Monday, November 6, 2017

A Christmas Reading List

It's that time of year to start thinking about Christmas reading lists! I thought I'd share a few of our favorites:

 Living the Season Well by Jody Collins
I read this book over the weekend and it was the perfect thing to help me start thinking purposefully toward how I want this holiday season to look for our family and how I can intentionally plan less, do less, create less, but focus more on the things that matter like talking with the children about Christ, who He is and what He came to do as well as having time and energy to reach out to those that need the loving hands of a person to communicate God's love tangibly to them.

Jody's book introduces the concept of Advent to those who are unfamiliar with the term and the practices of the traditional church calendar and the season of preparation for Christ's birth that advent is. She also talks about getting a realistic handle on present-giving, decorating, and even eating. The season doesn't have to turn into a super-stressful, chaotic, overwhelming occasion. If we are willing to give up certain things, change our practices, and keep our focus, the season can be lived well.

 Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
I love this book so much! It's one of the ways I can easily keep the younger kids focused on Scripture throughout the month of December. This book is similar to the Jesse Tree project and has a reading for each day of advent, covering the entire story of the Bible throughout the month! We have an ornament we add to our "Jesse Tree" each day after we do our reading.

Ann's written an adult version of this book: The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas

Becky's Christmas by Tasha Tudor is my favorite children's book and we read it every year, usually as part of my birthday celebration. It shows what the Christmas season is like for a farming family in the early 20th century in New England with handmade gifts and decorations, homemade baked goods, and of course beautiful illustrations by Tasha Tudor.

Some of Tasha's other Christmas books we enjoy are:
Corgiville Christmas
The Doll's Christmas

Lucy & Toms' Christmas by Shirley Hughes
This is my favorite British children's Christmas book. It shows the Christmas season from the perspective of a little girl and boy living in modern England and includes so many of the various Christmas traditions we enjoyed when we lived in the UK.

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
This is my favorite adult Christmas novel. Just thinking about it brings cozy feelings and thoughts of sitting by a fire in an old stone house with a snowstorm outside, good company inside, and the propect of many happy days ahead.

Christmas with Rosamunde Pilcher is a lovely book describing the Christmases of Pilcher and the things that contributed to the Christmas stories she wrote.

Every Valley by Albert Blackwell
Handel's Messiah is something I love to listen to at Christmas -- it's taken from Scripture and the way the Scriptures were sewn together and accompanied by music is just amazing to me. It's like listening to an incredible Bible study and at a very stressful time of year the words and music always soothe my soul.

All that to say, this book is meant to be read during advent with a reading for each day based off of a portion of Handel's Messiah.

The Christmas Stove by Alta Seymour was introduced to us last year by Amy over at Hearth Ridge Reflections. It's a vintage story set in Eastern Europe about two orphan children who must go to live with a grouchy old aunt and how they must earn their keep and celebrate Christmas. It was delightful!

Christmas with Miss Read and other Christmas books from the same author are always welcome at this time of year. Miss Read writes about a little village in England.

Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant
This is a collection of carol histories. It's always fun and instructive to learn the history behind popular songs.

Sleigh Bells for Windy Foot by Frances Frost
This chapter book for kids is another book that is dear to my heart. Set on a farm in upstate New York in the early 20th century, it is the story of a 12-year old boy and his pony and the adventures he and his family get up to at Christmas-time.

Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
The Jolly Postman books are so much fun with their adorable illustrations and the fact that the pages have little pockets with extra parts to the story you can pull out and enjoy! Being from England, how can one go wrong?

Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon
This is one of the book's I have on my library list this season. I feel it is hard to find a good Christmas story and I am always on the lookout! I hope someday I have the skill to write one, or more....

And that's it for this Christmas book list!

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Unknown said...

Wow fantastic list.. I shall definitely be checking some of these books out. I'm familiar with Miss.Read and The Jolly Postman but some here I'd never heard of . I can't wait to get started :)
Off to the library I go!

Catherine said...

What a great list! I love to see new titles and placed a few on hold. I didn't realize that Shirley Hughes books were set in England--I have one of hers from my childhood about a girl named Molly who moved a lot (presumably given to me as cheap therapy! :) but always assumed that Molly was an American like me. I think we will need to own Lucy and Tom!

Amy Marie said...

How lovely, Heather! There are several on here that I haven't heard of...oh, happy day! Thank you so much for sharing! <3 Amy

Jody Lee Collins said...

Heather thanks for putting Living the Season Well at the top of the kind.
I always enjoy hearing about new books, especially those I've never heard of. What a great wrap up, especially the Miss Read one....

Reneelynn said...

Have you read the other Jan Karon books ?
They definitely are written in order.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Usually you have to read Jan Karon's books in order but she wrote Shepherd's Abiding as a stand alone Christmas novel. Readers of her series will recognize all the characters but it can be read without having read the others.

I completely forgot Winter Solstice last year. I need to take it off the bookshelf now before I forget it again. I think I first decided to read Pilcher from your recommendation. Love the Miss Read Christmas books, too.

This list gave me a good idea of what to get Piper for Christmas. I will get her a couple Christmas books and send them to her early.

Mabel Jane's said...

Rosamunde Pilcher is one of my all time favorite authors. I have a copy of Winter Solstice in my possession but have yet to read it. It is now at the top of my list. Thank you for your lovely list of Christmas reads.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thank you for this lovely, lovely list. I'll probably link to it on my blog later this month when I make Christmas reading suggestions. Blessings, Hope

Amy Marie said...

Great list, Heather! :) I've haven't read many of TBR is toppling!