The Frog's Best Picks for Christmas Reading

By now the turkey is eaten and the stuffing is licked clean. You may be ready to do some of that holiday shopping.

I've admitted that by December I'm usually already a little sick of Christmas. But, for me, there's nothing like a good book to put me back in the mood and to remind me what the season is really all about. Christmas books make great gifts for teachers or anyone on your list for whom a scarf will just not do.

Exclusive of some of the obvious books, such as A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Miracle on 34th Street, here are some of my personal favorite Christmas books for children and adults.

Best for Adults Wanting to Re-capture the Christmas Spirit:

The Gift of the Magi by O Henry
This by far is one of my most very favorite stories ever. A husband and wife, finding themselves on hard times, will sacrifice their most prized possessions to get the other a gift. It is the tale of unselfish love and giving that has been the basis of several other stories and movies.

The Greatest Gift by Phillip Van Doren Stern
Did you know that the classic Christmas movie It's a Wonderful Life (which is also one of my favorites) was actually based on this short story? This is the original story in which George Bailey learns that life is a gift and every person is indispensable.

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
Written originally for his daughters and some family members, Evans's story of a widow and the family who moves in with her will make you rediscover the reason for the season.

Letters From Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien
This book by The Lord of the Rings Trilogy author tells the story of life at the North Pole through pictures and drawings the author sent to his own children over a period of 20 years.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
I happen to be a John Grisham fan, and I think this book is funny. It is about a family who decides to, well, skip Christmas one year and go on a cruise instead. The ensuing fallout from neighbors and other family members is what makes this book so hilariously realistic.

The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon
This book reminds me of another of my favorites, The Giving Tree. In this story, an orphaned girl befriends a tree, and when she is an old woman gives the tree up to be THE most famous tree in America. It's a story of love and sharing that love with others.

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
The story of several disgruntled wives and moms who are tired of doing everything at Christmas, this book was turned into a cheesy movie that showed how a little holiday cheer is exactly what everyone needs.

Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen of PIWTPITT
This is a book for anyone who has that crazy mother or mother-in-law who takes holiday decorating just a little too far. It is a quick and fun read by the popular blogger who is always willing to call someone out on their B.S.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.
This book is a collection of stories about Christmas by one of America's favorite humorists. Among the most loved story in the collection is the story of Sedaris's take on working as an elf at a supermarket display during Christmas season.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
What do you get for someone who has everything? This sweet little book has the answer.

Best for Children and Families:

Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Oh, how I remember reading and rereading all of the Little House on the Prairie books as a child. A piece of this classic series reminds us how wonderful Christmas can be especially when it is simple.

Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present by John Burningham
This has to be one of my favorite Christmas books for kids. Harvey is a boy who lives far away and only ever gets one present. When Santa returns home and realizes it's still in his sack, nothing will stop him from delivering it. With repetition and a surprise at the end, it will be one of your kids' favorites, too.

Little Porcupine's Christmas by Joseph Slate
I adore this little story of how everyone fits in during Christmas time. Little porcupine thinks he has no important role in the Christmas play. But when the night of the play arrives, he is given the most important role of all. It is illustrated by Felicia Bond of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fame.

The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
There are so many wonderful things about this time of year, but the narrator just isn't feeling them all. Something's missing. This beautifully illustrated book reminds us what's most important during the Christmas season.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Remember this classic from our childhood days? Written in 1971, it follows the disastrous Herdman family who go to church for the first time after being told that the church offers snacks. Despite protests from other church members, they are given roles in the Sunday school's Christmas play, in which they tell the Christmas story in a nonconventional fashion.

Dream Snow by Eric Carle
I just love anything by Carle. In his whimsical style, he illustrates the story of an old farmer who goes to bed wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow. In the morning he, and we as the reader, gets a surprise.

Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown 
Without this story of our Savior's birth, there really is no Christmas, right? It is illustrated and told in a very simple way that children will understand and enjoy.

Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton
I love the Splat series of books about a little cat who always tries his best. In this installment, Splat is worried about what all kids are worried about this time of year: that he hasn't been good enough to get any presents. So the night before Christmas, he sets about "helping" his mom to ensure his receipt of gifts in the morning.

Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson
This classic 1958 book takes place mainly in the lobby of New York's Plaza hotel as Eloise, who is trying to find a gift her mother left before she departed for Paris, gets wrapped up in the arranged engagement of the hotel owner's daughter and other drama of the hotel residents.

Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
How can you not love this adorably illustrated book of a bear who cannot stay awake for Christmas? Bear's friends do their best to help him stay awake until Christmas.

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I really admire all of you who do your Black Friday shopping and get it all done in one day. I went shopping once when Black Friday was just on Friday (not starting Thanksgiving night as it is now), and I vowed never to do it again. The hot stores, the angry shoppers, the crabby employees - that is so not for me!

Tell us, what are some of your favorite holiday reads?

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