Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Books That Make Me Cry {Repost}

{A repost from 2009 that still holds true today.}

The mark of a good Christmas book, for me, is that it makes me cry. We have a good number of children's books for Christmas, and I try to add a new book each year. We have some of the essential ones like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, popular ones like The Polar Express and some silly but sentimental ones like Mercer Mayer's Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, starring Little Critter. Some of the books we give the obligatory seasonal read and then put back on the rack.

But I have my favorites. These are the books that, without fail, make me cry at some point. My voice catches, a child's head pops up and looks at me and says, "Mama! Are you crying again?" I can't help it.

1. The Tale of the Three Trees (retold by Angela Elwell Hunt): This book ties it all together—Jesus' birth, life, and death—in a simple but eloquent story. I get choked up on almost every page.

2. The Story of Holly and Ivy (by Rumer Godden): This one takes us a couple of reading periods to get through, but it is so well worth it. This is the story of an orphan who wants a grandmother, a doll who wants a home, and a woman who wants a family. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

3. The House Without a Christmas Tree (by Gail Rock): I loved this TV special when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I'd ever read the book until a few years ago when I picked it up at a yard sale. Now my daughter and I read this story annually of a girl who begs her father for a Christmas tree, and I always cry at the end.

4. A Wish for Wings That Work (by Berkeley Breathed): Is it weird to get weepy over a book about a penguin named Opus? I can't help it; there's something about Santa saying, "Ho, ho, ho, go!" to a penguin whose wings don't work that brings tears every time. Also, this was one of the books we bought for our oldest for his first Christmas, so it's extra sentimental.

5. The First Night (by B.G. Hennessy): This short book starts off with one of my favorite Bible verses: "And the World became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14) and proceeds to tell the birth of Christ in simple but poetic text. I especially love the rustic look of the paintings, done on butternut wood and shaped with a jigsaw. It's the simplicity of a birth—of a new life—that gets me every time.

And so those are my Top 5 favorite Christmas books. I have to add another one that takes awhile to read but is so well worth it: The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff. This one isn't for the youngest readers, but 9 and up will love it.

Do you have one that makes you cry? If so, leave a comment and I'll check it out! Here are a few collected from comments:

The Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston (I can't wait to check this one out!!)
Jotham's Journey (This one's been on my to-read list for years!)
Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis


  1. I think I might have commented on this post before, but I'll mention some Christmas books that make me cry:
    Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
    Santa Calls by William Joyce - mostly adventurous, but the ending makes me cry

    We've been traveling the last two weekends, so today we will get the tree and put up decorations and our Christmas books will come down from the attic. I'll have to see if I come up with any others for your list.


  2. I have my own Christmas book library because they are so special. These are some of our favorites:

    Traditional Nativity Stories
    The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene - this one is great for the youngest child
    A Shepherd's Gift by Mary Calhoun
    The Shepherd's Christmas Story by Dandi Daley Mackall
    The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas - this is one of my favorites as the angel Gabriel comes to Mary wearing combat boots and later the blessed mother really does look great with child

    Sentimental Christmas Tales
    A Cowboy Christmas by Audrey Wood
    The Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke
    Papa Panov's Special Day adapted by Mig Holder from original story by Leo Tolstoy - my copy from childhood
    Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
    A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill - tear jerker
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski - another tear jerker
    The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston - another tear jerker

    Best Christmas Book Ever by Richard Scarry - another from my childhood and a favorite of the boys
    Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff


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