It’s the New Year, which means it is time to put away all of our Christmas books.
Without hesitation, Christmas books are my favourite to read to the kids. I think our house knows “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore by heart, and we own multiple versions of it. Last year, at 2, almost 3 years old, D could recite it at the dinner table. I tend to read Christmas books at meal time a lot. Usually they are ones I can recite without looking at the words, like “The Night Before Christmas”, and “Frosty the Snowman”, but the story of Rudolph gets some love as well. I also like seeing what books peak D and E’s interest year after year.
Favorite Children’s Christmas Book at 2 Years Old: “The Night Before Christmas”
Last year, D’s favourite book was “The Night Before Christmas”, by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Barbara Reid. The plasticine pictures of the mice getting ready for Christmas and their little house in the log are perfectly cozy. We loved pointing out the tiny details again this year, but it didn’t captivate him quite the same way now that he is almost 4 years old. He still liked it, and probably read it twice a week in December, but it didn’t create the same magic as last year. Maybe because he knows Santa isn’t a mouse?!
Favorite Children’s Christmas Book at 3 Years Old: “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree”
This year, his favourite was “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree” by Robert Barry. Hands down. We read it almost every night in December. Sometimes twice a night! I know he will keep asking for it even after I put it away in the box. Tonight he asked for it again, even though he has such a bad cold and was exhausted. He wanted it one more time before we put it away.
The rhyming text is lilting and engaging, and the story sweet and comforting. “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree/ Came by Special Delivery…” Alas, the tree is too tall and he has to cut off the top! But the top is recycled, only for Miss Adelaide to find the tree is too tall for her room too. So she cuts off the top, and on it goes.
The story prompted talks about why we give gifts at Christmas, and why we recycle, and just about how fun Christmas trees are in general! I didn’t get bored of it either, which is really saying something. For us, it is a perfect Christmas book and I hope it is still in heavy rotation next year.
Favorite Children’s Christmas Book at 1 Year Old: “Five Christmas Penguins”
As for little Miss E. I think she is at a tough age for books. She is just 15 months, and really she prefers to “read” herself (which means hold the book and flip the pages), or she sits for a short time and then runs off to something else.
Her favorite Christmas book this year was probably “Five Christmas Penguins” because it was just the right length, and just the right amount of sparkle. D used to like it too at 1, almost 2, so I would say it is best for the under 2 age group. It’s just a really cute read and anything that gets her attention at this stage is worth it in my books. I’m guessing next year we will read it a few times, but move on more to “Frosty the Snowman”, “The Nativity”, and my all time favorite, “The Night Before Christmas.”
In the Coming Years…
I also hope that next year D gets more into the longer Christmas stories. Like the two by Shirley Hughes: “Alfie’s Christmas” and “Lucy and Tom’s Christmas”. To me, the very accurate play-by-play of Christmas in England are just fun to read and would create a great tradition in our house. For now though, our only book tradition for Christmas is that we read lots of Christmas books, and that we read “The Night Before Christmas”, the night before Christmas. It’s not original, but isn’t that the point of traditions?