Our family loves books, and years ago I stumbled upon the idea to wrap up holiday books before the start of advent, and mark the countdown to Christmas by opening up a book each day. We've done this several years now, and it's a tradition that both of my girls love - as soon as they awake in the morning, they are making their selection for the day and tearing into it.
There are some books that I know are only in our home temporarily (especially board books, which will age out as my youngest develops a longer attention span), but I thought it would be fun to share what is currently in our collection. Please feel free to contribute suggestions; there are several titles on my wishlist, and each year I try to add at least one new book to the rotation.
If you are interested in starting your own tradition but don't have many Christmas books on hand and are intimidated by the cost of buying dozens of books, I recommend you collect all year, keeping an eye out at garage sales and library sales (my library is kind enough to have a holiday section, which I go straight to each year). Then I enhance my collection via Amazon (the Amazon links here are affiliate links, meaning that should you make any purchase via these links, Amazon will give me a small percentage, at no additional cost to you).
As our pile is pretty diverse, I'm going to do this in installments. This first (and largest) installment focuses on the general interest Christmas books. Then I show you our winter-themed books, our nativity books, and our board books.
Also, one suggestion (that I have yet to implement myself): when you're packing away the books for the year, I suggest taking the time to wrap them then, so you're not rushing yourself once Advent rolls around again (one year I was wrapping some books every few days, as I didn't have enough time to do them all before we began). Otherwise, I'm hoping to sew reusable bags to easily insert them in, so as to save time and eliminate the wrapping paper waste.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Bear Snores On), but they aren't (yet) in our home library.
It's well known that bears hibernate through the winter, so this story shows how hard the bear fights his desire to sleep so that he can celebrate the holiday with his friends.
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenberg
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Pop-Up Edition by Charles M. Schulz
A Christmas Carol illustrated by Joe Boddy
The Christmas Crocodile by Bonny Becker
A crocodile is delivered as a gift to the family, and they're coming to terms with him eating everything in sight. At the end, there is regret when they learn the gift was delivered to them by mistake. The illustrations are charming, the family members are distinct in their personalities and reactions, and it's just a fun story overall.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
The Christmas Tree That Grew by Phyllis Krasilovsky
An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola
This is a harder book to come across compared to some of dePaola's other work, but it has his characteristic illustrations and can be a good conversation starter about how (and why) various traditions came to be.
Find the Nutcracker in His Christmas Ballet
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss
Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black and Rosalind Beardshaw
The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
There's a beautiful line when Lucida is anxious about attending the Christmas service since she has no gift to offer after her mother becomes ill and cannot finish her woven blanket that was to cover Jesus in the annual procession. An older woman tells her, "Any gift is beautiful because it is given." In this spirit, Lucida gather up tall green weeds nearby, and a transformation happens.
Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
Merry Christmas, Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey
Merry Christmas, Everybody!
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fame. It's a numerical book, detailing all of the ornaments Mouse is using to decorate his tree.
The Merry Christmas Mystery by Betty Birney
Mickey's Christmas Carol: A Little Golden Book
The Mole Family's Christmas by Russell Hoban
Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Muppet Christmas Carol movie is actually one I didn't see until having children (my husband was the one who was familiar with it growing up), but now it's in regular rotation during the Christmas season and I really enjoy it.
The Muppets: The Gift of the Magi
Noel by Romeo Muller
Not Enough Beds! A Christmas Alphabet Book by Lisa Bullard
The Nutcracker based on the classic story by E.T.A. Hoffmann
It's an interesting read, but if you're looking for an account that will more closely match the ballet, check out something like this Little Golden Book, which we also have. This retelling of the story closely matches the popular ballet. I love the music and the dancing and have been waiting patiently until my oldest daughter was old enough to enjoy the production, and this was the year. After I bought the tickets, I pulled out these two books and we read them both so she would have the story fresh in mind. Just as I'd hoped, she was on the edge of her seat.
The Perfect Christmas Tree by Rita Walsh
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a Little Golden Book
One thing we sometimes do, after opening a book that also has a movie, is make a point to watch the corresponding show that night (easy to do for something like the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, but the movie-length ones usually have to wait for the nearest weekend, what with our oldest in school).