On Christmas Traditions and Books

"There is something about saying, 'We always do this,' which helps keep the years together.  Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar  favorite food.  Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts." - Edith Schaeffer

An advent calendar is one tradition that we keep.  Ours is Tasha Tudor's Advent Calendar - A Wreath of Days.  We read lots of Christmas books, too.  This morning I read O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi from 41 Stories: 150th Anniversary Edition (Signet Classics).  Since I first read this in the 7th grade it has been a favorite - I love his twists at the end of his short stories!  I have yet to see accurate illustrations with unabridged text. I don't like the dramatized audio versions, either, as I think they tend to do the work of the imagination for the listener.
A Tree for Peter, written and illustrated by Kate Seredy
So, the new Christmas book I wanted to recommend to you is A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy.  This one had been sitting on my shelf for many years. It wasn't until my dear friend Sandy told me that I needed to read it did I pull it down off the shelf and read it.  without.  moving.  She said that in some way, reading it made things right with this fallen world where she is battling cancer.

I didn't have time to read it the next day to the kids.  I left it and my m-i-l, who is also ill, read it straight through to my littles. The dj reads, "This is a modern miracle, through which sad and beaten houses grew white and neat and shining, and desolate, hopeless people found that love and hope can still move mountains.  Here are no saints and angels; just an unknown tramp, an Irish cop, a small boy , and City Hall, but Shantytown became Peter's Landing and faith was reborn."

 This is a favorite quote from the book -

"That Christmas night their hearts, closed for so long against love and laughter, had opened in the song they sang together; their eyes, used only to ugliness, had seen beauty that night and wanted more."

From joy to joy,

Here are some past posts where I mention some other Christmas titles:
-What to Read For Christmas
-Full Hearts
-Good King Wenceslas
-The Canticle of the Bees


  1. I agree. A Tree for Peter I discovered a few years ago but it is slated to be read this Advent with my boys.

  2. I'm reading A Tree for Peter to my Peter right now! We haven't made it to that line in the book yet, but are already loving it. Mason is so right about books building character through the 'third person position.' Once again, with the Holy Spirit, a good book and my sensitive obedience, a certain burden is lifted from my shoulders.

  3. yay! this is the book that i bought for my kids this christmas! it's coming down with my mom who will spend christmas and pass the new year with us!! double yay! :) i can't wait to read it!!

    liz at living books also wrote about it recently also!

  4. Oh, your recommendation came just in time as I was just thinking it would be easier to get a new read for Christmas then to dig through our boxes which are still in storage.

  5. Amy's grammar cold is catching. Did I say 'just' and 'then?'

  6. Love the Edith Scaeffer quote! Is that from The Hidden Art of Homemaking?? I also love the Tasha Tudor Advent calendar...so sweet! I adore her illustrations! I would LOVE to read A Tree for Peter with my children...will have to get my hands on a copy! :)