Top seven recommended readings this Christmas

Among the hustle and bustle of panicked Christmas preparation and celebration, take time to sit down, read and enjoy the holidays. Drawing from her expertise in children's literature and her 20 years as a secondary and post-secondary teacher, Trinity Western University instructor Monika Hilder, PhD, offers a suggested Christmas reading list that will benefit young and old alike. Take as little as five minutes for some—or put another log on the fire for others—and enjoy.

1. Probity Jones and the Fear Not Angel, Walter Wangerin, Jr. (Augsburg)

What can Christmas mean to a disappointed, bullied, sick child of a worn out single mother? A contemporary tale where a young child in the inner city encounters and travels with The Fear Not Angel to the first Christmas pageant. In this marvelous story Wangerin is, as ever, at his best.

2. Christmas Readings to Recapture the Wonder of the Season (Harold Shaw Publishers)

This collection of stories and poems includes work by authors as diverse as Hans Christian Anderson, Edgar Allan Poe, G.K. Chesterton, Christina G. Rossetti, and Katherine Paterson. Their words invite us to take time to ponder and enjoy the following themes: expectation, wonder, joy, and hope.

3. The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald (Chariot Classics)

This collection of short stories by the Victorian 'granddaddy' of children's fantasy literature includes stories such as “My Uncle Peter,” “A Scot's Christmas Story,” “The Gifts of the Child Christ,” and the poem, “King Cole.” Celebrating the natural beauty of his native Scotland as well as portraying life in London, these readings convey the author's deep sense of childlikeness as an image of the divine.

4. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas

In this enchanting tale Thomas creates an old-fashioned picture book Christmas from a child's point of view. An atmosphere of spirituality and mystery pervades the story.

5. Angels and Other Strangers: Family Christmas Stories, and A Midnight Clear: Twelve Family Stories for the Christmas Season, Katherine Paterson

Many of these stories concern outcasts and the many meanings of Christmas. Each character gains a blessing for him or herself while benefiting others.

6. Christmas Stories from Grandma's Attic, Arleta Richardson (Chariot Books)

Fans of the Grandma's Attic Series will not want to miss this collection of stories that take place in America from 1882 to 1933. Stories such as “Cranberries and Popcorn,” “Quarantined Christmas,” and “Grandma's Christmas Cake,” convey the comfort and joy of long ago Christmases.

7. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

“This year,” one of my children insisted, “we should read A Christmas Carol aloud as a family.” Agreed. This classic tale of Christmas cheer has enchanted generations since its publication in 1843. Why? In a world that tends to measure worth in material terms, and ignore the genuine wealth of love and kindness, Charles Dickens invites his readers to explore the true meaning of Christmas and be wonderfully transformed.

Monika Hilder, PhD, is an Instructor in English and Education at Trinity Western University and lives in Surrey, B.C. with her husband and three kids. Last June she was awarded the coveted dean's convocation medal in graduate studies for her PhD work in children's literature from Simon Fraser University.

Last Updated: 2015-07-20
Author: Keela Keeping