One of the traditions in my family is the reading of Christmas books. We put out our special basket of books around December 1 and read them throughout the days leading up to Christmas.
For several years the books were lost in the darkest regions of the Garage of Doom. (Click here to read my post about our unfortunate garage.) Recently, while chipping away at the accumulated stuff, I came across our precious tomes and dusted them off. Once again, they occupy a space of honor in our living room.
1. C is for Christmas: The History, Personalities, and Meaning of Christ’s Birth, by David W. and Warren W. Wiersbe.
If you want to learn about Christmas from A to Z, this is the book for you. The authors do an excellent job of explaining Christmas through information gleaned from Scripture. The 64 topics are arranged alphabetically, from Advent to Zechariah.
The detail in this book is remarkable; yet each topic is presented with clarity. This book would be excellent for new Christians and also for families to study together, maybe two or three topics a day during the Advent season.
2. Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon.
Book 8 of the beloved Mitford series tells the story of the Christmas gift Episcopal priest Father Tim makes for his wife Cynthia, and her gift for him. A story of love and redemption.
3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.
This very humorous book is a reminder not to disregard unlovable people. Jesus died to save sinners, and it is profoundly touching to see the changes that occur in the heathen Herdman children as a result of participating in a Christmas pageant.
Once upon a time, the late PBS personality Leo Buscaglia was known as “Dr. Love” because of his many books on and promotion of human love. These seven stories are taken from his life. My favorite is No Room at the Inn, about a Christmas he spent in Bali.
5. Messiah: The Wordbook for the Oratorio by George Frideric Handel.
This is the text of Handel’s Messiah, beautifully illustrated by Barry Moser. The words are actually straight from the Bible, and the book gives chapter and verse references.
6. The Nativity: The Christmas Crèche at The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Olga Raggio.
The story of Christ’s birth is told from Scripture, illustrated with photographs of the Met’s fabulous eighteenth-century figurines. The history of this crèche is documented by a former curator. Although this 1969 book is out of print, you might be able to find it used. However, a similar, more recent book is available from the Met—The Angel Tree: Celebrating Christmas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Linn Howard and Mary Jane Pool.
7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The classic story of how three spirits transform miserly Ebernezer Scrooge into a compassionate and generous man.
The quintessential Christmas poem. I prefer the Golden Book edition I had when I was a little girl.
Disclaimer: These are my favorite Christmas books. I cannot guarantee that this is truly the definitive list of best Christmas books ever. If I’ve left out some of your favorites, please list them by hitting the Comments button.