Almost everybody who celebrates this holiday has their favorite Christmas books.
This could be a book that was read each during Advent as a family tradition.
It could be a book that was pure fun to read as a child. It may even be a book that inspired them or strengthened their faith during a difficult time. Whatever the case may be, books clearly have an impact on us.
The question is, what makes a great Christmas book?
Considering the fact that Christmas is about family, love, faith, giving, and reaching out to others, perhaps the best Christmas books are the ones that make us want to be better people.
Here are 5 Christmas books that do just that.
1. The Polar Express
This enchanting children’s story was written in 1985 by author Chris Van Allsburg. It is the story of a little boy who falls asleep on Christmas Eve while listening for the sounds of sleigh bells. His desire to hear the chime of sleigh bells is driven by a friend of his who had informed him earlier in the day that Santa Claus wasn’t real. In the book, the boy’s belief in Christmas is restored on a trip to the North Pole on the Polar Express.
Read this book if you are beginning to have doubts about the magic of the Christmas season.
2. The Gift of The Magi
Even if you have never read the story, you probably know it. A poor married couple, deeply in love with one another, both decide to buy Christmas presents for one another. The husband wishes to provide his beautiful wife with a present that she will love. The wife wishes to provide her handsome husband with a gift that will make him proud. Ultimately, each of them makes a sacrifice to buy the perfect gift for one another.
Unfortunately, the sacrifices they make render the gifts useless to them. However, this is no sad ending. What they both realize is that they are both willing to give up something that is very important to them in order to make the other person’s Christmas brighter. That’s a great lesson about love being more important than material items during the holidays.
3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The lessons Dr. Seuss teaches in his books may be simple, but it is that simplicity that gives them the impact they have.
Even if you have read this book a thousand times, watch the television special each year, and own a copy of the DVD, take the time to reread the book, at least, one more time this season. It is a great reminder of the power of forgiveness, redemption, and the value of Christmas spirit over material goods.
4. A Christmas Memory
This is a semi-autobiographical story written by Truman Capote about the years he spent living in Monroeville, Alabama with extended family. In the story, Buddy is a 7-year-old boy who develops a very close friendship with an elderly female cousin. In spite of living among other relatives who are unfeeling, calloused, and utterly unconcerned with providing Buddy with any joy at Christmas or any other time of the year, Buddy and his cousin find ways to make the Christmas season special for themselves and many others.
They make gifts for one another, decorate the home for Christmas with homemade wreaths and other goods, and they bake dozens of whiskey soaked fruit cakes for people they care about. They do all of this in spite of the unkind family members who seek to destroy their positivity and motivation to create a happy Christmas for themselves.
This may not be the happiest book, but it is a great demonstration of the way in which one adult can be a bright spot in the life of a child.
5. The Christmas List
This book, written by Richard Paul Evans, is the story of a widely disliked businessman, James Kier. An announcement is made that Mr. Kier has passed away. Everybody assumes it is the nasty businessman who has died, and pages of horrible comments are posted on the newspaper’s website. As it turns out, the dead James Kier is another person entirely, and the living James Kier is livid.
Then, he has a change of heart and realizes ala Ebenezer Scrooge that he could try to be a nicer people. So, he makes a list of people he has wronged and works to make amends to them during the holiday season. The book is absolutely hilarious to read (Think ‘My Name is Earl’ does Christmas), but buried underneath the humor is a good lesson about reaching out to people you have hurt this time of year.
Have you read any of the books on this list? Which are your favorite Christmas books?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!