December is a magical time to read aloud to your family — whether you’re gathered around the lit tree, sitting on the floor while they’re snuggled in their warm beds, or possibly traveling down the freeway to visit relatives. If reading to your children is something you’re trying to begin, here are five of my favorites stories for the Christmas season. I hope you find one that brings delight to your family and begins (or continues) the priceless gift of reading together.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (80 pages), published in 1843. The classic tale of Scrooge who hates everyone and only cares about hoarding money — until he has 3 mysterious visitors who show him a reality he’s never understood before. You’ll never read an easier Charles Dickens’ book — and it’s only 80 pages. Have you seen the trailer for the new movie The Man Who Invented Christmas coming out in December 2017, if you haven’t, here it is. I think it looks GREAT!
2. A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger (198 pages), published in 1996. This little known, modern-day “Prince and the Pauper” Christmas mystery will have you on the edge of your seat! It’s written in 25 chapters, perfect for reading as a sort of advent. When we read this as a family back in 2000, my girls begged every night for, “One more chapter, PLEASE!” I’ve already ordered a copy for my two older daughters to read to their children this year for Christmas 🙂
3. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (40 pages), published in 1905. This short, but poignant Christmas classic helps children stop and think about what they would sacrifice for someone they love.
4. Two From Galilee: The Story of Mary and Joseph by Marjorie Holmes (224 pages), published in 1972. My mother read this book every year in December and encouraged me to read it too — but I never did. Then 5 years ago, my book club chose it as our Christmas selection. Why did I wait so long? Two From Galilee is a beautiful, fictional re-telling of the real Christmas story by a master writer. Marjorie Holmes fleshes out the biblical events in a way that will touch your heart.
5. The Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies (144 pages), published in 1947. You’ve probably watched both the 1947 and 1994 movie versions of this book (there are three more film versions: 1955, 1959, 1973). But the original book about the little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, is so GOOD! This just might be the year to read it.