I love Christmas stories and in the spirit of this season I wanted to share some of my favorites. These will be much-loved additions to the classics like Dicken's A Christmas Carol and the books previously listed in our Advent readings. Some of the titles are available for free online and I have provided links for those.
The Bird's Christmas Carol, available free online here, is a touching story by Kate Douglas Wiggin. It tells the story of a sickly little girl who choses to focus on the needs of those around her. This story is truly moving and will inspire everyone in your family to turn their focus outward this Christmas.
The Lion in the Box by Marguerite de Angeli may be difficult to locate but if you can find a copy be sure to buy it! It's one you'll want to read each and every Christmas. It's the heartwarming story of a needy family and the love each one has for one another and their willingness to sacrifice.
The Gift of the Magi by O'Henry, illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerger is one of those books that immediately takes me back to my childhood. This is probably my mom's favorite Christmas story and so has been a part of nearly all our Christmas celebrations. The story of generosity and love will bring tears to your eyes in the best possible way. And the illustrations by Zwerger add deeply to the story. I will never be able to separate this story from the gorgeous and emotive work of this talented artist.
Christmas In My Heart Volume 3, edited and compiled by Joe Wheeler is a wonderful collection of holiday stories and one I highly recommend purchasing for your family. Tucked into its pages is Christmas Ballad for the Captain by William J. Lederer. Easily one of the stores I love best, this is sure to become a family favorite. If you are unable to find a copy of Christmas In My Heart, you can read Christmas Ballad for the Captain here.
Henry Van Dyke's The Other Wise Man is a classic and one your family will grow to love. It can be read for free here, and there are many beautifully illustrated editions available for purchase.
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
In the midst of the horrific trenches of World War I, two groups of soldiers chose to embrace the better aspects of their nature and set aside suspicion, prejudice, and nationalistic pride to celebrate Christmas together. While the truce only lasted one evening, I love how it shows the power of our Savior's birth to draw all men unto the one who is the true Prince of Peace.
The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald
A perfect treasury of MacDonald's best-loved holiday stories these will transport you to Dickensian England and your family will fall in love with the interesting and colorful characters. I spent many hours reading these stories as a child. The version pictured above is no longer in print but you should be able to find used copies.
Pedro, The Angel of Olvera Street by Leo Politi
The setting is Olvera Street, the site of Los Angeles' original Latino settlement, which is still preserved very much as it once was - a busy and colorful Melange of small artisan shops, restaurants, and strolling musicians. Pedro tells of the community's Christmas tradition of the "posada", a procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph's pilgrimage to Bethlehem, and of the "pinata", a papier-mache vessel filled with toys that children break open at the Posada's end. Pedro hopes to find a music box among the toys that will spill out of the pinata. But first, he is asked to don the red wings of an angel and lead the procession. Because he not only is costumed like an angel but also sings like one, he is asked to lead the chorus in a traditional Posada song. Music and lyrics for the song are included, and with them children may create their own Posada pageant.
Greener Trees, a blog written by a homeschooling mom, provides a wonderful list of books for the 12 days of Christmas!
The Best Little Christmas Story blog is a compilation of all sorts of holiday poems and stories.
We hope that in the bustle of this season you can take time to read together as a family. I know that the moments spent with the ones I love are those I remember most dearly. What books are part of your family's Christmas tradition? Do you have a story you have to read every year?