Every December my mom got out the Christmas box. Among all the goodies - the white porcelain music box that played "Silent Night," the red candle with my birthdate on it, the homemade knickknacks we kids made in school - was a stack of holiday books. Each year, as my reading level advanced, I fell in love with a new Christmas story. Those stories still speak to me now, and it's hard to know if they're really good, or if it's just the nostalgia.
My favorite, read-every-year holiday story is "The Gift of the Magi," a short story by O. Henry.
I used to love "Jello Christmas." It's not quite as compelling as I remembered it, but the message is still a good one.
On That Night, a beautiful novella by Elizabeth Yates, centers around the quote at the beginning: "Among the many legends surrounding Christmas Eve, there is one that states that on that night, lost things are found again."
I often read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, an oldie but goodie that teaches a lesson, paints a picture of England circa 1840, and offers a plethora of quotable lines.
"The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth" is a classical Readers Digest short story by Rev. Howard C Schade.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a humorous Christmas read for kids and adults alike. I read it to my students this year, laughed so hard I had to quit reading, and then almost cried at the end.
The Blue Carbuncle, a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is set in the days surrounding Christmas.
Then there are the books with holiday chapters or scenes: The opening of Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott, with the sisters grouped around the crackling fire. The Christmas chapters in The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Who can forget Anne's happiness with the beautiful Christmas dress from Matthew in Anne of Green Gables? Better still are the chapters in Anne of Windy Poplars when Anne takes bitter, unhappy Katherine home for a Green Gables Christmas.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Which holiday books or stories did I miss and which are your favorites?