Reading

Children’s Christmas Books That Meant a Lot to Me as a Kid

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I had a pretty blessed childhood in the reading department. My parents both read to me just about every night, and we practically lived at the library. It probably has a lot to do with why I became a writer. There’s something about books that just always feels safe and comforting and like going home. Of course, nothing felt so magical and wonderful as a book at Christmas-time. There are always the classics like The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but here are a few slightly less ubiquitous ones that I still look forward to reading each year.

As I was putting up my tiny little apartment tree for Christmas this year, I got to thinking about my favorite Christmas book of all time, Bialosky’s Christmas (above). It’s a sweet story about a bear who spends all day getting his house ready for his Christmas celebration (he runs into a few hitches along the way). Only problem is, he keeps thinking he forgot something, and (spoiler alert!), it’s that he never sent out invites to his friends. Of course, his friends show up anyway, and they have a grand old Christmas time. Man, I loved this book as a kid and still do. My mom, sister and I may have had a drawn-out text convo about it yesterday.

P.S. Here is my tree on the left and Bialosky’s on the right. See the resemblance?

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Anyway, in the course of the conversation, my sister and I started talking about the other best Christmas book of all time, The Sweet Smell of Christmas. It would be just a fun illustrated book, except it has SCRATCH AND SNIFF STICKERS ALL THROUGH IT.

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Can you get any better than that? My sister and I loved scratching the book to smell oranges and pine and hot chocolate. Unfortunately, our copy’s stickers stopped having any scent left quite some time ago …

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And finally, a Christmas children’s book post would not be complete without Jan Brett. Most eighties and nineties kids are aware of the magic of Jan Brett’s stunning illustrations and awesome stories. The Wild Christmas Reindeer is great, but my favorite is The Mitten, a story about a lost mitten that soon provides a warm home for just about every animal out there.

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The best part of Jan Brett’s books were the side illustrations that hinted at what was to come on the next page (see below). Hello, learning about foreshadowing at a young age!

There were tons of others, but those are the three that stick out in my memory, that I return to year after year. What were your favorite Christmas or holiday books as a kid?

 

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