My first choice is called Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck. I was introduced to this book when I joined Weston’s family. It is a simple story of a young boy wanting to come up with a gift for his father. He doesn’t have much money and time is running short to make anything that is too involving. He comes up with the perfect idea and he pulls it off without a hitch. I think of this book almost every Christmas morning and I am always pleased when Weston’s mom reads it at our family Christmas. I don’t have a copy of this book (why not?!), but it is on my list. It is a short read. Your children will enjoy this one and I also think it would make the perfect Christmas program!
Second on my list is just part of a book. Fulton Oursler wrote a book called The Greatest Story Ever Told. Years ago, my brother-in-law read a chapter in a volunteer meeting in our church. It was the neatest writing of the Christmas story I had ever heard. The chapter he read is called Shepherds at the Back Door. It is about Joseph wondering why there has been no sign since the angel appeared to both him and Mary months before. He is a bit anxious about the whole situation when he hears steps and men talking. A knock at the door has him rushing over to shush the visitors since Mary and the Baby are both sleeping. The shepherds then tell Joseph what they have seen in the fields that night. Joseph is comforted as he realizes this is the sign he was hoping would come. This chapter is the most beautiful retelling of the Shepherd’s part of the Christmas story.
And here is one if you are looking for some lighthearted reading. Do you have a difficult family deal to go to? Are you in need of a good laugh this Christmas? Skip all the sad Christmas stories where children go hungry and husbands have left in one way or another. Try John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas. It is sure to put a smile on your face!
In this story, Luther and Nora Krank decide to totally skip Christmas. Their daughter will not be coming home this year since she is working with the Peace Corps across seas. They decide it’s a perfect chance to do what they have always talked about doing: skip Christmas. No rooftop Frosty. No annual Christmas Eve bash at their house. No gifts. No tree. No spending money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like. Instead, they are going to leave December 25 on a cruise for the Caribbean. Things began to unravel early on. The neighbors don’t like the one house on the street without Frosty. The local police chapter expects the same donations as always. And Blair? She isn’t as far away as they thought. Read this book for a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become the norm for our holiday season. You will not regret reading this book!
Another book that I love is called Truce written by Jim Murphy. The year is 1914, and war is tearing Europe apart. This book is mostly about Christmas that year. Troops openly defied commanding officers and celebrated Christmas with their “enemies”. This story is true and reminds us in a world separated by hate and ill will that brotherhood and love reach beyond the boundaries of war. (This book would be a good choice for the man on your list who has everything!)
My favorite Christmas classic is always A Christmas Carol. I just skimmed over the first few pages before sitting down to write and was delighted again with Charles Dickens’ way with words. This book was published December 19 of 1843. The first edition of 6000 copies was sold out by Christmas Eve. Soon there was a rise in charitable giving in Britain, many thought due to the moral of this story. It was originally intended in Dickens’ words to be “a sledgehammer blow” of a pamphlet appealing to the people of England on behalf the state of the poor. But lucky for us, he turned it into a story that still brought about a radical change in the way the people of his day saw employers, employees and “fellow-passengers to the grave”, no matter their economic status. The term Merry Christmas caught on after this book was published and it is still used today. Try the original version with all its old-fashioned language and also the Little Golden Book version to enjoy with your small children.
The Gift of the Magi is a story of James and Della Young, newly married and painfully poor in money but rich in love. It is the day before Christmas and neither one has bought a present for the other. The story ends with O. Henry’s trademark surprise, and I’m never sure if they did a marvelous thing or a foolish thing. But this is a story you will not soon forget.
The Baby Born in a Stable is a rhyming version of the story in Luke in the Bible. My favorite lines come just before the climax of the story: The night was silent. Everyone, it seemed was fast asleep except for shepherd in the fields who had to watch their sheep. If you read it very many times, you will easily have it memorized. Be sure to sing Away in a Manger when you get to the end.
The Book of Luke from the Bible. There are twenty-four chapters. If you start December 1, you will finish the day before Christmas. You can celebrate on the 25th with the real reason for the season refreshed in your memory.
How About You?
We would love to know what you like to read around the Holidays. There are so many good-looking books out there. Tell us the books you go back to in December in the comments, please!