I've written about all my advance planning before. You can find the posts at Advance Planning - Get a Cup of Tea, This is the Long Version and Advance Planning - The Short Version.
But looking at my friend Mary's post yesterday at Owl Haven, made me realize something. (She is still a virtual friend, but I would love to meet her in person some day.) Yesterday she wrote about Christmas books that her family has enjoyed over the years. While we do our Christmas book tradition in a slightly different way, we have a lot of Christmas books and I've never written about them. I'm not sure how I let such a oversight happen.
Our tradition is to bring out all of our Christmas books out at the beginning of Advent. We have a lot. Picture books, chapter books, anthologies, crafts... We have so many, I make it a point to return the library books and just have our Christmas books out in December. I need the shelf space, plus it would become completely unmanageable to have that many books around. On Christmas Eve there is always a new Christmas book waiting for everyone when we return from church.
So with thanks to Mary for a blog post topic (and apologies for completely and totally stealing it... go read her post as well, it will make me feel better), here are some of our very favorite Christmas books. (And a brief reminder that these are sponsored Amazon links which, if you purchase through them, give a little bit back to this blog. I think I'm required to mention that every so often.) They are in no particular order.
The first is Wombat Divine by Mem Fox. Our family is heavily involved in our church's Christmas pageant every year, so we have a particular affinity for such things. Wombat wants to be in the Christmas play, but can't find a part that works for him. It is sweet and charming and features Australian animals which is always fun.
Next, since I'm thinking about Christmas pageants comes The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I'm sure many of you know about this book, but in case you have missed it, it is a short chapter book about what at first, seems to be the world's worst Christmas pageant populated by the world's worst children. You can laugh because you are not the director. I read this out loud nearly every year and every year finds me in tears at the end. Not only does it tell the Christmas story, but also shows what the overwhelming love of Jesus can do.
(The picture link doesn't work well and just sent you to the Amazon home page, so I'm taking it out and linking the title above.)
On Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck is another beautiful book that everyone loves. It tells the story of a boy who is overcome with how much he loves his father and wants to do something special for him at Christmas. He doesn't have a lot of money and decides that he will get up extra early and do all the farm chores by himself as a surprise. We watch and the boy plans and executes his plan and the excitement and joy he has in offering this gift. It is a sweet and quiet story about familial love and the joy of gift giving.
This last one is just for fun and I won't even pretend it is a really good book, but it is G. and L.'s current favorite, and if truth be told, I bought it because when I was their age, it was my favorite Christmas book as well. It's The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher by Robert Kraus. I bet you can guess the plot. It's Christmas cookie baking day and to everyone's dismay, all the Christmas cookie sprinkles have been stolen. One brave little boy goes in search of the Snitch, which isn't hard because he leaves a vast trail of sprinkles behind him. (I actually think this trail of sprinkles is what causes every five year old on the planet to fall in the love the book.) But don't worry, all is well at the end and the cookies end up appropriately decorated. The verse is bad and has ear worm tendencies, but your littles will love it.
In my continuing effort to keep my readers unbalanced and never sure what to expect, I am now going to jump to something completely different. I have mentioned that I have a new (paid!) writing gig as a staff writer at Adoption.com. My first article is now up and I'd appreciate it if you were to click through to read it and share it if you like it. My bank account thanks you. Should My Child Forget They are Adopted? The Adoption Ethics of Forgetting.