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3 Children’s Christmas Books That YOU Will Actually Enjoy Reading

Less than four weeks to go--let's make some new traditions together.

by
Rhonda Robinson

Bio

December 2, 2013 - 11:00 am
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polished

My fingernails still carry splashes of color.

The nail polish, once so meticulously applied by six-year-old Pearl, is now worn and chipped. I hope the memory stays as vivid as this awful color. Note to self: Before agreeing to a free manicure always have plenty of nail polish remover on hand.

When I finally do get around to scrubbing the polish off, it will be the last physical reminders of our dress-up tea party and our short time together.

Pearl requested, immediately upon arrival, that we have a tea party. Although she was only three at the time, apparently we had one the last time she came for a visit, which she remembers astonishingly well. So we spent a few hours painting nails, rolling hair and trying on gowns and dresses.

Yes gowns– little girl tea parties are a formal affair, in case you didn’t know.

Without realizing it I created a tradition. Apparently, in my granddaughter’s mind, going to my house is synonymous with going to a tea party. Traditions can crop up without realizing it when you’re dealing with children. The kid that can’t remember to brush his teeth every night will remember that hot chocolate you made three years ago. Moms may hate that, but that really works in grandparents’ favor.

This week I was reminded of a tradition that I started when my children were young, then, somewhere along the way I lost it. It was really just as much for me, as it was for the children.

Every year (at least for several years) I would hunt down the best Children’s Christmas book I could find. It had to have a great story, and even better artwork. Not your usual Santa stuff. I always found something that I enjoyed reading as much as the kids loved listening to. The idea was to collect these treasures over the years. Then, when my children are grown I would have a wonderful collection of Christmas stories to pull out each year and share with the grandchildren.

Somewhere along the line, I dropped the ball. All but a few books are left. So this year, I’m starting over.

So, I thought I would share a few of my old favorites.

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All Comments   (4)
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In my family, our reading and viewing fare have shifted somewhat over the years (as we grew older and more cynical), but we've found a few real gems for Christmas among all the tedious enforced cheer of this season.

1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss:
The message of this tale still rings true, and it's still a classic by any standard. The animation is good and even the live-action flick is passable, but nothing beats the sheer genius of the original book.

2. "Night of the Meek" from the original Twilight Zone series:
Cold, hard reality meets wish-fulfilling fantasy in this tale of a hard-drinking put-upon mall Santa who finally gets his Christmas wish in the strangest way, told as only Rod Serling can tell it. While the 1980s Twilight Zone revival also had an excellent version of this story, again nothing beats the original.

3. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians:
Going to the opposite end of the scale, this movie is so bad that with or without the Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary, it's hilarious! Obviously, "so bad it's funny" is a bit of an acquired taste, but such should be easy enough for any natural-born cynics in your family to acquire.

4. The Nativity Story:
Available in books, on film, and in live performances at almost every church in your area in some form or other. Quality is likely to vary from one adaptation to the next, of course, but Catherine Hardwicke's movie is rather well done and worth the viewing.

5. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis:
Technically, it's not strictly a Christmas story, even though Christmas does play a significant role in it, but that means it's a great book for any season (and an excellent way to introduce your kids to the rest of the series as well). The more recent movie adaptation of it is also an excellent piece to watch for Christmas, especially if you've had a rough time shopping and need some of the catharsis that comes with watching an accursed long-lasting Winter finally come to an end and two armies hammering away at each other.

6. The First Christmas by Paul L. Maier:
When you've had your fill of Christmas fiction and mythology, you can read this excellent scholarly compilation dealing with nearly everything known, surmised, considered probable, or dismissed as purely speculative about the real Christmas story. As Maier points out repeatedly, for all the gaps in the record the Nativity was indeed a historical event with far-reaching consequences, though it has been rather heavily embellished over the millennia since. All this reconstruction of events and background to the well-known and yet unfamiliar true story of the first Christmas he manages to pack into a book any teen or preteen with a reasonable attention span can read in one sitting. I definitely recommend it for any family's library.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think we may have to try "Night of the Meek" I think Twilight Zone is on Prime or Netflix, I'll look it up. Thank you.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
My father read to us every night, but he had a special roster at Christmas. When very young, he read us "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter. A charming story with a very good message and a wonderful vocabulary. When we got a bit older, he read us "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, which should be part of every child's upbringing. Perhaps my favorite, however, was "The Dragon of Wantley" by Owen Wister. Almost forgotten now, this wonderful story (by the author of The Virginian) captivated my young imagination. It is silly and clever and suspenseful and the illustrations are charming. A bit hard to find (it was published in 1892, after all), but Amazon now carries affordable reprints. Just make sure you get an illustrated version, or you are missing half the fun.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you! I found "The Tailor of Gloucester" http://www.amazon.com/The-Tailor-Gloucester-Beatrix-Potter/dp/0723247722/pjmedia-20

And an illustrated version of "The Dragon of Wantley" http://www.amazon.com/Wantley-voracity-downfall-illustrations-Stewardson/dp/1179778162/pjmedia-20

I think I just might grab these to kick off my new/old tradition. Thank you, again.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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