Growing up I was a complete bookworm. The first summer in our house in Everett I remember staying up late every night with my "little bitty booklight" reading countless Nancy Drew books and The Mystery of the Cupboard. My mom always read to us. When I was three we started reading all of The Little House on the Prairie Books to me and my siblings.
Books have always been an important part of my life. Christmas is no exception.
My family goes crazy at Christmas. Anyone who has seen our two-car garage can attest to that. It's kind of ridiculous the amount of Christmas stuff we own. Although I loved to bedeck the house with all of our Christmas decorations bringing out the box of Christmas books was always my favorite. Sporadically throughout the month of December I would choose several books to accompany to my room at bedtime. Reading Christmas books always seemed to produce "visions of sugarplums dancing in my head". I'm all grown up now but I still enjoy reveling in this pastime.
Here are some of my favorites...
Apple Tree Christmas
This will always be one of my favorite children's books. When I was in first grade I checked out this book from the library for months at a time. Every time it would be due I would just renew it. I'm pretty sure no other kid got to read it that year. I even attempted to draw one scene in the book. My poor recreation is in one of my MANY keepsake boxes. When I was older my mom gave Apple Tree Christmas to me for Christmas. I have carried it with me since college. I can't wait to read this story to my own kids.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
I don't remember how or where my mom found this book a few years back. The story is incredibly touching. This may be my favorite Christmas book of all time. On my family's trip to Nebraska a few months ago, I purchased a nativity similar to the one Mr.Toomey carves in the story; now all I need is the book. A little elf told me I might be getting my very own copy for Christmas! We'll see what Santa brings tonight.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
Years ago, my parents purchased this book for me at a book fair held at my elementary school. Barbara Cooney is my favorite illustrator. Her gift for delicate detail enhances every story to which she contributes her talents. I love the prose but the illustrations are what make this book so special.
The Littlest Angel
This is a book from my mother's childhood. Every year she is sure to read it to us---often on Christmas Eve. I love this book because it will forever remind me of my mom's sweet spirit and her love for Christmas.
Holly & Ivy
This is a very long story for a children's book. When we asked my mom to read it to us we usually ended up reading it over a series of nights. The characters of Holly and Ivy are brought to life by the captivating illustrations of Barbara Cooney.