I don’t know if this makes me crazy or smart, but one reason I read so many books is to make this very week of the year so much easier. I know which books I want to give people, I know which ones I want to ask for, and I know right where to look to hook my family up with some fun holiday reading. It occurred to me this weekend that some of you might appreciate a bookish brain dump, so here’s a list of what I’ll be giving my friends, what I’ll be asking for from my family, and what we’ll be reading on our way to Christmas morning.

I’ll be Giving…

books to gift

When Holidays Hurt by Bo Stern // For people who are struggling to find hope amid pain and loss this year because of [fill in the blank]…divorce, financial stress, chronic illness, losing a loved one, etc…

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner // For women who need permission to make space in their day for the things they love. After all, self-care isn’t a privilege, it’s a necessity. 

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro // For writers. It’s the best, most approachable book on writing I’ve ever read. 

Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong // For women who need someone to show them that change isn’t just something God allows, it’s something he authors.  

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith // For anyone still learning to see the beauty in the lived-in, loved-on and just-about-used-up things that make a house a home. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

God for the Rest of Us by Vince Antonucci // For anyone curious about the church we are now serving, and especially for anyone who has ever felt too weird, too unfit, too overlooked, too misunderstood, or too far gone to be loved by God. 

I’ll be Asking For…


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous & Smart about Money by Ron Lieber

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

We’ll Be Counting Down to Christmas With…

For our Advent countdown this year, we’re throwing the daily memory-making activities off the crazy train. They’re  just one more thing to fit into an already jam-packed month that includes two birthdays (thanks for that, Baby Jesus), so we’re just not going to go there. Instead, we’ll be counting down with books.

After I digest turkey and pie this weekend, I’ll be wrapping 20 Christmas/Winter-themed books for the kids to unwrap, one at time, and read to us (or us to them) every night in December before Christmas Day. Why only 20? Oh, please. Like I’m even going to pretend that we ever bat 1000 with any of this merry making. Some nights we won’t all be home together, and some days all the Whos down in Whoville are just going to have to fend for their holly, jolly little selves amen.

A handful of these are in our collection already, a few I decided to buy this year, and the rest are from the library.

christmas read alouds for kids

Wishing you all a very bookish Thanksgiving week,