Christmas Book Basket
Every year, one of our favorite Christmas traditions is pulling our favorite Christmas-themed books off the book shelf and placing them in our special basket. When my son was younger, I wrapped each book and we made a huge deal of unwrapping a book every day to read together.
He’s older now and the unwrapping doesn’t excite him as much as it used to, but he still loves pulling all of those precious picture books off the shelf to read.
I thought I would share our favorites with you today. They are timeless, meaningful, beautifully-illustrated books which share a message important to remember every day, not just at Christmas-time. I hope you enjoy these books and if you have some wonderful favorites I haven’t mentioned, please leave a comment below, so we can read your favorites, too!
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski – Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming – After World War II there is little left in Katje’s town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom “thick and bright,” Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje’s street to deliver a mysterious box – a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What’s inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks – beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.
Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers – This illustrated gift book for all ages tells the classic story of the “Christmas Oranges,” in which a young orphan girl named Rose discovers the spirit of generosity that lies at the heart of the holiday. When Rose is eight years old, an epidemic forces the closing of her beloved Greenwoods Orphanage, and she is shipped to Irongates, an austere, loveless institution run with Dickensian cruelty. Headmaster Crampton punishes Rose severely for a tiny infraction, decreeing that she miss the special treat of an orange on Christmas morning. How the other children circumvent his instructions to safeguard a glorious Christmas for Rose is the sweet message of this story.
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt – Once upon a mountaintop, three trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. Each of their dreams come true in the most unexpected of ways.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walberg – One dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams. Now will she share what she has learned?
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry –
That was the trouble. The tree was so tall, it couldn’t stand up straight in his parlor. Mr. Willowby asked his butler to chop off the top of the tree. What happens to the treetop? Where will it be for Christmas? Snuggle up with this story and follow along through a forest full of friendly creatures who get to share in a bit of Christmas joy.
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant – In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift a very special gift will be tossed to him from that train. It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season.
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco – he Stowell family is abuzz with holiday excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But there’s a cloud over the joyous season: Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Pa hasn’t returned yet from his trip to Lansing. He promised to bring back the oranges for the mantelpiece. Every year there are nine of them nestled among the evergreens, one for each of the children. But this year, heavy snows might mean no oranges . . . and, worse, no Pa!
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis – ”What would I wish for?” Annika wondered aloud. “If ever I had the almond in my pudding…what would be my wish?”
In turn-of the-century Sweden, finding the almond hidden in the rice pudding is the Christmas Eve highlight for many children, since it means a chance to wish…for a new pair of snowshoes, a mountain of truffles coated with cocoa, an adorable kitten. For ten long years–all of her life–Annika has dreamed of discovering the almond in her own pudding. Will this be her year?
The Littlest Angel by Robert Tazewell – This book tells of a small angel who simply can’t get with the program no matter how hard he tries. Then an understanding elder angel realizes that he’s homesick and is able to retrieve a box of his most treasured possessions from “back home.” When it comes time for Jesus to be born on Earth, The Littlest Angel gives his precious box to the Baby, but he is worried that God will think his gift too humble. However, God is pleased indeed, and transforms the box into The Star of Bethlehem.
Marcy Crabtree spent nearly 15 years as an Ob nurse, sometimes juggling homeschooling with the job she calls her first ministry. Grateful that her main ministry today is at home, she has been married to Tom for 15 years, and is the proud momma to 12-year -old Ben. Her homeschool style is delight-directed (just a hair shy of unschooling), using mostly unit studies, and greatly influenced by Charlotte Mason’s love of living books. If she ever writes a book herself, it’s likely to be entitled, Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method. Although Marcy resides in Kentucky, she loves to travel wherever and whenever given the opportunity (more research for that book!). You can find Marcy blogging at Ben and Me