One of the many things that I love about this holiday season is books…especially children’s books. It all started with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and progressed through Merry Christmas Strega Nona, Apple Tree Christmas, The Polar Express, and many many more. For most of the year, my collection of children’s Christmas books stays on the bookshelves in the great room, but at Christmas those books can be most anywhere.
I take a large stack to my classroom, but the others get placed around the house. William Joyce’s beautifully nostalgic Santa Calls has been known to be on the piano bench, and a pile of the others gets placed with one of our son’s old childhood teddy bears on the bench in the hall.
The Polar Express was instantly my favorite the year it came out, but later I came to love Patricia Polacco’s books – and especially her Christmas books – even more.
One year long ago when I was teaching first grade in a primary school, I had a very challenging student who struggled with reading. His behavior was a challenge, and academically he was also a challenge. His mother worked as a night shift waitress, but she and I did all we could to help him that year. He made a lot of progress and went on to second grade at a different school.
A year later, I moved to a different school to teach third grade, and ….you guessed it, he was in my class again! I read aloud a lot of Patricia Polacco books to my students in third grade. One morning in early December, this student came rushing into my classroom, dug through his bookbag, pulled out a book, and said, “You gotta read this one to the class today!” It was a brand new Patricia Polacco book that I had never seen before. I asked him where he had gotten it, and he told me that his mom had taken him to the library downtown, and he just knew I was going to love it.
I normally try to “pre-read” a book before I read it aloud to my students just to make sure it is appropriate, but with his excitement there was no way I was going to squelch that love for this book. So we all gathered there on the carpet and read it right then, and I did love it. I loved it through that lump-in-your-throat and good-kind-of-tears-in-your-eyes ending that it has. (The kind that makes it hard to read aloud!) And I have loved Christmas Tapestry as my favorite children’s Christmas book ever since. Each December when I read it to my students, I can’t help but think of that former student and his excited, “You gotta read this to the class today!” love for the book, too.
And there are other Christmas books I love, too…the ones for adults. They also show up in various places in the house – the kitchen, the coffee table in the great room, and on the buffet in the foyer.
Obviously, the best book for Christmas stories is the Bible, but for other literature, I absolutely love Jan Karon’s books.
Her Shepherds Abiding is my favorite, and I have read it every Christmas since it was published.
And if you are going to sit down and enjoy reading a wonderful Christmas book, you might as well enjoy it with a cup of hot spiced tea. I made the little bags of tea by following the recipe below and putting it in ziplock bags inside the small kraft paper sacks. Then ribbon was glued on, and I made a label out of white tag board backed with a square of my favorite Christmas paper from last year.
The mug above is another favorite of mine – a vintage DeForest of California Santa mug from my childhood. It has unfortunately been broken a time or two in its many years of use – so it can’t be used for the tea.
The bags make great gifts to give when you have visitors during the holidays.
And now to the giveaway!
I would love to be able to invite all of you over for a Christmas party, but obviously that is not possible, so I decided that I would give one of you a Christmas gift. It is just a few of my favorite things…
a copy of Patricia Polacco’s Christmas Tapestry, a copy of Jan Karon’s Shepherds Abiding, a Frasier Fir scented candle from the Thymes company (to make your house smell like Christmas!) and one other little surprise (what is a Christmas gift without a little surprise?) To enter, just leave a comment on any of the Christmas Traditions posts between now and midnight on the 12th of December (and yes, if you left a comment on the “Snow” post earlier in the week you are already entered.) You may enter once on each post if you would like more chances to win. I will draw a name and announce the winner on Friday, December 14th. I think you will love these books!
So here is my question for you today:
What is your favorite Christmas book?
hoping to hear from you,
*****Giveaway has closed.***