One of the best presents I remember receiving when I was growing up was a new novel. Reading was strongly encouraged in my family and a new book for Christmas was almost always under the tree. Another family tradition was the annual reading of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.”
In honor of those amazing childhood memories and as a suggestion for something to add under your holiday tree, I offer these 7 selections for superb seasonal reading.
1. “The Night before Christmas”
Clement C Moore, with amazing illustrations by Charles Santore
Of course this book tops the list. Images of Santa’s arrival as cleverly crafted by Mr. Moore, are brought to life by the artistic mastery of Santore. This edition is wonderful version to share with family on Christmas Eve.
2. “The Polar Express”
Christ Van Allsburg
Several years before Tom Hanks’ conductor whisked children to the North Pole, Chris Van Allsburg’s holiday fantasy steamed into the world (1985). Illustrated by the author, inspired by events in his childhood, “The Polar Express” is a modern classic. This 30th anniversary edition comes with a Christmas tree ornament and an audio download of the story as read by Liam Neeson.
3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
You don’t have to be Who from Whoville to appreciate this children’s tale with a lesson for all ages. Whimsical illustrations and profound poetry, in signature Seuss style, tell the tale of the grumpy green Grinch who hated Christmas. Gather the family and share the original story that spawned a classic holiday cartoon and a major motion picture.
4. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Robert L. May with illustration by Antonio Javier Caparo
Johnny Marks famous Christmas carol about the reindeer with the bright nose was inspired by May’s novel. Both were written in 1939, though Marks’ song was not released until 10 years later. In this illustrated edition of May’s magical myth, Antonio Javier Caparo crafts captivating Christmas imagery that perfectly accents the famous story.
5. “A Christmas Carol”
Dickens’ holiday ghost story is enhanced with sketches reproduced from early versions of this classic tale of redemption. Scores of movies and performances have retold this Victorian masterpiece since its first release in 1843.
6. “Letters from Father Christmas”
The creator of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” is, no doubt, one of the most imaginative authors around.
“Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.
They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.” – Amazon
7. “Holidays on Ice”
I first learned of the comedic genius known as David Sedaris on public radio’s “This American Life.” He relived amusing tales of holiday horrors and humor. “Holidays on Ice,” gathers several amusing anecdotes and silly stories from side splitting memories of working with Santa Claus at Macy’s Manhattan flagship department store (“Santaland Diaries”) to a tale of farm animals and their Secret Santa mishaps (“The Cow and the Turkey”). Sedaris’ tales are the perfect remedy for coping with holiday stress. (NOTE: for those who don’t know Sedaris’ style, these stories are a bit more mature in nature and not necessarily for young readers – but well worth a read for hilarious holiday enjoyment.)
These seven Holiday hardcovers and paperbacks are a wonderful way to add a festive literary layer to the season. Take some time to set aside the distracting devices and share a story with family and friends or dive into a new adventure this Christmas.
What are some of your favorite seasonal storybooks or holiday novels? Please share your “nice list” in the comments below.
Source and Images: Amazon