by Lori Ann


Baba and I were married during Advent four years ago, and we’ve always loved the season of preparation and expectation before Christmas. The excitement builds each week as we bake cookies (year’s first batch is in the oven right now), play music, burn cinnamon and vanilla-scented candles, set up the nativity scene (just a few pieces per week!), and read Bible stories each night. This year, our first Christmas as a family of three, we’re adding a new tradition: Advent bedtime stories!

I asked a bunch of other Mamas for their favorite books to prepare their families for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Some are about Christmas specifically, some about winter in general. All are family favorites that we’re adding to our library one year at a time.

  1. The Christmas Star – board book by Marcus Pfister, using his same foil art technique from Rainbow Fish
  2. The Snowy Day – beautiful artwork & story, winner of the Caldecott Medal winner in 1963
  3. The Tailor of Gloucester – what book list would be complete without a relevant read by Beatrix Potter?
  4. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – a beautiful tale for ages 4-9
  5. Silver Packages – an Appalachian folk story
  6. A Certain Small Shepherd – a cute story about a mute boy who experiences a miracle one Christmas day
  7. One Wintry Night – Ruth Graham’s storytelling of the Nativity story and many other Bible stories
  8. The Tale of Three Trees – I’ve loved this book ever since our campus minister read it at a Christmas party. I now have the Chinese/English version!
  9. The Very First Christmas – great for older kids, ages 8-10 or so
  10. Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent – one chapter for each day in Advent, leading up to the story of the Nativity!

What Christmas-time books are your favorites?

You can read my other picks — on topics from pregnancy to homeschooling to Chinese history — at our new “Mama Picks” page, always available under the “Gear” link at the top of every page.