In no particular order here are our current top ten (if you are interested in getting hold of any of the books you can click on the title for a link to purchasing the book, cheaply where possible from Green Metropolis or eBay, or as a last resort, Amazon):
Father Christmas Raymond Briggs. Illustrations only, with a few speech bubbles, this book is takes the form of a comic strip. We love this grumpy Father Christmas! "Blooming Christmas here again!"
The Jolly Christmas Postman Janet and Allan Ahlberg. The jolly postman visits various fairytale characters at Christmas delivering letters and goodies which are included in the book, so there are all sorts of puzzles and mini books and a beautiful unfolding peep-show, which makes this a truly interactive book. The text takes the form of rhyming verse.
Christmas Farmyard Tales Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright. Not my favourite book but my kids have always loved lifting all the flaps and hunting for Ginger the kitten who hides on each page.
Lucy and Tom's Christmas Shirley Hughes. I'm a huge Shirley Hughes fan, and adore this book which allows us to accompany Lucy and Tom as they prepare for Christmas. I love the part at the end of Christmas day where Tom has got rather excited and cross and he and Grandpa go for a walk together "just the two of them", as the sun goes down, to calm down.
Barefoot Books come into their own where festivals from all cultures are concerned. The following three books are all published by Barefoot:
The Miracle of the First Poinsettia, A Mexican Christmas story by Joanne Oppenheim, is " a miracle story that reminds us of the true spirit of giving".
Babushka Sandra Ann Horn. A retelling of the traditional Babushka tale.
A Child's Christmas in Wales Dylan Thomas. "Dylan Thomas's magical account of his own childhood and a Christmas Day in a small Welsh town is vividly brought to life by Edward Ardizonne's wonderful illustrations". This is one book in our collection that I would like to upgrade one day to a larger hardback version, in order to enjoy the illustrations even more. As you'd imagine the writing and description of Christmas is poetic and evocative. Who can forget the section on Christmas day where, "The dog was sick. Aunt Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Aunt Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush."
The Dark is Rising Susan Cooper. Sue on the Quince Tree blog was listening to the audio book version of this last Christmas, so when I spotted the paperbook in a charity shop earlier this year I snapped it up. We are reading this Puffin classic aloud at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it (even though I for one, am not a great lover of the fantasy genre) - very wintry and an exciting story.
A Christmas Memory Truman Capote. Another blog recommendation from last year, although I can't remember where from. Short and sweet - a good read.
How about you? Any favourite Christmas reads?