December is here, the time we celebrate the greatest story of all—the advent of a holy baby/Savior. Of course, my favorite version of the Christmas story is found in Scripture, but I love that the spirit of that story can be found in countless venues and styles of story.
So I thought I’d share my favorite Christmas books and videos with you fellow storytellers, in case you’re looking for something to watch or read. And I’d love to have you share your favorites as well.
Here you go!
Miracle on 34th St (the Maureen O’Hara version, of course)
Christmas in Connecticut (the Barbara Stanwyck version)
Ernest Saves Christmas (Yes, seriously. Cracks me up every year. “Them’s pizen snakes!”)
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
Babes in Toyland
The Holiday Inn
Die Hard (What can I say? It’s a tradition with my husband and I.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original animated version. LOVE Boris Karloff’s “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch…”)
Muppets’ Christmas Carol (“Light the lamp! Not the rat!”)
The Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)
It’s a Wonderful Life
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Christmas Pudding
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (I adore this story. “Hey! Unto you a child is born!”)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie
And I’ve ordered a new book that I just discovered: Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien. What fun!
So how about you?
Every year I try to read at least some of Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. It’s Mary and Joseph’s love story. Beautifully written. And the movie, The Christmas Card, is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for your list, Karen.
I reread The Nativity Story by Angela Hunt (mostly because it’s a book I gift every few years). My favorite is Wintersong by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw which contains short readings: essays, excepts, and poetry. We like to watch the Alastair Sims’ A Christmas Carol (Dickens). And for laughs, though not Christmas themed, we bring out Mouse Hunt once each year. Nothing makes us laugh like that one, except maybe Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Every Christmas, we read,
The story of Holly and Ivy by Rummer Godden,
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey,
A Certain Small Shepard by Rebecca Caudill
Great list! I love the Christmas Pageant book you mentioned!
We also love The Christmas Story movie (You’ll shoot your eye out!)
Oh, and Christmas Vacation.
Thank-you for this wonderful list! My contribution, to read aloud: The Story of Holly and Ivy, by Rumer Godden. A lonely doll in a toy shop and an orphan girl find each other during (what else) a British Christmas. Lovely illustrations by Barbara Cooney. My daughters are in their twenties, and the last time we read it together was, um, several years ago. Now my eldest reads it to her first-grade class. Merry Christmas!
Love your list. A lot of my favorites, too. Merry Christmas!
A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a tradition since I was a little girl, and it has carried on to my own children now! A few years ago, the meaning went even deeper when I learned that as Linus was telling the Christmas story on stage, right at the point where he talked about the angels saying “Fear not!”, was the first time in that particular cartoon where fearful Linus actually dropped his security blanket. The symbolism of Linus letting go of his many fears at the news of his Savior really touched me. So now I love it even more!
I LOVE the Muppet Christmas Carol. My husband has collected every version of “A Christmas Carol” that he can find on DVD, and the Muppet version is my favorite because of the music. I can close my eyes and draw up the image of Scrooge tromping though the town during the opening number. Tiny Tim’s song at the table touches my heart every time I hear it.
I agree with Jennifer about “A Christmas Story” as a great video. Ralphie and his Red Rider BB gun get me laughing every time.
Favorite Christmas book of all time: Joni Eareckson Tada’s A Christmas Longing.
A timely list and I’m going to use it. Thanks. And I appreciate readers’ comments.
As a member of the grammar patrol, I would like to correct one phrase: “with my husband and I” should be: with my husband and me.
A few days ago I watched “Mister Scrooge to See You!”. It became an immediate new favorite for me. Sent by Jacob Marley’s ghost 170 years into the future, to “the colonies”, Ebenezer Scrooge encounters a cold & greedy world, with a cutthroat businessman named Timothy Cratchit. Stars David Ruprecht. Salty Earth Pictures, distributed by Vision Video. While the info on the back says “lighthearted and entertaining” I would add that the setting feels authentic (filmed in Fort Atkinson, WI) and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep a viewer fully engaged. I would give it 5 stars!
Sheri Dean Parmelee
Karen, I am a serious fan of White Christmas, though I have also enjoyed Ernest Saves Christmas (my younger son was in an Ernest phase and we saw every movie, more times than I care to admit). I love the other movies as well, but those are my two favorites.
I love Whitney Houston singing and Denzel Washington in “The Preacher’s Wife,” and Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven in the same story without the singing, “The Bishop’s Wife.” The old “Christmas in Connecticut,” too. And for books, if you can find it, the love story, _Lost Shepherd_ by Agnes Sanford, which ends with a Christmas Pageant.
James L. Rubart
YES! The George C. Scott version, that’s our fave too!
Thanks, everyone, for sharing your favorites. You’ve given me some new ones to try, so thanks for sharing the gift of story with me!