There’s nothing I like more than visiting a book store this time of year. It’s great anytime, but walking into the warmth of a cozy book store, with the smell of glue and paper in the air, all decorated for the holidays with gift ideas out on display, just helps get me in the holiday spirit.

So in that spirit, I decided to use this blog space to share some of my favorite Christmas books and stories. It’s a time of year when classics are as welcome and loved as new stories, and it never ceases to amaze me how every year new books are published with a Christmas theme. It just never gets old! Here are the ones that I have enjoyed reading on my own or with my children.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. I was introduced to this book just a few years ago, but it instantly became one of my favorites. Probably because I live just an hour or so away from Tweetsie Railroad and Grandfather Mountain, both of which are named in this book, but also because the story itself, about a little girl whose daddy has gone off to war, is so touching and relatable.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It was great when I was a kid, and it’s still great now. We’ve probably all struggled with questions about how to help out our neighbors who are less fortunate and how to include them in our own festivities, and this story does a great job of showing how much it means to include everyone.

The Gift of the Magi. This short story by O. Henry might just be one of his most famous, and it’s no wonder why. The sweet story of young newlyweds Della and Jim is both heart wrenching and heartwarming. You can read it in its entirety online, but I still would rather bring out my tattered book.

A Christmas Memory. Truman Capote’s short story is more autobiographical than fiction, and depicts a sweet Christmas season shared with family the made lasting memories.

On the Banks of Plum Creek. Many of Laura Ingals Wilder’s books in the Little House Series describe special Christmas memories and traditions, but this one always stuck in my head. They have a horrible blizzard, and are worried about how Santa Clause will come, but they all end up having a special Christmas together.