The hustle and bustle is quieting down, muffled by heavy snowflakes falling softly all around. Lights twinkle and eyes sparkle. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
A tradition in our home during the holidays is to cozy up on the couch with some hot chocolate and our favorite Christmas books! We’ve collected a few over the years…each one inspiring us with touching stories or beautiful imagery.
There’s nothing quite so breathtaking as a wintery wonderland staring at us through the living room window, and kids on our laps filled with anticipation for the next story!
Come step inside our home and enjoy a few of our family favorites with us!
“The Boy Who Moved Christmas” by Eric Walters
This book is an extra special one for us, as we were able to actually be part of this experience in our local town of St. George, Ontario. It follows the journey of Evan, a young boy who battled cancer courageously for years, but has just been given a devastating prognosis that he most likely would not live to see Christmas. The book doesn’t focus on Evan's cancer though - rather the author chooses to shine a light on how much a small town loved him and how he impacted lives across the world with his courage and joy!
The town of St. George rallied around Evan and his family by celebrating Christmas early for him. It was only mid October, but the townspeople decked out their homes with Christmas lights and decorations, and the local fire hall organized a huge Christmas parade for Evan.
I remember personally being on the street across from Evan’s home with my own kids, surrounded by fluffy fakes of snow, colored lights and tinkling Christmas songs. We watched Evan’s joy as he was lifted up into Santa's sleigh, wrapped with loving cheers that erupted from all of his fans crowded on the sidewalks. It was a moving moment, and the beauty of the St. George community surrounding this family in a special way was unforgettable.
“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” by Susan Wojciechowski
Be prepared to get choked up when you read this story to your kids! A real mixture of sadness and hope… follow along as a little boy who has lost his father ends up meeting a grumpy woodcarver. While the woodcarver teaches him about whittling and carving, it’s the boy who ends up teaching the grumpy woodcarver something truly beautiful. The pages are full of childlike wonder and joy, and the illustrations are rich with emotion, color and detail. Every year, I can hardly get through it without choking up and wiping away a few tears.
“Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury”
This is a gorgeous, hardcover book full of short stories and tales of adventure. Follow Treva and her faithful dog, Tuffi, as they explore her countryside and get into trouble with some greedy trolls! Or watch countryside animals try to squeeze into a lost woollen mitten with hilarious consequences!
What's especially exciting for my kids about these stories is that they are full of curious mischief and creative problem solving. Our kids’ favorite short story in the collection is titled “Trouble with Trolls”!
“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
This classic is a little over the heads of our kids and the language is quite advanced. I tend to adjust some of the language in certain areas so it is a bit more understandable for them. But the overall story is so fun and shows the power of love and sacrifice for others. At the end of the story, I usually summarize the main concept again in my own words for the kids so that they grasp the key plot. The irony of the main characters' choices always make my kids smile!
“The Legend of the Christmas Stocking” by Rick Osborne
Our kids love this book and all its bright and exciting imagery! Peter’s father is away at sea and throughout that time he has been selling newspapers to support his family. He saves a small bit of his pay each week for a special model schooner that he has admired in the woodworker’s shop window.
My kids love dreaming along with Peter about the special boat he longs to buy. However, half-way through the story, Peter learns about the meaning behind Christmas stockings and true generosity, and he decides to use his earnings in other special ways, leaving his dream of the woodworker’s boat behind...until a few special surprises pop up at the end of the story that leave Peter breathless :)!
Whatever your favorite family traditions are during this holiday season, we hope you linger on them even more this year. 2020 has been a time full of uncertainty and upheaval for so many of you, and we hope that this Christmas season you will find hope and joy in the birth of Jesus Christ and also find time to cherish special and simple moments with those you love!
From all of us and our families, have a blessed Christmas!
- the girls