Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fun, powerful and beautiful Christmas stories to read to children

There are many Christmas stories to choose from, some more religious than others. Many of you will choose stories that will educate as well as entertain. The below list, however, has been constructed purely of books that will inspire awe and engross children, encouraging them to believe in the magic of Christmas. As it happens, many of these stories include baddies, morals and religious teachings and so they educate as well.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss

A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Moore

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May

A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

The Nutcracker and The Mouse King by E.T.A Hoffman

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Little Drummer Boy by Katherine Kennicott Davis (with music)

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L Frank Baum

Letters From Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien

The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

For Aussies

An Aussie Night Before Christmas, adapted by Yvonne Morrison

A Bush Christmas by C. J. Dennis

And are two pieces to inspire you in writing your own Christmas story or letter:

A Letter from Santa Claus by Mark Twain

Palace of Saint Nicholas in the Moon
Christmas Morning

My Dear Susy Clemens,

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little
sister have written me . . . . I can read your and your baby
sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But
I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your
mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English
writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things
which you and the baby ordered in your own letters--I went down your
chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all
myself--and kissed both of you, too . . . . But . . . there
were . . . one or two small orders which I could not fill because we
ran out of stock . . . .

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which . . . I took to
be "a trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your
kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must
not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the
kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to the
door. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak--
otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery
and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your ear to the
speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle
through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa
Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not.
If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to
be . . . and then you must tell me every single thing in detail
which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good-by and a
merry Christmas to my little Susy Clemens," you must say "Good-by,
good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much." Then you must go down
into the library and make George close all the doors that open into
the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I
will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will
come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the
hall--if it is a trunk you want--because I couldn't get such a thing
as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know . . . .If I should
leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into
the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not
use a broom, but a rag--else he will die someday . . . . If my boot
should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it
away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you
look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a
good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and someone points to
that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble,
what will you say, little sweetheart?

Good-by for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen doorbell.
Your loving Santa Claus
Whom people sometimes call
"The Man in the Moon"

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church

Editorial reply to Virginia's letter to the editor of New York's Sun.
Printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. 

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. 
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. 
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' 
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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