Friday, November 20, 2015

Our Advent Book List

Years ago, Jessica at Shower of Roses inspired me with her gorgeous Advent book basket -I imagined the joy my children would experience seeing a big basket of beautifully wrapped purple and pink books. The book basket did not disappoint and when my daughter saw this year's books all wrapped and ready to go - she jumped up and down and said "Mommy I can't wait for Advent!"  We unwrap the book of the day, snuggle on the couch and read it together every morning. Each year we add new books and weed out the ones that the kids have outgrown. Here's a picture our book basket:

Although Advent begins on November 29 - we begin reading from our book list on December 1:
December 1: While not an overt Christmas book, Neal Lozano's beautiful book Will You Bless Me? recounts the story of the Annunciation through the Epiphany as told by the Blessed Mother to the Child Jesus. It is a beautiful introduction to the gift of blessing your children. 
December 2: In honor of the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, we read The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree
December 3: Written in 1957, The Story of Holly and Ivy, is a classic Christmas tale of hope and miracles. It is a favorite of mine and one that brings me to tears everytime I read it (much to my children's chagrin).
December 4: Who doesn't love "All the Who's in Whoville" and the slimy green Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!   - a family fav indeed.
December 5: The True Story of Santa Claus contains the story of St. Nicholas as told by "Santa Claus" as well as a few pages of facts at the end of the book about the life this special saint who's feast we celebrate on December 6.
December 6: The Miracle of St. Nicholas   is a moving story of the faith and devotion of a Russian village who kept the fires of faith burning during 60 long years without the celebration of the Eucharist.
December 7: There are very few Christmas books which focus on St. Joseph and so we have really enjoyed this relatively new addition to our reading list: Father and Son: A Nativity Story
December 8: I love the beautiful, heart warming depiction of the Nativity Scene in Max Lucado's The Crippled Lamb, and the encouraging message that each of us has a role to play in God's plan.
December 9: Another non-traditional Christmas book that has been a favorite of ours for years is The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale
December 10: The Christmas Candle reminds me so much of Dicken's A Christmas Carol - in the total transformation of its protagonist from a bitter miser into a generous giver. Powerful, but may be a little on the dark side for very young children. 
December 11: Gearing up for the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we enjoy this classic Mexican tale:The Legend of the Poinsettia
December 12: Tomie de Paola's The Lady of Guadalupe is our Go-to book to celebrate her Feast Day.
December 13: Lucia: Saint of Light explains not only the story of St. Lucy, whose feast is celebrated on the 13th of December, but also the traditional Swedish celebrations which accompany her feast day.
December 14:The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree is a tale of love, fidelity and sacrifice - another tear-jerker for me.
December 15: We typically put up our Christmas Tree in mid-December, making it the perfect day to read more about the history of the tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas inThe Legend of the Christmas Tree
December 16: Our multi-cultural parish is hosting a traditional Las Posadas procession this Advent and we are so excited to participate in something we have only read about before in Tomie de Paola's book: The Night of Las Posadas
December 17: Since they were born, we have always limited the amount of gifts we give our children to three - the same as Jesus received.  Jennie Bishop, the author of The Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God's Gift of Purity really oudid herself with the exquisite book: The Three Gifts of Christmas.   The book provides a timeless lesson on the axiom "It is better to give than to receive."
December 18: I fear our children are outgrowing Tomie De Paola's Story of the Three Wise Kings and this may be the last year it makes its way into our book basket, but I still enjoy the story of the Epiphany. 
December 19: In keeping with the theme of the Epiphany, we really enjoy this sweet story: Small Camel Follows the Star
December 20: The Gift of the Magi is another tear-jerker and a lovely story not only about the true meaning of giving gifts at Christmas, but also a testament to type of sacrifices loving husbands and wives make for each other.

December 21: Another heartwarming story about the transformation that can be wrought by Christmas love is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. A little on the long side - this book can easily be stretched out over two - three days. 

December 22: A fictional book loosely based on the actual Christmas Truce of 1914,Christmas in the Trenches is a story about a moment unity and peace, in the midst of division and war.

December 23:The Polar Express  is still running after 30 years and we are still loving riding on it each year!

December 24: The classic Christmas Eve book:The Night Before Christmas  completes our book list - and while it is not a religious book, we enjoy the poem and the anticipation of the festivities of Christmas Even dinner with family and the celebration of  Midnight Mass at our Parish. 

What are your favorite Christmas read-alouds?  Share them in the Comments below!

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  1. I have never done this before! I love the idea and wonder if I have time to pull it off! I am reading Charlotte's Web to Gabriel right now, not so Advent-y.

    1. I am feverishly wrapping today trying to get ready. Love Charlottes Web - the kids read that this past spring....

  2. You gave me some new ideas...thank you!! Happy reading!