This Advent and Christmas the kids and I unwrapped a Christmas book a week, and a book a day during the 12 days of Christmas. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing it again next year, and adding more books I find at garage sales this summer.
I was very relaxed about what constituted a "Christmas book." About 1/3 are about Christ's birth, 1/3 are just fun Santa Claus, Nutcracker or Moral Story books, and 1/3 are about snow. (Does anyone else have an huge collection of "snow" books? Katy and the Big Snow, White Snow, Bright Snow, Snow, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Snowman....)
Our church even gifted the children with an Epiphany book, The Visit of the Wise Men.
Some of our favorites:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's The Christmas Story. Beautiful medieval and renaissance art accompanies King James text from the Gospels. Not a children's book, but the kids love it, because there is so much to look at in the pictures.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck. A tale of a farm boy finding joy in loving his neighbor, his neighbor being his father.
Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury. This book is the first I've read of Jan Brett. Her art is gorgeous and very detailed. There is a wild, northern European pagan feel sometimes to her tales (see The Trouble with Trolls), but nothing offensive.
Babar and Father Christmas. We're big Jean de Brunhoff fans here. How can you not love passages like this?
[The dwarves] all set to immediately. They undress him, and give him a good alcohol rub, working over him energetically with big brushes. The dwarf chemist give him some brandy. Then finally, Babar drinks a fine bowl of hot soup with Father Christmas and thanks him from the bottom of his heart."
Some I'm interested in for next year:
What's your favorite Advent/Christmas/Epiphany book?