The Gift of A Special Book at Christmas

I have always loved children’s literature.
The stories revealed through words and combined with illustrations…the beauty of the rhythm of the words as they are read to bright little faces… I love all of it.
When my first child, Hunter, was born, I already had a library of children’s books waiting for her.
I read to both my babies as young infants and story time at our house was a concrete bedtime ritual every night for years.
It was important to me for each child to have a bookcase in their bedroom filled with things that were interesting to them.
I wanted my children to love to read. I wanted reading to be part of their every day life.
And both my children have excelled in reading at school and read fluently in English & French.
When Hunter was 4 months old on her first Christmas, I decided to choose a special book for her as a keepsake for Christmas.
I have continued that tradition every year since…with the overall goal of building a library of Christmas books that would be keepsakes to be enjoyed from year to year.
The tradition has carried on with both children from birth…..choosing a special book for them each Christmas.
My criteria for choosing their special Christmas book is:
1-It should be newly published that year, if possible.
2-It should be something that reflects the child’s interests that year.
Hunter now has 16 books in her collection.
This beautifully  & vibrantly illustrated book by Mary Engelbreit is her special book for 2011.
{She loves Mary Engelbreit. We used to read Mary Engelbreit’s magazine when she was little and cut out the paper dolls. Remember the page of dolls in her magazine each month? We loved that page!}
So a Christmas book by ME is the perfect choice for her.
{I read on my friend Kathy’s blog that she has an autographed copy of this book! Lucky!}
 And here is 2011’s book with 2 other ME books she has received as her special Christmas book in previous years.
 Hunter loved fairies and angels as a little girl, so some of those themes have been encompassed in previous years special books too…
 And Jan Brett’s fantastically illustrated books have been special books in years past as well…
{That Gingerbread Baby is a funny one….both my kids loved that story!}
 Sometimes her special books have been classics….re-interpreted through different illustrators…
 She got ‘The Polar Express’ the year the movie came out {as did her brother}.
And the ‘Jillian Jiggs’ was a favourite series when she first started school.
 ‘The House of Wooden Santas’ is a classic in our house…. a wonderful story that takes place in Nova Scotia involving a family struggling with the Christmas season.
 The story is beautifully weaved around 24 carved wooden Santas by artist Imelda George.
Both my kids adore this story and they each have a copy.
The story unfolds through 25 short chapters…which makes a continuous story that can be read in a new chapter every day of December leading up to Christmas.
 And each of Hunter’s special books are inscribed by me on the inside so that she knows what year and how old she was when she received the book.
 Tyler has his own special collection of books. Some are the same as his sister’s, but many are different based on his interests.
Since he has quite a sense of humour and loves to laugh…this is his book for 2011, ‘Bad Kitty’.
It’s a funny read about a bad kitty.
The illustrations are hysterical!
 These are the special books that he shares in common with his sister:
 ‘Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear’ is such a wonderful book for young children.
He received this as his special book when he was a tiny toddler.
 The little mouse in this story is just dear.
 And “Here Comes Santa Claus’  as illustrated by Bruce Whatley is told through the eyes of a boy…
 which is not a perspective that is easy to find in a Christmas book.
Here are some of the other treasures in Tyler’s collection. 
He has been interested in trains and animals over the years….so some of his special books  were chosen with those themes in mind.
Here is the adorable pig Pippin in ‘Pippin The Christmas Pig’. 
And Moon the dog and Star the cat in “Moon & Star“…. a really sweet little story.
 And again…some funny Christmas reads to reflect his love of laughter.
 For a few years now, he has loved the Peanuts comics, so 2 years ago, this book was his special book:
 And his books are all inscribed as well, so he will know what year he received each book.
 I am so happy that I started this tradition with my children as now they both have memories of these books being read to them as little people as part of their Christmas memories.
It has become a part of our family culture.
In fact, both children have asked me recently if I have chosen their ‘special’ Christmas book yet.
Sometimes they have a suggestion for me….which I always take!
And here are more of the Christmas books that we have in our home!
{We love reading!}
The children have received many Christmas books over the years as gifts from grandparents, aunts & uncles and from the Scholastic book orders.
 We have more than enough to wrap up as an advent calendar for December…but my kids were not interested in this activity this year.{Sniff. Sniff.}
I love that my children have a collection of special and meaningful Christmas books that will one day go with them to their own house and be read to their children…hopefully.
And I know that these books will also hold  memories of us reading together at Christmas time with warm hugs and smiles and laughter.


This post is linked to these parties:The Girl Creative


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  1. says

    What a fantastic idea! I love the idea of sharing something so simple yet something that they will keep for their children….Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

  2. says

    Thank you for the mention, Angie! Hunter has a much more important autograph in her books ~ yours will mean so much more to her in the years to come. It's funny that I had the same way of thinking with books and my children. Bookcases were just a part of any furniture we would get for their rooms. Every night we would read and my daughter knew Good Night Moon by heart by the time she was 2 1/2!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. says

    I did a Christmas Book Advent for the first time this year and was wishing that we had more of them! I got nearly all from the library, but certainly some of them I would love to have at home. Your tradition is absolutely precious!! In my family, we got an ornament each year. I LOVE the Christmas book idea!! <3

  4. says

    What beautiful books – I'm sure they will be treasured and read for many years. we have a similar basket of books near the kid's tree – lots of books from book exchanges at school a round this time of year and a few special ones I bought, too. I found one of them in Grayson's room yesterday – guess 13 isn't too old to love Santa books (:

  5. says

    Awesome idea. We do a special christmas book wrapped up to open on Christmas Eve with their jammes to wear to bed that night from the pijama elf! We also did/are doing the book advent this year. My son is 6 so he's really enjoying it. On christmas eve we will be reading "the night before christmas" and we will end our advent on christmas with "the christmas story" of jesus birth. My daughter is 1 so she's a to little to get it, but loves to be read to. I'll have to look for a couple of those books, and to think that we don't own "the polar express" yet… hanging my head in shame… =)

  6. says

    What a beautiful collection! Now that my kids are both older, I hesitate to take our collection out of storage each year; but good sense prevails, and I bring them out, no matter how old ANY of us are!!! These books mean the world to me, as they do you; and with all the dear memories each book holds, I can't see NOT bringing them out each year to prominently display and remember!!!.. So I just wanted to say that I loved your post today, and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! ~tina

  7. says

    What a great collection of Christmas books. I'm sure these will be passed on for generations to enjoy!
    Hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday.
    xo E + J

  8. says

    What a great idea, giving them a new Christmas book every year. Reading this makes me wish that I had done this with my grandchildren. Unfortunately, I have not. These books are so beautiful, I love books! I read to my children, when they were little and I have read to my grands as well.
    Hugs, Cindy

  9. says

    I have a Christmas book collection in my classroom, and my mom has one at her house. I need to start one with my kids. We have quite a few Christmas books, but I didn't buy not one new one this year. Maybe after the holiday when things go one sale I'll look for a few to add to our pile! I love books, obviously, since I'm a teacher & all, haha!

  10. says

    I love this tradition and wish I had thought of it when my kids were young. We have a big basket of Christmas books, but they weren't bought especially for each child. Instead we bought them each an ornament that reflected their interests or activities of that year.

    By the way, now that your kids are getting older they might like "A Child's Christmas in Wales". We read it every Christmas Eve and love it.

  11. says

    I found your blog from Not Just a Housewife's linky party. This is my favorite tradition I've seen yet! I don't have children yet, but am pregnant now with my first. I can't wait to start their collection of Christmas books next year!

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