Thursday, December 23, 2010

favorite christmas stories for children

As we get close to Christmas, we hope you are all enjoying time with family (instead of madly sewing and crafting like we know some of you are!). Our friend Jennifer shares her favorite Christmas books for kids that she and her family have enjoyed over the years. We hope you'll enjoy them too, and maybe start your own Christmas book tradition!

Christmas at our House – Family Story Night

When our girls were growing up, one of our family traditions was to read a Christmas story each night before bed. It took me many years of buying one or two books each year before we had enough stories to read one every night in December. Each year as I shopped for the special book, I tried to pick something very special – the illustrations might be wonderful or the story was especially touching. When the girls were very little I wrapped each book and they took turns choosing one. The story was a surprise. As the years went on the wrapping fell by the wayside because it became a chore, but we read stories together every year until the girls left home.

Let me introduce you to just a couple of our very favorite Christmas stories.

Hoshmakaka, a camel, is the star of the book “The Last Straw” by Fredrick H. Thury. Hoshmakaka is an cranky older camel who complains about his gout and sciatica when he is asked to carry a load. He ends up carrying all the wisemen’s gifts to the Christ child. After adding more and more gifts during his journey, a small child gives him a piece of straw for the the Christ child’s bed. – This piece of straw ends up being the last straw for
Hoshmakaka and he falls to his knees in front of the Christ child. My children loved the illustrations and seeing Hoshmakaka loaded down with so many gifts. They also loved that he complained about his gout and sciatica, so much so that “my gout, my sciatica” became a code phrase in our family for being near our limit. Hoshmakaka, the grumpy camel, has to be
one of our family’s favorite Christmas characters.

Another family favorite is “Don’t Forget Me Santa Claus” by Virginia
Mayo. This delightful book has no words, only illustrations, so the story
changed every year depending on who was reading it. The storyline is
about a darling baby in red striped pajamas who is determined to get Santa’s
attention after having his Christmas stocking overlooked by the Jolly Old
Elf. The baby has darling expressions, particularly when he is letting Santa
know how he feels about being forgotten. In our family when Dad read the
story it was hilarious, with all the kids chiming in when he said “don’t forget
me Santa Claus”.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas is the title of this Toot and Puddle book by
Holly Hobby. Toot and Puddle are two dear piggy friends. Puddle likes to
stay at home and Toot likes to travel the world. When Toot promises to be
home in time for Christmas, Puddle starts getting everything ready at home
for a wonderful celebration. Toot has travel trouble and Puddle wonders if
he will ever make it, but in the end the two friends are together at Christmas.
Watching Puddle work so hard to make everything just so for Toot’s arrival
reminds me of how hard my mom worked to make Christmas a magical
time of the year. When my kids left home it was my turn to make sure
that Christmas at our house had all the magic that they girls remembered
from when they were growing up. Reading this book reminds me of how
much we all love each other and how hard we work to please our family at
Christmas time.

This list hardly scratches the surface of the many delightful Christmas books that we have enjoyed over the years. Everyone in the family has a different favorite. After the kids left home, I thought about dividing the books up among the girls, but this year I have read to a daughter in Germany and grandchildren in Oklahoma over the webcam. I won’t have to give away my collection. I can read with my family, wherever they are, for years to come.

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9 Responses to “favorite christmas stories for children”

Corrie said...

beautiful books and beautiful memories. Lovely.

Craftcherry said...

Great list! I know it's a bit obvious, but my favorite has always been The Night Before Christmas. My mother reads it (even now) EVERY Christmas Eve. She even sings parts of it. :o)

Beth said...

I especially enjoyed this post! What a great tradition to have maintained year after year--instilling a love of reading and spending quality time together! I hope to do the same when I have children of my own. Happy Holidays!

-Susan- said...

First of all I have to tell you how much I LOVE your blog. I really appreciate all the time you put into it and your great ideas. My daughter has a 10 month old and she is starting this same tradition with her son. I will pass along this posting so she can see your favorite books. Thanks again...Merry Christmas!

Debbie said...

what an awesome holiday tradition!

Kara said...

We have this same tradition, so I am always on the lookout for great Christmas books. Thanks for sharing these!! :)

Lizzy said...

That's awesome! I start Christmas stories with my kids right after Thanksgiving every night at bedtime. My daughter gets stuck on one and will want it over and over again! I want to build up our library a little more too--there are some beautiful looking books in your collection. Thanks for sharing!

Mika said...

This is such a special tradition. Lovely ;)

fortbrownie said...

I love, love, love, this idea! You mention three books...could you list more.

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