One of the ways we celebrate this season is by reading aloud Christmas stories to our children. Here is a list of our favorites:
- Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
- Four Friends at Christmas by Tomie dePaola
- Old Befana by Tomie dePaola
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
- Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett
- Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett
- The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden and Barbara Cooney
These books work well for the preschool and young elementary reading level. The Story of Holly and Ivy is the most challenging of all of them—I would say it is best for ages 6+, and though it is not a chapter book, it may as well be with its length. It is a beautiful story that I could not read without crying!
Elanor’s favorite at age 2 last year was Christmas in the Barn. David really liked the troll and Grinch stories.
Some of these books are centered on the Nativity, a few on Santa Claus, and some are about people celebrating Christmas together (usually with the themes of friendship, generosity, and community). All of them are great stories.
Another Christmas tradition we have is to do a Jesse Tree reading with our kids. The name comes from the Bible verse: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
The idea is that you read one Bible story a day, beginning today, November 30th (or some start on December 1st) and ending on Christmas day with the Christmas story. The Bible stories span the entire Bible, beginning with Creation, and for each story, the kids cut out a paper ornament and hang it on the Christmas tree or wherever you want to collect the Jesse ornaments. (One year David taped the ornaments to a poster board cut-out tree on the wall.)
We love it because it gives us a family devotional we can do during December, that encompasses the themes of the entire Bible and helps put Christmas in context. Here are the links for the Jesse tree reading we use (age appropriate for preschool and young elementary grades):
There are other more advanced Jesse Tree devotionals out there for families with older kids.
I’m so excited to be jumping into the Christmas season again!