The Christmas Tree Library


When the girls were growing up, we read a story or two every night before bed. I know you know that delightful scent of a just-bathed child curled up in your lap with a book. Heaven!

And extra heavenly is when the first day of December arrives, and we get to pull down all of our Christmas books. I put them in a basket right under the tree. While our tree waits for presents to arrive, this basket of books is gift aplenty.

My girls are all taller than I am now, so they can’t really sit in my lap … comfortably anyway. But, when they come home for the holidays, I will often see them pull out a favorite book from the basket, curl up on the sofa, and remember.

You might want to add this little holiday decoration to your own house. Depending on the style of your decor, you could put them in all kinds of containers from a wrapped box to a red wagon. Oooo, I wonder if I need a red wagon? No, Cathy, you do not!

Here are some of our favorites that you might want to try if you are just starting your tree library. I put them in the order that their book jackets are worn and tattered:

1) The Sweet Smell of Christmas, A Golden Scratch ‘n Sniff Book, by Patricia Scarry, pictures by J.P. Miller.

I have to admit that this one is the most frayed, and, in fact, we are on our third copy, due to its scents having been sniffed away over time. Because of this book, Santa has not ever forgotten to place a juicy orange in the stockings, even if it has meant a midnight run to the grocery store.

2) The Polar Express, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.

And here is a tale about a little girl who had the chance to meet the writer of the story she loved.

3) Mousekin’s Christmas Eve, story and pictures by Edna Miller.

We have had this book since 1986! Its book jacket looks like it could be used as nesting material for Mousekin himself.

4) Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider, illustrated by Elizabeth J. Miles.

Who would ever guess that a small little pine tree could have such a big heart? This story added a little magic to many of our tree-choosing occasions, when we could discover the little gaps and imperfections that made our tree perfect.

5) A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, and there are many versions, but our favorite is illustrated by Beth Peck.

When your children are a little older, this is a wonderful book to read together. You might read it first so you can decide if your child is ready for it. When we read it these days, my girls still have to say, “Oh no, is Mom going to cry this year, again?” Even though I have to use a tissue at the end, the happy memories throughout the story will keep you smiling all season long.

There are so many more, but those are our top five most tattered. What are your favorites? Please share so that new moms and dads can begin to collect their Christmas tree library collection. Merry reading!


  1. Barb Jansen December 17, 2013

    So sweet! You should definitely add “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree” by Robert Barry. It is my favorite!

  2. Author
    Cathy Heck December 17, 2013

    Oh boy … a new Christmas book for the tree library … and we’ll think of you, Barbara, every time we read it!

  3. Hannah Kosek December 18, 2013

    I would recommend Harold Hark: the angel who couldn’t sing from Amazon. Course I’m kinda biased since I wrote and illustrated it… but it a sweet story anyway. ;)

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