Monday, December 17, 2012
Classic Christmas Books that Kids Will Love
BY Jack Meyer
Classic Christmas Books that Kids Will Love
The Christmas season is a great time to share with your children the books you loved growing up. There are so many classic Christmas tales out there that you still remember from your childhood. These books have a timeless quality that will make your children fall in love with them also. Even newer Christmas books have an appeal with the snowy scenes and cute illustrations. Take some time this Christmas season to sit down and read a few of these great Christmas books with your children:
1. The Twelve Days of Christmas – This classic English folk song was first recorded in the 1780s, but is much older than that. Many versions of this song have been collected in children’s books to be read aloud during the Christmas season. Those books usually have colorful pictures depicting the partridge in a pear tree, the two turtle doves, the three French hens, the four calling birds, the five golden rings, the six geese a laying, the seven swans a swimming, the eight maids a milking, the nine ladies dancing, the ten lords a leaping, the eleven pipers piping, and the twelve drummers drumming that the lover gives to his lady. This classic song is a part of many of our childhoods and should be shared with the next generation. I can remember my grandmother and I singing along as we turned the pages, excited to see what the next illustration would hold. It is also great for children because not only does it come in song form, but the repetitive nature of the song makes it easy for them to learn and repeat.
2. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann –The classic ballet was originally based upon this story. Written in 1816, Tchaikovsky composed the ballet around the central story of a young girl and her love for her favorite toy, a nutcracker. The exciting tale of the nutcracker and his battle against the mice is one that children will love. This book is also a great way to prepare them for the ballet, as taking children to see the Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many families. However the story can be scary for some children if they do not know what will happen in advance. Treat your children to a story time with this tale and then they can learn to enjoy the ballet version even more, and so, probably, will you.
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Doctor Seuss –I am sure that many of the children have already seen the cartoon or live action version of this story, but the Dr. Seuss classic is one that everyone will love to read over and over again. There is just something about the colorful and fanciful illustrations and fun rhymes that make this story, and any Dr. Seuss book, a childhood favorite. When the Grinch, a mean green monster, decides he hates Christmas he tries to ruin it for all the Whos in Whoville by stealing their Christmas presents and decorations. However when they celebrate Christmas anyway he realizes that Christmas is more than presents and decorations. His heart softens and he returns the gifts to the Whos, becoming part of their celebration. This is a great story to teach children how Christmas really should be. Not presents or wants but love and friends and family.
4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May – This is a great story for any child who feels like they do not fit in with the other kids. Rudolph has a very shiny nose that draws all kinds of the wrong attention. He is ridiculed and made fun of by the other reindeer. That is until one foggy Christmas Eve Santa calls on him to save the day. This is a great story to teach children how important it is to accept others and accept their differences. We are all unique for a reason. The song that is based on this story, written in 1939, has become one we all know and love to sing. Your kids will have a blast singing and reading along to Rudolph’s tale of sorrow and victory.
5. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore – The famous poem was written in 1823 and is arguably the most famous poem ever written by an American. Before that time the idea of Santa varied greatly from culture to culture, but after the poem was made famous the idea of Santa as a ‘jolly old elf’ was cemented in everyone’s imaginations. The classic rhyme and fun images will have kids glued to their seats. I know it is a tradition to read this right before we all go to bed on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting Santa’s delivery for our morning celebration. We even get all the names of the reindeer from this popular poem, so there is a lot for kids to learn by reading along.
6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens –This classic redemptive tale may be set in old England, but the story rings true to this day. When Ebenezer Scrooge finds himself face to face with his late business partner Marley’s ghost he has a lot of explaining to do. Through three visits from helpful Christmas spirits Scrooge learns what Christmas is all about and how he should treat his fellow man. Finally realizing his stingy and heartless attitude is wrong; he repents and becomes a kind and generous friend to everyone. This heartwarming story may be a bit long for the kiddies in its original form, but there are shortened versions with great illustrations available for younger kids. All in all it is one of my favorite Christmas stories and a tradition to read year after year. The movie adaptations of this story are also a Christmas tradition in my family. We all watch multiple versions of it as they all vary. I personally like the musical version made in the 1970s because of its fun songs, colorful characters and happy ending.
7. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg –This book was written in 1985, but it has quickly become a Christmas tradition for many families. It has even had a movie based off of it. The story is about a young boy who gets on a train to the North Pole. He receives the first gift of the Christmas season from Santa himself, a bell, but loses it on the ride home. That Christmas morning he finds the bell wrapped up under his tree but only those who believe in Santa can hear it ring. The story is calm and the illustrations are beautiful, making it a great holiday bedtime story for children.
These are just a few of the many, many great Christmas themed books out there that you can read with your children. The classics are always fun but every year they come up with new and inventive ways to help children to learn the true meaning of Christmas and what it is all about. Enjoy time with your children and the rest of your family this Christmas season by sharing a great story and a tradition all your own. You do not have to be a parent to share a story with children. Volunteer at a local library, read to your nieces and nephews, or read to children at the hospital. There are always opportunities to share both your love of reading and your generous Christmas spirit with kids and adults during this season and throughout the year. Happy reading and have a very merry Christmas!
Jack Meyer is a regular contributor for: http://www.nannybackgroundcheck.com/. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.