Once upon a time, on Christmas Eve...

184148245501_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_A Christmas tradition that we started when our kids were little was getting a new Christmas book each year. The book would be brought out the first week or two of Advent and set out on the coffee table, with the previous years’ books in a basket on the floor. This has been a fun tradition that we all have looked forward to every year, even as our sons have gotten older and older. Most years the book is a picture book, other years not.

This year’s book is The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story by Joanne Oppenheim. It’s one version of the Mexican folktale about the miraculously transformed gift of weeds that the poor Mexican girl brought to baby Jesus.

Last year’s book was Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien. This is a beautiful book made up of the letters Father Christmas (AKA Tolkien himself) sent his children every year from the North Pole. The letters appear in Tolkien’s handwriting with his color sketches throughout.

Other favorites that we’ve gathered over the years include

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, text abridged by Nancy Skarmeas.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (the classic!).

Greatest Gift of All by Kimberly Rinehart.

The Christmas Tomten by Viktor Rydberg (Scandinavian tale best read in a whispery voice).

The First Christmas by Tomie de Paola (a pop-up book).

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.

The Story of Christmas by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by Helen Ward (beautiful illustrations).

Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev (Santa tells the story of the first Christmas).

Do you have some Christmas books that you enjoy to take out year after year?