Let the reading of favorite Christmas books begin! 🙂
Actually, it began on Tuesday here at the House of Hope. One of my favorite and most highly anticipated Christmas tradition is the reacquainting we do each December with our growing Christmas story collection. Some time before December 1, I wrap up our Christmas books in festive wrapping paper and then the real anticipation begins! The girls open one book per day, and they love it. So do I. You can read more about our tradition and some of our favorite titles here.
This year I got smart and numbered the books I wanted us to open first. So far we’ve read a couple that a dear friend of mine gave us back a few months ago that I saved for the season. They’ve both been winners, and while they’re very different, they both elicited tears from me. (What can I say? I’m sentimental even when not pregnant; pregnant, I’m a hopeless case!)
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston is the nostalgic Appalachian tale of a little girl, Ruthie, whose father has gone off to fight in the Great War. Before he left, Ruthie and Papa trek “up the rocky craigs where only a venturesome man may go” to pick out a balsam Christmas tree, their family’s contribution to the community Christmas at the church. Papa goes off to fight, and Ruthie and her mama persevere on through their daily lives until Christmas comes. They have no tree since it’s still on the “rocky craigs”; they have no money since Papa left; but they do have each other and a lot of determination. This is a story of grit and making-do, and it has a happy ending, as all Christmas stories should. The illustrations are by the wonderful Barbara Cooney, author/illustrator of Miss Rumphius, which just might be one of the most perfect picture books of all time. If you like rich, nostalgic, historical stories, pick up a copy of The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree and a box of Kleenex. 🙂
This next book is technically not just a Christmas story, but I included it with ours because it is about Christmas. However, it is also about Easter. Really, it’s just about the life of Jesus. How’s that for an introduction? The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale is about three trees who envision their futures to be high and lofty, but each tree ends up with a decidedly more humble fate. However, as such tales go, the significance of each tree is revealed by the end of the story. Angela Elwell Hunt did a good job of making this folktale accessible even to young children.
That’s all we’ve read so far, but you can be sure that there will be more to come next Read Aloud Thursday! 🙂
Speaking of next week, guess what next week is? It’s the one year anniversary of Read Aloud Thursday! I started this little party last year on a whim, and it’s still going. Be sure to come back next week to see what I have cooked up in celebration!
Last but most important, what have you been reading together as a family? Please share with us by leaving a link to your blog or by posting in the comments!
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