the year in books December :: pyjamas and a book

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On Christmas Eve, each of my boys is each given a single present to open in front of a roaring fire. Inside is a new pair of pyjamas, to cuddle up in on the most exciting night of the year, ready to tiptoe downstairs on Christmas morning, and a book with a festive theme. Our growing collection of these, augmented by finds from charity shops throughout the year, is stored away in a box in the loft, brought down at the start of advent.

Over the last couple of years I have written about this tradition, sharing our book choices. Each time I received a truly lovely response to the post, with people commenting that they too gave pyjamas, or a book, or both on Christmas Eve, and giving me some fabulous suggestions for festive books. So once again, I am sharing with you my book choices, in the hope that they may inspire you, or that you in turn may inspire me with some suggestions of your own!

Cosy Woven Pull-Ons & Cashmere Socks

To begin with myself, in lieu of this month’s The Year In Books post, I am following November’s book choice of Autumn by Ali Smith with its companion, Winter. I’m saving it for Christmas Eve but I’m already smitten by its gorgeous cover. I can’t wait to turn its pages, curled up in front of the fire.

Dragon Onesie

My smallest boy is a huge Dr Seuss fan, so his book this year was an easy choice- How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Knight-print and dragon-print pyjamas.

The seven year old loves books that make him laugh, so I’ve chosen Rover Saves Christmas by Roddy Doyle. For the nine year old, The Flying Classroom by Erich Kastner, a lucky find in a charity shop last January, which has since been recommended by a member of The Year in books Twitter chat.

At bedtime, the seven year old and I are currently reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which I was inspired to re-visit following the recent snow that rendered our nearby woods utterly Narnian. With the nine year old, I am reading The Dark is Rising, a deliciously eerie and wintery book that begins on Midwinter Day. We’re reading as part of the sequence, having just finished Over Sea, Under Stone, but coincidentally there is also a Midwinter Reading Group read-along of this amazing book about to start on Twitter with one of my favourite authors, Robert Macfarlane. It’s a wonderful atmospheric read for adults and older children.

My husband is a fan of mysteries, so for him I’ve chosen Crimson Snow– an anthology of Winter Mysteries.

Chunky Socks & Brushed Cotton Pull-Ons

Finally, here are a selection of other festive reads, favourites from our household, with one or two additional suggestions from participants of The Year in Books Twitter chat. Most of them are set at Christmas time, although some just have a very wintery theme. I’m always very keen to receive suggestions for festive books, so if you know of any that I haven’t mentioned, I’d love for you to leave a comment, or give me a shout over on Twitter. Thank you!

For younger children:

To read as a family:

For older children:

For adults:

Happy festive reading!

{All Wordery links in this post are affiliate links, which means that I receive a small amount of commission from any purchases made. All pyjamas and nightwear is gifted c/o Boden Clothing. All words, photographs and traditions are my own. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.}

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  • Your lovely post brings lovely memories, thank you!
    Funny you mentioned “Carol” – since the movie came out, this is one of my favourite (melancholy) christmas movies.

  • This is a wonderful idea! Each member of my family receives a book in their stocking Christmas morning, and we all look forward to discovering what ours will be. As the kids get a little older, we’re thinking of moving the books to Christmas Eve, so that we may all curl up in front of the fire and enjoy our books together on that magical night.

    A couple fun picture books for young kids (and kids at heart) are Snowmen at Christmas and Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. Wonderful illustrations and great imagination!