Saturday, December 2, 2023

Sisters' December Reading

Charity and I don't plan to post reading challenges for winter. But we thought we'd share a few book recommendations for December in case you want some book ideas. 

(We are looking forward to the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge in January and February. Registration is open now.) 

This post contains affiliate links.

Children's Christmas Picture Books

Charity -  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

I grew up with a few very special Christmas books. This treasure is beautifully illustrated and the story is about redemption, simple acts of kindness, and the hope in Jesus. Mr. Toomey is grumpy and keeps to himself ever since he has lived on the edge of the village. What no one understands is that once his life was filled with laughter. The widow and her son have something to offer that might bring the light back into his eyes. I can’t wait for my little boy to be old enough to call this book part of Christmas. 

Gina - Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl  S. Buck

A young boy wants to give his dad a special gift, and what would be better than doing the barn chores for him? I'm not sure I've ever read this to my children without getting a catch in my throat at the love between parent and child.

Middle-grade Christmas Books

Charity - Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

This isn’t exactly a Christmas book, but it opens with snow and sledding and so I always thing of it as warm, cozy, and Christmasy. The subtitle calls it a village story and it is just that. A story about a group of friends and what happens in their lives as they become young men and women. I loved this story as a girl and I’m thinking about dipping back into it this month. Alcott often has lovely Christmas scenes in her stories so many of them are great December reading options.

Gina - Turkey for Christmas by Marjuerite de Angeli

I love the warmth of de Angeli's books and Turkey for Christmas is a short book that I read aloud nearly every Christmas. Maybe it is so special because it is a story of her own childhood, and the difficult winter when money was tight because of her sister's hospital bills. Bess didn't think it possible to have Christmas without turkey, but if they bought a turkey, there would be no money for presents. 

Adult Christmas Books

Charity - Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

Most of us are very familiar with A Christmas Carol, but did you know that Dickens wrote five Christmas novellas? My goal is to read the last two this Christmas. If you reread Dickens' well known novel or try one of his lesser known novellas, I’m quite certain he won’t disappoint! 

Gina - A Symphony in Sand by Calvin Miller 

This book is hard to categorize. Is it an allegory? Poetry? Fantasy? Miller rewrites the Christmas story in free verse allegorical form and makes me think of this familiar story in a new way. It has been several years since I read it, and I'm looking forward to a reread. 

Cozy Books

Charity - The Mitford Series by Jan Karon

I’ve been rereading a few of Karon’s cozy novels and loving every moment of it! Not only does she have one book that is dedicated to just Christmas, but most of her books have a chapter or two about Christmas.  Set in the fictional town of Mitford, South Carolina,  Father Tim is a rather average Episcopal priest, except that he is surrounded by interesting happenings and hilarious people. This is my favorite series when I need a light, comfortable book to read.

Since reading Turner's newest book, I've been longing to reread her whole series. Most are set somewhere around Derby, North Carolina and, though each one is about a different character, they manage to meet other characters from other books. Turner's books aren't just a cozy read, they make me think. I wrote a review of the series quite a few years ago.

And for the new year...

Goal Setting/Organizing Books

Charity - The Lazy Genius Kitchen by Kendra Adachi

I read this book soon after setting up my own kitchen. The author walks you through the different parts of your kitchen and habits and gives tips on the best way to organize, plan meals, and decide what is important to you. I also enjoyed the beauty of the graphics which made it a pleasure to read. 

Gina - Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy

I read this book last year and am considering a reread. It helped me consider what I want my future to look like and what habits I need to build today to become the person I want to be. In some ways, losing Ed has made me cynical about planning for the future because I know plans can colapse with a dignosis. But on the other hand, I've learned how brief life can be and how I want to use each day wisely.

Do you have books that you enjoy rereading in December? Are you setting goals for your winter reading?


  1. I'm going to be listening to A Christmas Carol which is my favorite Christmas book next to Little Women. I read Jack and Jill as part of my fall challenge and instantly loved it.

  2. I read "Jack and Jill" several years ago and enjoyed it very much. I also loved "The Lazy Genius Kitchen" - and the formatting is gorgeous! I read "The Lazy Genius" after reading "Kitchen," and was surprised that it was so plain - apparently the sequel got more funding after the first took off (I'm guessing?), but the text is still good, even though it's not as gorgeous as the other. I enjoyed "Living Forward," but did not like how there is an enormous expectation that the reader WILL take their advice to turn it into a huge document-writing project, which stressed me out just thinking about it. The take-away was good, however - life is brief; use it wisely - as you say.

    Here is my post on books I've read lately:

    Other good ones lately:
    - Witness (Whittaker Chambers)
    - A Severe Mercy (Sheldon Vanauken)
    - Two Patients: My Conversion From Abortion to Life-Affirming Medicine (John Bruchalski)

    Have a wonderful Advent!

  3. I'm looking forward to reading one or more of these. When I was a teenager, I decided to gift my parents for a month or two, of getting up early on Sunday morning and taking my brother in the van on his paper route and giving my parents a break once a week. :) Chris W.

    1. I couldn't find several of these at my library but I did check out Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon and really enjoyed it. Chris W.


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