Holiday Book Ideas, Part One

My family started a new tradition last year for the holidays.  Every year, we will buy a brand-new, hardcover holiday book and give it to the kids on Christmas Eve to read that night.  This is great for many reasons. Cheap-o Mom and Dad actually shelled out enough dough for an ACTUAL hardcover, we read together as a family, and the book then can be added to our holiday book bin for next year.  I thought that I would share with you a couple of ideas for different holiday books that you could read with your family or buy as gifts.  There are so many to choose from, so I have broken this post into different parts-Enjoy!

Here are some of the criteria that I look for in Holiday Books.

  • I love the Holiday season!  It is such a special time of the year. Therefore, I think that holiday picture books, in particular, need to be extra special.  I love beautiful and creative books that can be marveled, while in snuggling position in front of a crackling fire (Just so you know, I am well aware of how cheesy this sounds, but don’t care!)
  • I also like feel-good books! It is the holiday season after all!  I love underdogs and heroes and sharing and caring and all that jazz.  I love books about the importance of family, giving to others, and other important life lessons.
  • I like holiday books to hold some sense of tradition.  Now, don’t get me wrong, some aspects can be changed, but it can’t get too crazy
  • I am not a huge fan of “character” Christmas books.  Let me clarify….I may love, love, love, a character, such as Alf (don’t laugh), but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to love his book.  It still needs to impress me the same as any other book.


The first book is entitled “Oh What a Christmas!” by Michael Garland and it is pretty much everything I look for in a good holiday read.   The cover, book, and end pages feature large, vivid, cartoon-y illustrations of elves, animals, and Santa.  I know obviously end pages aren’t the most important part of the book, but so many books skip this step, so I wanted to show my appreciation.  The story starts with Santa on his way to hand out presents on his sleigh with his reindeer.  After a mishap, Santa ends up landing his sleigh in a barn without his reindeer.  Who will help Santa deliver his gifts now???  This book is really cute and has a lot of sound words that will be really fun to read with the kids.  It also features some animal heroes that save the day!  This book is recommended for a fun, beautiful, holiday read.


The next book is the book that we bought last year.  It is entitled “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and paintings (yes, paintings) by Eric Puybaret.  This book fits most of my criteria and more.  It tells the traditional story that I am used to of the night before Christmas, however, the paintings are completely modernized in a very interesting way.  At first, I thought that it may be too dark for my liking, but upon further investigation, I fell in love.  I mean the reindeer are so fashionable with their little top hats and green and yellow cloaks!  I think that you could read this book several times and discover something else new and beautiful that you never noticed before.  This book is also special in another way in that it comes with a CD performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary reading the story and other songs.  This book is recommended for a modern twist on a very traditional story, plus the musical narrative is fun.


I already mentioned this book here, however, I think that it is worth repeating.  This is a beautiful book and would make a great gift.  It shares the story of The Nutcracker that I am familiar with.  There are a few different versions.  I think that the soft-illustrations capture the magic of the story through its attention to detail and changing the point of view of the audience.  I love the side cut out views of the mansion where you can look into all of the different rooms of the house, not just the ones involved in the story.   I highly recommend this book to teach the beauty-and-the-beast-type story of The Nutcracker.

I wanted to mention that part of our new holiday tradition is to buy the next years’ book just after Christmas.  This is nice for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it is WAY cheaper.  We bought the “Oh what a Christmas” book for over half-off at Barnes and Noble.  Second, it seems that no matter what, we are so crazy busy during this time.  It is nice already having this done.  We don’t have to rush the decision.  Happy Holidays!

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