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Some Traditional Holiday Books

by Miriam Downey 4. December 2012 18:07


Every family has holiday traditions that they cherish and become so important that children feel that the holidays aren't complete until the traditional activity happens. When I was a little girl, my grandfather would read the story The Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke on Christmas Eve. My grandpa was a preacher, and sometimes he would also read the story at church on Three Kings Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas. Other families I know read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible on Christmas Eve. Other families read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Some families sing around the piano, or bake special cookies, or watch a favorite holiday movie together.

I learned again how important those traditions are to children a couple of years ago. Our large family had decided that instead of exchanging gifts, we would have a scavenger hunt at the local dollar stores and buy supplies for an area homeless mission. After the scavenger hunt, each person made a Cornish pasty for supper, an upper Midwest delicacy. I was helping my 8-year-old granddaughter make her pasty when she looked up at me with shining eyes, and said: "Oh, Grandma! Let's do this every year." And a new tradition was born.

I have included in this book list, classic books that are available online for your holiday reading pleasure. Some of these books may become holiday traditions for you. All of these links worked as I was writing this article. I assume that they will work for you as well. Remember that the only books that are available free online are books whose copyrights have expired.


Picture Books

The 12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora. The classic song with a witty twist.

No Room in the Inn by Jean Malone. The story of the first Christmas. Easy Reader.

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. The classic poem.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney.  Llama Llama doesn't like waiting for Christmas.

A Christmas Journey by Hans Wilhelm. Two little mice witness the birth of Christ.

Chapter Books

Christ Legends by Selma Lagerlof. Stories of Jesus from many cultures.

The Bird's Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin. A Victorian family Christmas story.

This way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer. Separated from his family, a little boy discovers a way to celebrate Christmas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The beloved story about the Christmas spirit.

Christmas in Legend and Story by Elva S. Smith. A collection of traditional Christmas stories.

The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. A Christmas legend.

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