Posted on November 25, 2015 at 6:00 am
Reading Christmas books together as a family is one of my favorite traditions. Even though my siblings and I are all grown-up now, we still love to have my mom read us Christmas stories when we get together for the holidays. The one thing that makes story time even better—a delicious beverage. This year I plan to forgo our traditional hot chocolate and try something new and different.
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite Christmas picture books, along with some new discoveries, and paired them with recipes for delicious holiday drinks you and your family are sure to enjoy. Add a roaring fire, cozy pajamas, and fluffy blankets to create the perfect mood. Cheers!
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a family favorite that we read every year. The widow McDowell and her seven-year-old son Thomas seek out the best wood carver in the valley, Jonathan Toomey, to make them a Christmas creche. A gruff, reserved man, Mr. Toomey has a sad past that he hides behind a Scrooge-like demeanor. Much to his surprise, visits from the widow and her son begin to warm Mr. Toomey’s cold heart.
Warm up with a mug of hot buttered hazelnut whiskey, a drink even old Mr. Toomey couldn’t resist.
Even though it’s difficult to pick a favorite Christmas book, if I had to it would be The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Caldecott Medalist Barbara Cooney’s captivating illustrations perfectly compliment Gloria Houston’s heart-warming story set in the Appalachian mountains. The armistice has been signed but Ruthie’s papa might not make it home in time for Christmas. To make matters worse, this is the year Ruthie’s family is to provide the town’s Christmas tree. You’ll treasure this classic holiday story for years to come.
And why not try two classic holiday beverages combined into one? This recipe for eggnog hot chocolate is absolutely delicious.
Another personal favorite, Apple Tree Christmas is the story of Katrina and her family’s special love for an old apple tree on their farm. When an ice storm destroys the tree, Katrina is filled with grief at the loss of her drawing “studio”. Not only is this story by Trinka Hakes Noble engaging for all ages, the vivid watercolor illustrations are also spectacular.
The Legend of the Poinsettia is Tomie dePaola’s wonderful retelling of a Mexican legend. Lucida and her mother are weaving a brightly colored blanket to offer as a gift to the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. When Lucida’s mother falls ill and Lucida is unable to complete the blanket herself, she must find something else worthy to give. But what gift can Lucida offer? An award-winning author and illustrator, dePaola brings this thoughtful story to life and gives new meaning to what North Americans know today as the Christmas Flower.
Discover with Lucida what makes a gift truly beautiful while sipping on a festive cup of Mexican hot chocolate.
Christmas is almost here, which means Santa Claus is making his list and checking it twice. Will David get a lump of coal or be good enough to make the nice list this year? You’ll laugh out loud reading this simple but hilarious story about mischievous David’s holiday-infused antics.
Add a little extra spice to story time by whipping up a delicious gingersnap milkshake for everyone to enjoy. I think David would certainly approve.