by Martin Waddell. There were so many more. I read The Polar Express and the Grinch, along with Father Christmas and the brilliantly wordless The Snowman by Raymond Briggs so often that I could recite them in my sleep, and probably still could…
“The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.” –Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever:
"But here a small boy says: 'It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman
and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then
we had tea.'
'But that was not the same snow,' I say. 'Our snow was
not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling
out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and
bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses
like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely-ivied the walls and settled
on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of
white, torn Christmas cards.'"
— Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales
My three little guys are big guys now, but whenever I come across a good Christmas
book, I’ll still add to the family collection. Recently they managed to dog-ear a copy of Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel: "Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing…."
What favorite holiday stories hold great memories and have brought more meaning to the magic of Christmastide?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays have passed for this year — now may we all look forward to a Happy New Year, and may 2010 bring you peace and joy, and dreams come true….