Three holiday titles for the consumption-averse parent

Oh no! Santa is in the joint! Someone better spring him quick or Christmas will be ruined! photo courtesy of flickr user kevin dooley

Is it just me, or is EVERY SINGLE Christmas show/book/whatever focused in some way on Santa Claus?  (Because, you know, not matter how much we use the word “holidays” to describe the season, it’s really all about Christmas, period.) In particular, the story line that if someone doesn’t intervene, Santa will not be able to deliver his gifts and Christmas will be ruined?  (Because, clearly, Christmas is all about the gifts and if Santa were unable to deliver them then, well, what’s the point?)

Here are my three favorite non-Santa-centric books for children – and while one is about Christmas, the other two could be described as “holiday” books.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

How I love thee, Patrick McDonnell, let me count the ways!  The author of the Mutts comic strip and of many picture books, as well as an ardent supporter of companion animal rescue, has written this really beautiful ode to the gift of time and companionship.  “Earl opened Mooch’s gift.  ‘There’s nothing in here,’ said Earl.  ‘Yesh!’ said Mooch.  ‘Nothing…but me and you.’ ”


Rabbit’s Gift written by George Shannon, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

In this beautifully rendered version of a Chinese fable, Rabbit finds two turnips in the field as he prepares for a coming snow.  He realizes he only needs one, so he brings the other to Donkey, who brings it to Goat, who brings it to Deer….you get the idea.  A lovely story about sharing the wealth, much-needed these days.


The After-Christmas Tree written by Linda Wagner Tyler, illustrated by Susan Davis

A child thinks back over all the fun had during Christmas (including giving, not receiving, presents) and feels sad that it is over.  So her family comes up with a plan to have a winter party complete with ice skating, hot cocoa and crafts.  The highlight of the party is decorating the old Christmas tree with treats for the animals outside so they will have food to eat.  I love this idea!


What are your favorite holiday titles that focus on the giving?


  • Astra

    For todder books, my youngest once receieved “The Crippled Lamb” all about a poor lamb who was forced to stay behind when the shepherd and sheep went off to the fields. Of course, by staying behind he was witness to a pretty wonderful event. Can’t remember the author sorry, but it’s a board book.
    And, of course my favourite is not a book but a movie: “it’s a Wonderful Life”

  • Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

    I just looked it up – Max Lucado is the author. Thanks for sharing! (Apparently there is a video out of the story as well now).

    And of course, It’s a Wonderful Life, if you want a good cry… ;)