As those of you following would know, I’ve been celebrating Christmas since early October. The rest of polite society is now catching up – the town Christmas tree is lit, shopping centre Santas are waiting patiently for the onslaught of dribbling, blubbering pants-wetting masses, and a certain radio station has started playing Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas at around the same time I’m doing the morning school runs.
Many children adore the lead up to Christmas, and good Christmas stories are a great way to keep them excited – not to mention refining their literacy skills. Us ‘older kids’ also benefit from yuletide-themed stories as a way to keep up our Christmas spirits as we go through the motions of gift shopping and Christmas meal planning.
We have compiled a list of our favourite Christmas books that will please everyone, young and old(er).
Olive, the other Reindeer – Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold
As someone who regularly gets song lyrics wrong (e.g. What’s love, cock-a-doo, cock-a-doodle-doo), the premise of this cute Christmas tale appeals greatly to me.
Upon hearing the line from the song Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, “All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names”, Olive the dog mistakenly hears “Olive, the other reindeer” and decides that her destiny lies in being a member of Santa’s reindeer team. She hops aboard the Polar Express and heads to the North Pole. But will Santa and the reindeer appreciate her efforts?
Where’s Santa? – Bryony Jones, illustrated by Chuck Whelon
Like Where’s Wally, Where’s Santa will keep young children occupied and drive people of all ages crazy as they try to spot Santa and his elves.
Snowmen at Christmas – Carol Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner
Ever wondered what snowmen get up to at Christmas time? Wonder no more with this beautifully illustrated story that uses playful rhyming verse to solve the mystery.
TWEENS AND YOUNG TEENS
Father Christmas Heard a Fart – Olaf Falafel
This book by comedian Olaf Falafel (probably not his real name) is the festive follow up to the popular “Old MacDonald Heard a Fart”. But don’t worry – you don’t need to have read the first book to understand the second.
Father Christmas is preparing to deliver the presents for Christmas day – but he keeps getting distracted by some rather rude noises. Join his quest to get to the bottom (hee hee) of where these noises are coming from.
Horrible Christmas – Terry Deary and Martin
The popular Horrible Histories series has brought out its Christmas special, and not only is it horribly hilarious but you’ll learn a lot about rotten recipes, curious Christmas customs and cruel yule disasters.
OLDER TEENS AND ADULTS
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
I’ve enjoyed so many variations of this story (e.g. Muppet, Family Ties, Barbie) that I’m well overdue to pay homage to the original.
This Charles Dickens classic tells the tale of a miserly moneylender called Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Together they warn of a bleak and lonely future unless Scrooge reforms his ways.
The Stupidest Angel – Christopher Moore
A young boy from the small town Pine Cove has witnessed Santa take a shovel to the head. Now he only has one wish for Christmas – to have Santa be brought back from the dead. The Archangel Raziel hears this wish and is on the mission. Unfortunately, Raziel is not the brightest bauble on the tree and botches things up with gusto, wreaking havoc for the residents in Pine Cove. Think mega storms and zombies. Yes zombies. Merry Christmas!
The House on Hope St – Danielle Steel
After a diet of prophetic ghosts and Christmas zombies, this Danelle Steel novel is the perfect antidote. Yes there are still somewhat dark ‘adult themes’ – death for example. But you just know there will be a romantic and fuzzy happy ending which is sometimes just what you need for Christmas.
The story tells of Liz and Jack, who have the perfect life until a Christmas morning tragedy tears them apart. Suddenly, Liz is left to care for their five kids alone. The novel spans the year from that tragic Christmas to the next Christmas, with more heartache but also great joy and romance along the way.