My Favorite Christmas Books

I just discovered that I’m not a Christmas book reader.  I got excited about writing a post for you about some of my favorite Christmas books, and then I realized that I didn’t have many.  I haven’t even read very many!  So, here are those I have come up with as “favorites,” but they honestly represent 90 percent of the Christmas books I’ve ever read.  So, I’ll need your help adding to this list.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983) by Barbara Robinson

best christmas pageant ever cover

I was reminded of this book just a few days ago, when I received a delightful package in the mail containing this book.  It was from one of the women I had interviewed as part of my blog research.  Her name is Aleisha, and I can’t even describe to you how wonderful she is.  She is the most kind, caring, loving, enthusiastic, and fun person I have ever met.  She has a blog called She Calls Me Mama Leisha, and she graciously allowed me to interview her about that blog for my research.  And then, after that, she sent me a copy of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever JUST TO BE NICE.  How much nicer can you get?  Not much.  So, thanks Aleisha for the fantastic package and lovely surprise.

This book really focuses on the true meaning of Christmas, which is to be Christlike and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  It brings tears to my eyes each time I read it.  I can’t wait to read this one to my daughters.

Skipping Christmas (2001) by John Grisham

skipping christmas cover

I’m not a huge John Grisham fan.  I have more literary tastes when it comes to reading, but I do like his type of storytelling in movies.  As to this book, it is a nice departure for Grisham and provided me with some lighthearted reading when I needed it.  I don’t remember the entire story, but I do remember the main character falling while hanging up lights.  That chore is a familiar (and dreaded) part of the holidays for many people.  Although I would like lights up on our house every single year, our record has been every other year.  It’s hard to convince my husband to get up on the roof and hang lights in freezing, icy temperatures.  I can hardly blame his reluctance.  So, this year, the lights from our Christmas tree shining through the window on our front door is going to have to be enough.

The Books of Matthew and Luke from The Holy Bible

Bible matthew

For me, as a Christian, it isn’t Christmas unless I acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ.  I mean, that’s what the holiday is for, right?  The other day in church, I reviewed the birth story of Christ in The Bible as I sat quietly.  I think my favorite account is from Luke, in which the birth of Christ is preceded by Mary’s visit to her cousin Elisabeth, whose baby leaped in her womb upon Mary’s arrival.  I don’t know why, but that is always touching to me.  Perhaps the idea that Elisabeth had waited so long for a son is what touches me, and the fact that her young cousin, a virgin (no less), turns up pregnant as well and yet she’s gracious and kind and loving is what touches me.

I had fertility problems before having my second child.  It took two years before I could say that I was expecting another.  When that happened, many of my neighbors and friends (more than 12 of them) were also expecting babies.  I privately told my husband that I was a little bit disappointed, for I kind of wanted to feel as if I were the “special” one who was having a baby.  Why did everybody else need to be having babies at the same time?  He wisely responded, “Just think how you would feel if you were the only one who wasn’t pregnant?”  I changed my attitude right then and there, and honestly, it’s been nice having so many playmates for my little Daphne.

Now the interesting thing about the account of Christ’s birth from Matthew is that the chapter, chapter 1, begins with a genealogy.  Matthew lists the family history of Jesus and then gets down to Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus.  I like the emphasis on family lines and the fact that Christ has royal lineage.

I don’t have any royal lineage, but to me, my ancestors are magnificent people.  I have a love for them and for searching out my history, which you can read about here.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) Dr. Seuss

how the grinch stole christmas

My little Daphne has been wanting to read this before bed each night.  It’s heartwarming, silly, and ultimately about the true meaning of Christmas as well.  I can’t help getting choked up when after the Grinch steals all of the “stuff” and expects to hear sorrow, he instead hears singing.  It reminds me that Christmas isn’t about stuff, but about love.

Sadly, that’s that end of my list (and represents nearly all of the Christmas books I’ve ever read).  Pathetic, I know.  I do want to read A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens, but it has been so popularized and widely performed and retold that I hesitate to read it just because I already know the story.  I like reading books that will surprise me.  I don’t like knowing the beginning from the end.  Perhaps I should make it a goal to read A Christmas Carol during the holidays next year.

What are your favorite Christmas books?

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25 thoughts on “My Favorite Christmas Books

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  1. How about the Nutcracker? And one of my most fave Christmas books ever “Lamb: The Gospel According to Bif, God’s Childhood Pal.” I don’t think it’s meant to be a Christmas Book, but since Jesus plays a main character, it feels like it is. It’s also hilarious but I can see how it might offend some people.

  2. I love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! It’s been a favorite since I was old enough to read and understand it.

    An interesting read (and companion book to A Christmas Carol) is Jacob T. Marley. I can’t remember the author right now (and I loaned my copy to a friend), but it was published last year. You learn more about Marley and see A Christmas Carol from his perspective. It’s well written, and the author does a fantastic job of writing in Dickens’ style.

    Another book I always need to read around Christmas is The Forgotten Carols. I love the story of how Nurse Constance Louise Chamberlain’s heart and mind are opened and healed through getting to know her patient ‘Uncle’ John Christian. There’s a surprise ending that I don’t want to spoil, so just know that if you read this book be prepared with tissues. The play (which should still be available on DVD) is also fantastic, and completely worth watching (again, make sure you have tissues)!

    1. Jacob T. Marley sounds great! I have actually seen The Forgotten Carols in person as a teenager. Very nice play, lovely music, and I am always touched by Michael McLean’s many talents. I haven’t read it though!

  3. Emily, first and foremost, Merry Christmas. My favorite Christmas book I must confess is a Little Golden Book we have for the kids which has beautiful pictures around “The Night before Christmas” poem. It used to be a tradition when the kids were smaller to read that book on Christmas Eve. Take care and as the red dressed elf would say “happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.” BTG

    1. That is a fantastic one! Did you hear the recent controversy about it? I guess somebody republished it without Santa smoking a pipe and took out the lines from the poem about smoking.

  4. I just want to say that I used to feel that way about “A Christmas Carol” too, until I read it. I have always been particularly fond of Dickens and so one year I decided to read it. It is so much more charming and moving than any rendition of it I have read or seen. I highly recommend it. Barnes and Noble used to sell a leather bound beautiful copy of all of Dickens Christmas tales, but sadly I never got it and have never read any of the other tales. But if they’re as good as “A Christmas Carol” then I am missing out. Sometimes things are overdone or turned into cliches for a reason!

    1. So true. I think on that recommendation, I will give it a go with enthusiasm. And, I HAVE that B&N copy of it bound with other Christmas tales as well. There’s just no excuse not to read it anymore. 🙂

  5. I am so glad you wrote about The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I was trying to remember the name the other day when talking to my friend. We’re both from Canada, living in the UK, and had both read it in elementary school but couldn’t remember the title. I wanted to get it for Holly for this year but couldn’t track a copy down, oddly, in the UK. I will get my skates on for next year as I remember loving it! Holly and I have been looking at a few Xmas books on our blog and I think ones that resonated well with her include Richard Scarry’s Night Before the Night Before Christmas (we love his zany stories) and also The Grinch. She hated a book I got out the library for us called Christmas with Rita and Whatsis. It’s odd as I loved it because it was quirky but she had quite a violent reaction to it. Just goes to show how books for children can be hits with adults and misses with kids and vice versa, and also makes you question who they were written for…

    1. Ha! That’s funny. I sometimes wonder for whom and why some children’s books were written. I’ll have to look at Richard Scarry’s. His stuff is always great. Let me know how Holly reacts to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It’s such a great book.

  6. Thanks for the great post! I, too, loved the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. My dad was a minister, so we were all very familiar with the church politics that sometimes blinded people to truth and beauty. The story does a wonderful job of cutting through those politics to show that real meaning is often found in the most unexpected of places. I loved it as a little girl and I love it still.

    And I agree with another commenter that A Christmas Carol is definitely worth reading. Knowing the story on screen will probably only enhance your appreciation for how well Dickens tells it on paper. The Internet Archive should have a copy, which you can access through the link on my blog to The Cricket on the Hearth.

    1. I love what you said about finding the meaning in unexpected places. I think that is how we learn a lot of life’s lessons. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am planning on reading A Christmas Carol now. I love the encouragement I get from everybody here!

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