Oh, the aspirations I had! The lofty and apparently unattainable aspirations! I was going to read all sorts of new Christmas books, look through our plentiful collection and pick out our favorites, research and paw through piles of books, finding new treasures. Well, that didn't happen. I forgot that my non-blogging life goes berserk as soon as December arrives. I'm lucky to get anything read at all, much less blog about it.
I did pull out all of our Christmas books so that I could be sure to read them all with my kids over the month. As we read, I realized that we don't have nearly enough good Christmas books. Some mediocre, some dull, but only a few truly great books. One is Jan Brett's The Night Before Christmas. If you've ever looked at a Jan Brett book, it is so richly illustrated and full of detail that you can get caught up in a single spread and stay there, lingering. Her books are ones I can read several times every Christmas season and not get tired of them.
If you've ever read the Arthur books by Marc Brown, you're familiar with his sweet illustrations. I like Arthur just fine, love D.W. even more, but his animal characters are pretty nebulous. Aardvark? Dog? Groundhog? What is that thing? But when he draws people, they make me happy. The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury was compiled by Alice Low and illustrated by Marc Brown. This is such a great compilation, I wish everybody had a copy. It has the standard poems, stories and songs from Christmas, but some extras stories from books and folk tales that I had never heard or had forgotten I knew. It has the story of Ramona and the three wise persons, from Ramona and Her Father, the story of the Christmas whale, "The More is Snows" from The House at Pooh Corner and many more. It has poems by e. e. cummings, John Updike, Edgar Allen Poe (not the morbid Poe) and Jack Prelutsky. With over one hundred pages, there is plenty to read for many nights leading up to Christmas. It even has the text from Luke 2, for reading on Christmas Eve. If you only owned one Christmas book, this would be a good one to have.
Perhaps next year I'll start looking into Christmas books before Halloween. That seems to be the prime time to get anything done before my schedule gets wacky. Maybe if I start on Easter books on December 26th, there's a hope I'll get it done in time, if I don't procrastinate once again. In any case, Happy Holidays!