This is my favorite season of the year. We begin all of our Christmas preparations the day after Thanksgiving. We typically start the day by going as a family to the local tree lot and picking out our annual Christmas tree. We then hang the Christmas wreath on the door and bring out all of the Christmas boxes from the garage. These Christmas boxes hold all of our Christmas themed decorations including all of the Christmas books for our daughter.
Each year, we purchase two new Christmas themed books for the season. We give one to our daughter the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the season and then save one book to put in our family Christmas Eve box. The Christmas Eve box is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Each year, we put a collection of items in a Christmas box including a new Christmas book, a new Christmas movie, a new family board game, a set of new Christmas pajamas and socks, as well as popcorn and hot chocolate and open it as a family on Christmas Eve. We open the box after dinner and then watch the movie and play the game together. Then, we read our daughter her new book followed by “The Night Before Christmas” before she falls asleep. We do this each and every year as a family tradition.
I can’t emphasize how important reading is to your child. Every parent is a child’s first teacher. Reading to your child and having your child read on their own (even if it is just flipping the pages and looking at the pictures) is so important to increase language and literacy development. Frequently reading to your child will also increase memory, vocabulary, communication skills, and academic skills. Reading early on to your child will also help with overall school success later in childhood. Your child will also gain social and emotional benefits!
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, 26% of young children who were read to 3-4 times a day by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet compared to 14% of children who were read to less frequently. More than 50% of children who were read to more frequently could also count to 20 or higher, write their own names, and read or at least pretend read. The greater opportunity a child has to read or be read to, including having more books readily available to them in their home, the higher the children are in reading proficiency. Reading even improves math scores!
An added bonus to reading to your child at a young age is you grow a stronger emotional attachment between you and child. I recommend starting to read to your child while they are still in the womb. Your growing child can start to hear sounds from the outside world as early as 23 weeks. According to childtrends.org, “children develop literacy skills and an awareness of language long before they are able to read.”
Please keep in mind that you do not have to spend a lot money on holiday books or any books for that matter. Children’s books typically do not cost a lot of money and the majority of the books I listed below are less than $10, some less than $5. You can always swap books with a friend or family member that also have young children and or you can borrow many of these books from your local library for free!
There are so many benefits to reading, let’s get started on the list of books you can read to your child this holiday season. Try reading at least one book everyday this holiday season. I suggest reading at least one book before bed as part of your child’s bedtime routine and as a way to calm them before they go to sleep.
Book 1: The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (Amazon $4.44)
Book 2: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz (Amazon $5.95)
Book 3: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Amazon $7.50)
Book 4: Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition by Chris Van Allsburg (Amazon $9.99)
Book 5: Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition by Carol V. Aebersold (Amazon $29.95)
Book 6: Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney (Amazon $5.99)
Book 7: Merry Christmas Daniel Tiger! by Angela C. Santomero (Amazon $4.42)
Book 8: Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney (Amazon $14.30)
Book 9: The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson (Amazon $2.86)
Book 10: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Amazon $8.42)
Book 11: The Berenstain Bears “Joy of Giving” by Jan Berenstain (Amazon $3.70)
Book 12: Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson (Amazon $8.54)
Book 13: The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert (Amazon $10.16)
Book 14: Mickey’s Clubhouse Christmas by Disney Book Group (Amazon $6.99)
Book 15: Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle (Amazon $7.99)
If you do not celebrate Christmas, I also listed the Top 5 Chanukah books below! There is even a book for children that celebrate both Christmas and Chanukah.
Book 1: Elmo’s Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg (Amazon $4.60)
Book 2: Where is Baby’s Dreidel? By Karen Katz (Amazon $6.00)
Book 3: My First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola (Amazon $5.20)
Book 4: How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? By Jane Yolen (Amazon $10.99)
Book 5: My Two Holidays: A Hanukkah and Christmas Story by Danielle Novack (Amazon $5.99)
Happy reading and happy holidays!
Copyright 2015 The Parentologist