December 13, 2010

Top Ten for Tuesday, December 14

To me, Christmas is a time to be with your family, a time to be thankful for what you have, and giving to those who have less than you do.   I love sharing Christmas traditions with my little family each year.  We always make a gingerbread house, decorate cookies, go to the Santa House about 30 times, and decorate the tree.  Last year we started the tradition of having hot fudge sundaes for Christmas Eve dessert... and I guess the Butcher's get to see how much chocolate, caramel and whip cream they can ingest before Santa comes!  Kiley has talked more about the hot fudge sundaes than anything else we have ever done.  I don't remember reading many Christmas books as a child- except for "The Night Before Christmas", which I had to memorize for a Girl Scout badge (and can still recite by heart, thanks Sue Henry).   Here are my 10 favorite Christmas books to share with my girls...what are yours?

 1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (E SEU)
No matter how many times I have read this book or seen the cartoon in the last 37 years, each time I read it, it is like I am seeing it for the first time.  It is hard to believe that someone can hate Christmas as much as the Grinch does... and he will stop at nothing to ruin Christmas for the Whos.  My heart breaks for his little dog Max, and for Little Cindy Lou Who, who wakes up to find "St. Nick" shoving her Christmas Tree up the Chimney.  My girls love this book as much as I do.  Is there anyone in the USA who hasn't read this book?

2.  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburgh (E VAN)
Not only is this beautiful, the message is touching.  I cry every time the little boy comes home thinking he has lost his jingle bell, but Santa has brought him a new one on Christmas morning- and his parents can't hear the jingle bell because they don't believe.  GOOSEBUMPS!  I taught kindergarten with Mrs. Bower a few years back- and she told me the story of how she read The Polar Express to her kindergarten class.  There was 1 boy in her class that refused to believe- he gave her a hard time through the entire book.  After she read the book, she passed jingle bells out to all of the children, and when they rang their bells- there was 1 bell that didn't ring... and it belonged to the little boy who refused to believe.  True. Story. 

3.  Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor by Yin (E YIN)
This is the sweet story of 2 little boys who live on the 19th floor of their apartment building in a rough neighborhood.  They boys are so worried that Santa will never find them in an apartment- especially since they don't have a chimney.  The boys write a letter to Santa... and he comes to their house... sleigh and all.  Very, very sweet story.  This book is beautifully illustrated by past visiting author, Chris Soenpiet.

4.  The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (811 MOO)
It was a tradition in my family to read The Night Before Christmas before we opened our presents on Christmas Eve.  We would sit around my Grandma's white flocked Christmas Tree with blue ornaments and lights, and listen to my Uncle Tom read the story... anticipating the end, when we could rip into our gifts.  My Grandma died 2 weeks before Christmas and I will never forget that year... we all sat there around the tree that she had decorated, not knowing what to do.  My Uncle took out the book, and we all took turns reading.  When we were done, we opened presents that my Grandma had bought, and wrapped especially for us... I can't listen to this story without thinking about that Christmas- I was 12 years old.

5. Snowmen at Christmas by Carolun Buehner (E BUE)
Have you ever wondered what snowmen do on Christmas?  They do exactly what we do, of course!  They sing, they dance, they eat and they spend time with family! The only difference is that they do it all after the sun goes down, and they make it back to your house before you even get up in the morning!  When I read this to kids, they love the fact that the snowmen drink cold cocoa instead of hot!

6.  Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson (E NEL)
I loved this as a child!  Each year, we would gather around the tv and watch Frosty the Snowman on channel 2 (followed by Rudolph!)  This was also my favorite Christmas song as a child.  It wasn't until I was older that I realized that this song/movie was also a book... this is one of the most popular books in the library during the month of December!

7.  The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (E BRI)
This is a beautiful wordless picture book that is illustrated in pastel picture frames... like a movie picture board.  A little boy builds a snowman, goes to sleep and awakes to see the snowman has come to life.  The snowman takes the little boy on a journey as they fly together to where else... the North Pole where they meet Santa.  This book is also a very sweet movie... no words, just beautiful music, "Walking on Air".

8.  Olivia Helps With Christmas by Ian Falconer (E FAL)
Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the holidays!  This is a book about how families get ready for Christmas... all of the preparations that families go through together.  Falconer based this book on all of the preparations he and his family went through getting ready for Santa's arrival when he was a boy.

9. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff (E NUM)
If you take a mouse to the movies, he'll ask for popcorn. When you bring him some, it will remind him of Christmas and he'll want to string it...then he'll demand a tree to hang it from...seeing the snow on the ground will make him want to build a snowmouse, then a snow fort, a snow fort fight...and on and on. This little mouse is as busy and demanding as ever in this fourth book of the series.

10. Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas by Russell Hoban (F HOB)
This story is incredibly sweet! It's about Emmet Otter and his Ma trying to scrape together enough money for a Christmas present for each other. As each risks everything to surprise the other, a touching adventure unfolds in which they learn the true meaning wealth. Beautiful illustrations!

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