… 7 of the Best Children’s Books for Christmas
No Christmas list would be complete without this beautiful book about friendship and adventure. Can any story offer a more heart-wrenching moment than the image of the melted snowman in the boy’s garden?! As proof of its brilliance, the book’s legacy extends beyond the hugely popular animation that pops up on TV each year – there is also a Snowman play (where the characters fly across the stage in harnesses and ‘snow’ falls over the audience) and – courtesy of the 80s – a groovy looking Snowman video game. There’s your Christmas wish list sorted!
That’s Not My Elf/Reindeer/Snowman…
A great range of books for littlies. Each of them is touchy feely and children are encouraged to engage with what they see. We learn that the elf’s hat is too sparkly! The snowman’s scarf is too fluffy! The reindeer’s neck is too fuzzy! And there is a bonus little mouse to be found on every page. Perfect for an overload of cute.
The Jolly Christmas Postman
Another touchy feely classic, this Christmas version of the fantastic Jolly Postman series is just as fun as the rest. Among those receiving letters are Mr H. Dumpty (spending the holidays in a hospital ward, unfortunately), the gingerbread boy at McVitie House and one Mister Wolf. There is so much to look at and open up in these books that they really can be read again and again. Plus, The Jolly Christmas Postman also comes with a miniature jigsaw! What’s not to love?!
The Little Match Girl
Of all the stories told around Christmas time, this is the one that has stayed with me the longest. Maybe because it’s written by fairytale heavyweight Hans Christian Andersen, or because it is all about a young girl, or maybe just because it is very very sad. There is a glimmer of redemption in this otherwise tragic tale – for anyone unfamiliar with the plight of the Little Match Girl, I highly recommend that you look it up. Don’t forget the tissues!
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Dylan Thomas’s tale of Christmas past will take you on a lovely trip down memory lane. Nostalgic without being overly sentimental, his descriptions of holidays gone by will strike a chord with many – we have brandy and gravy dinners, unwanted balaclavas knitted by elderly aunts, snowmen knocked down by little brothers. There is also, of course, lots and lots of snow and the annual appearance of mysterious relatives … as the child narrator wisely observes, ‘There are always Uncles at Christmas.’
From Wales to Russia … The Story of Babushka is one of many Christmas tales from around the world that has gained popularity in British culture. The story goes that a short time before Jesus’ birth, an old lady named Babushka is visited by three wise men following a star. In return for her hospitality, they tell Babushka all about their plans and invite her to join them. She agrees to come, but sets off too late and is then doomed to forever wander the world, searching for the young king. Wherever she goes, she leaves toys for the children she passes and so has become a poignant alternative to the figure of Santa Claus.
Krampus: The Devil of Christmas
… And, to finish our list, we go from Russia to Austria! Krampus the Christmas Devil is truly terrifying. Another alternative to Santa Claus, Austro-Bavarian legend has it that Krampus (half-goat, half-demon) punishes naughty children when Christmas time comes around. The livelier version of a lump of coal in your stocking – steer clear if you don’t fancy nightmares well into the New Year!
Words by Chris Young.