The Twelve Books Before Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions includes The Twelve Books Before Christmas (here’s part two, and three).
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I love picture books. I love to read aloud to my daughters. They love snuggling close and listening to the stories. If you add Christmas stories to the mix, it’s like my own Norman Rockwell painting come true.

I’m currently on the hunt for new books to enter into the mix. I tend to keep my Christmas picture book collection together so I can easily pull them out to read starting December 12th. Why did I pick 12, and not 24? For practical reasons, I haven’t collected 24 books yet, I am usually not quite organized by December first, and I figure 12 books was a good number to go with the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Clever and sensible, I shock myself.

Here’s the bit that’s fun when we do The Twelve Books Before Christmas; I wrap each book in Christmas wrapping paper, place them in a basket and the girls get to unwrap a book each night. They take turns. For some reason the unwrapping of the books makes bedtime stories even more special.

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What happens on Christmas Eve? Simple, we read the story of the birth of Christ from the book of Luke in the Bible, sing Christmas carols, and hymns, and reflect on our gratitude. This tradition makes me itch for Christmas all year long. It makes me so happy, and brings in that quiet, calm, satisfying feeling of peace. That kind of peace can’t be purchased, wrapped or caught. It’s a feeling that settles, encompasses, and yet is so fleeting in this busy world we live in. I can’t wait.

Here’s the current list of Christmas books that we own, yes, there are more than 12, sometimes we read more than one a night, because we like to. I have a ridiculous amount of books, and an irresistible compulsion to bring books home to live with me.

  1. Drummer Boy by Loren Long
  2. The Night Before Christmas: The Anniversary Edition by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
  3. The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May, Illustrated by David Wentzel
  5. When Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem, paintings by Joseph Brickey
  6. One Snowy Night, by M. Christina Butler, Illustrated by Tina McNaughton
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
  8. The Polar Express, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
  9. Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick
  10. The Tale of the Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrations by Tim Jonke
  11. On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman
  12. Mr. Finnegan’s Giving Chest, by Dan Farr
  13. Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
  14. The Gingerbread Man retold by Jim Aylesworth
  15. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
  16. Olivia Helps With Christmas by Shane L. Johnson
  17. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O’ Connor

Here are some books I like, and/or hope to be adding to our Christmas book crew soon. Each year I try to purchase a new picture book, Christmas themed, or otherwise for the girls. I have this dream that when they grow up, and leave my nest, that I’ll be able to pack up the books I’ve read to them over the years, and gift them a great start for their own Twelve Books Before Christmas tradition.

  1. You Are My Miracle by Maryann K. Cusiman Love
  2. Merry Christmas Splat by Rob Scotton
  3. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
  4. Bear’s First Christmas by Robert Kinerk
  5. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
  6. The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Pollacco
  7. How to Talk to Santa by Alec Greven
  8. The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer
  9. The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia C. McKissack & Jerry Pinkney
  10. The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle & Jill Weber
  11. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  12. Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  13. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
  14. The Mole Family’s Christmas by Russell Hoban
  15. An Ellis Island Christmas by Maxinne Rhea Leighton
  16. An Amish Christmas by Richard Ammon
  17. Charlie and Lola: Snow is my Favorite and my Best by Lauren Child

I’m off to wrap up my books. What are you favorite Christmas picture books? Do you also have The Twelve Books Before Christmas tradition?

Merry Christmas. Cheers!