The Easiest Way to Build Traditions at Christmastime


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It was the December I was ten years old. A family friend dropped the third volume of Christmas In My Heart in my lap a few days before Christmas.

I read it through three times that Christmas. And every year since, no matter what the weather is like or who I’m celebrating the season with, those Christmas stories are the thing I look forward to the most. When I unpack the Christmas things, I eagerly pull out each volume of Joe L. Wheeler’s Christmas books that I’ve collected since (I have five now!).

In a world where so much is uncertain from one year to the next, I cherish the continuity of reading from the same, familiar Christmas stories each year. I cherish them because Christmas stories seem to have an extra special dose of love and joy. Even during the dark days, they are there to remind us of that Christ still comes down to our humble homes as “God with Us”.

Every year, I love to reread some favorites to my own little family as we travel or sit by our own little fireplace. My collection of Christmas compilations has grown to include more than just Joe L. Wheeler but his Christmas In My Heart will always be one of my favorites because of  the special memories it brings to mind every time I read it again.

If you’d like to start building some traditions into your family’s Christmas, just pull out a collection of Christmas stories and start reading aloud. You’ll be well on your way to creating a beloved Christmas tradition that your family will cherish for years to come.

If you’d like to start building some traditions into your family’s Christmas, just pull out a collection of Christmas stories and start reading aloud. You’ll be well on your way to creating a beloved Christmas tradition that your family will cherish for years to come.

Christmas Stories for All Ages

12 Stories of Christmas by Robert Morgan

The stories in this little collection written for children are short enough to make great bedtime readings for the whole family. Each story features a family caught in some unexpected predicament or trouble over Christmas and shows how God provided and took care of them.

Home for Christmas: Stories for Young and Old

While this book of twenty stories capturing the holiday spirit was put together for children, I found the stories heart-warming and inspiring even as an adult. It’s a collection of tales published years ago by familiar authors such as Pearl Buck, Henry Van Dyke, and Elizabeth Goudge.

Christmas Stories by Max Lucado

I think Max Lucado may be one of the most prolific writers of inspirational Christmas stories. With dozens in print (usually a new one every year!), Max has a way of capturing the true meaning of Christmas in an engaging way while he points us back to the One who truly makes Christmas happen.

Christmas with Grandma Elsie by Martha Finley

If you grew up loving Elsie Dinsmore, you will adore this delightful collection of stories in which “Grandma Elsie” hosts the holidays. It will reconnect you with the people and the story you loved through all of the Elsie books and make a fun book to read with your kids this Christmas season.

Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I love the idea of easily being to relieve the holidays with the Ingalls family in each of the unique places they lived over the years. This book is one I know my daughter Charlotte will love too, since she already is very much attached to Almanzo’s pig, Lucy, and the Farmer Boy stories.

Timeless Christmas Stories

Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery

Anne with an E has captured hearts for generations, so when I saw this book, I had to have it. While only two of the stories in this book are about our beloved Anne, the rest share the same delightful writing and wit that made L. M. Montgomery such a beloved author.

Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury

While Louisa is best known for writing Little Women, and is the author of one of my all time favorite books An Old Fashioned Girl, she also wrote a prolific quantity of short stories and novellas during her lifetime. This book is a special collection of most of her published holiday stories and it is truly delightful! I loved rereading some old favorites, as well as discovering new ones that I hadn’t yet read.

The Most Cherished Christmas Stories from Magnolia Books

This little book is a collection of some of the best known and loved Christmas stories of all time. With authors such as Dickens and Allcott on the list, I knew I was in for a nostalgic Christmas journey through some of the literary classics, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Journey Into Christmas and Other Stories by Bess Streeter Aldrich

This heart-warming book is filled with festive stories of family, love, blessings, and making simple things beautiful during the holidays. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories I read!

Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

I had not read enough of Dickens to know that he had written many more Christmas stories than A Christmas Carol. Since Dickens is one of the literary giants of all times, it was fun to get to read not just the popular works but some of the lesser-known Dickens stories as well.

More Christmas Collections

A Treasury of Christmas Miracles by Karen Kingsbury

Miracles happen every day, but there’s something special about Christmastime miracles. In this book, Karen Kingsbury tells the true stories from the lives of people who were touched in a special way by God’s presence over the holidays.

A Pioneer Christmas Collection: 9 Stories of Finding Shelter and Love in a Wintry Frontier

In my search for a collection of Christmas novellas that were not strictly romances, I stumbled across this little collection featuring American settlers from different places and generations. In each tale, they use their simple means to make time to celebrate the Advent of Christ.

Christmas Stories for the Heart and others by Alice Gray

Alice Gray’s Christmas collections are short, making them perfect for reading aloud throughout the day for a little reminder of what this season is all about.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas

I recently discovered that the very popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series has quite a few collections dedicated to Christmas. As usual, their stories center on faith, hope and the blessings of the holiday season and the Greatest Gift ever given. Any one of them would be a great addition to a family Christmas book collection.

Christmas in My Heart: A Timeless Treasury of Heartwarming Stories by Joe L. Wheeler

It was volume three of Christmas In My Heart that made me fall in love with Christmas stories when I was a pre-teen. Since then, I’ve devoured many more volumes of Joe L. Wheeler’s Christmas collections, and have loved every single one. Each story is filled with old-fashioned values, heartwarming connections, and sometimes a bit of mystery that leaves you guessing about what’s happening until the very last second. Most of the stories in these books are ones that Dr. Wheeler collected from old magazines and books long since out of print, but in a few of the collections, you’ll find one of his own original Christmas stories, which are delightful to read.

If you have a favorite Christmas collection not listed here, I’d really love to hear about it so I can add it to my wishlist! Drop me a comment?

My young daughter Charlotte’s delight over her own Christmas books makes every new find even more special. If you’re curious about her favorites, check out what’s in her stack this year. And don’t miss our post here at Kindred Grace with more Christmas books little people in your family.

Photography: JenniMarie Photography


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Chantel! Traditions are something I have definitely been giving a lot of thought to lately! Old traditions I’m used are looking different in this newlywed stage, and new traditions we’re beginning are sweeter than I expected. Thank you for this reminder that books form some of the best traditions–what a great book list!

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