Favorite Christmas Books for Families (including a giveaway)

I hope this doesn’t count as playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  I just want to give you some great ideas so you can get a jump start on the holiday season.  We love to read around here anyway, but come Christmas time, I hit the library and clean them out of nativity-related stories (I know, I’m selfish).  We also own several that we love to read every year.  I keep a basket full of Christmas books by the fireplace, and send my children there anytime I want them to settle down.  We all cuddle on the couch and read stories for a while, and we usually read several stories at bedtime as well.  Here are some of our favorites:  (I got the pictures from Amazon.com)

What is Christmas? by Michele Medlock Adams is a sweet rhyming book that talks about the true meaning of the day.

The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri:  I love this one about how Jesus loves us all just as we are.

The Fourth Wise Man by Susan Summers and Jackie Morris: You might have to tell it in simpler words to the youngest children, but the story and pictures are beautiful.  (Incidentally, I watched the movie “The Fourth Wise Man” at a zone conference on my mission and it fast became a holiday favorite for me.  I really recommend it as a great Christmas movie to watch with your family.)
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson.  This is one of my favorite stories about a mouse whose selfish ways turn around when the real story of Christmas changes his heart. So sweet.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas is by the same author,but this one doesn’t count for the nativity-type.  The rhyming text is just whimsical, the story is cute, and my kids love it.

my very first Christmas Story: a very simple board book that tells the true story of Christmas with cute pictures

The Shepherd Boy’s Story: another cute Christmas story board book that encourages children to tell others about Jesus.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is an excellent read-aloud about some rotten kids from a troubled family who forced their way into roles in the local Christmas play.  Your children will love reading about all their mischievous antics, and I’ll be surprised if you can read about the actual performance without tearing up.  It’s a great story about the goodness in all of us, even where we least expect it.

Okay, so technically this is not a book. Classic Holiday Stories is a Disney DVD.  I like to read my children some kid-friendly version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, or maybe the original text this year. This DVD has the Disney cartoon, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which I think is cute and my boys really liked it last year. It will be fun to watch it again after reading the story.

Finally, I recieved this book as a gift from Jana Parkin (a.k.a. Charette in the blogging world) a few weeks ago.  It is called What Think Ye of Christmas? by Ester Rasband. 

Jana did all the artwork for the book in beautiful watercolor paintings.  It is really a lovely book that explains the Christian message behind all the symbols of Christmas time.  It helps you to find and recognize Christ even amidst a commercial wonderland.  “All things bear record of Him.” It encourages you to live out that Spirit of Christ as you celebrate the holiday.  And Jana’s paintings are so masterful and charming.  We went out to lunch the day she gave me the book as a gift, and after I took it home and read through it, I wished I had kidnapped her to come home with me and paint something beautiful like that on my walls.  Would you like to win a free copy of “What Think Ye of Christmas?” Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for this fantastic Christmas book, courtesy of the artist herself.  For anyone who would like to purchase copies as gifts, you can do so here (you can find a discount code on Jana’s blog).  Drawing will be open through Thanksgiving Day.

Do you have any favorite Christmas books in your family?