For the last two weeks I’ve shared some great romance Christmas reading, mostly contemporary and historical. Today (which is actually Christmas—Merry Christmas!) I thought I’d share some favorite Christmas classics that have kept me in the spirit through the years. Chances are you’ve read some, if not most, of these, but if not I certainly hope you’ll pick them up.
Norman Rockwell’s Christmas Book, edited by Molly Rockwell. This is a compilation of various Christmas stories, poems, carols, recipes, etc., beautifully illustrated with Norman Rockwell’s Christmas and winter art. I believe the original came out in the late ’70s and has been reissued every so often since then. I received my copy as a gift during a difficult sophomore college year from a special group of friends who made that odd holiday season bright and fun, and I treasure it for its lovely content as well as the sweet memories it’s connected to.
It includes a number of my beloved Christmas standards, including O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi; Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus; and A Visit from St. Nicholas.
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell. This was my favorite Christmas story growing up, and it was one I read to my two boys when they were little. It’s the story of an energetic little boy adjusting poorly to his new life as a cherub in heaven, who is called upon to present a gift to the babe who’ll begin his life in a manger. It can still make me weepy.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Have I mentioned I have two boys? How surprising could it be to discover that they would love a book that combined trains and Christmas, as well as the wondrous idea that the magic of Christmas exists when you truly believe?
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera. A sweet story with charming illustrations, this book follows the rather unlikable Sophie Kringle as she stows away in her mysterious great aunt’s luggage and winds up in the North Pole, then has to learn the true meaning of Christmas to save the day for her brother. (Honestly the message is a bit of a stretch, but the colorful, whimsical pictures win you over.)
Olive the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold. My boys loved the artful effervescence of this amusing book, while the silliness of Olive’s mistake in hearing “Olive the other reindeer” instead of “all of the other reindeer” tickled their funny bones, and was likely their first exposure to wordplay.
Robert Sabuda’s The Twelve Days of Christmas. This astonishing feat of paper, scissors and ingenuity was beautiful, fascinating and clever, and our family spent many hours in appreciation of the masterful engineering but also the sly wit of the pop-up illustrations. Sheer genius and true fun.
So what about you? Any don’t-miss Christmas books you’ve loved through the years? Do share! And please know, I wish all of my romance-reading friends a beautiful holiday—no matter what you celebrate, I hope the season has been filled with light and beauty, and that 2015 is full of happy surprises.