My friend Christine gave us one of her favorite Christmas books before my oldest was even born– it must have right after I told her I was pregnant. And with that gift, she started us down a road of piecing together our Christmas book library. Little by little, year by year, we have added to the collection. It seems frivolous, to have a box of books we only read in December, but it was the box we missed most last year when all our Christmas ornaments and decorations (and books!) were in storage.
Yesterday at church, my friend Gabs was asking my about our Advent wreath. (It’s this one, in case you’re looking for it.) But we use our books as a type of Advent observance, too. Slowing down, gathering on the couch, unwrapping a book each night, and snuggling together to read.
So today I hauled the box of Christmas books off the shelf in the basement and began wrapping them. The plan (alas, if I could only stick to the plan!) is to open one each night and snuggle together as we read. I know just which ones my kids will look for, weighing the books in their hands and trying to see through the paper. (How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever are two of their favorites. I will be especially happy when we unwrap A Child is Born and The Shoemaker’s Dream.) This year I’m adding a few more I’ve been looking for: a version of the Christmas Carol that’s been out of print, and The Baker’s Dozen. Most of the books I have bought used, and we have imagined them in older, now grown-up hands before us. The first few years I bought blindly and found some lemons, but now I am picky.
The Shoemaker’s Dream (Schell/Kasuya)- a shoemaker encounters Christ (no elves involved)
Silver Packages (Rylant/Soentpiet)- an Appalachian boy who receives a life-changing gift from the Christmas train
The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems (ed. Harrison & Stuart-Clark)- poems for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, as well as winter.