Written by Flannery Fitch   


December is one of my favorite months of the year because it’s finally the holidays! I’m not religious, but I love Christmas, Hanukkah, and the entire season. I love the lights, the scent of pine, peppermint, and wood smoke, the decorations, and yes, the music. For me, the holidays are about love and generosity, goodwill to mankind, and being together. Also snow—which we don’t get, but we can fantasize about! So I’m thrilled to suggest some of my favorite seasonal books.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

by Dr. Seuss

Everyone knows this book, but since it’s my favorite Christmas book ever, I would be remiss if I did not put it on my list. This clever, funny, and rhythmic story is perfect for reading out loud. Even the hardest heart must be cracked a bit at the end. Plus, the animated film based on the book is one of the best Christmas movies ever.


Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

by Eric A. Kimmel

My third grade teacher read this book to our class, and I made my parents buy me a copy. It’s an absolutely wonderful story of a man named Hershel who must save Hanukkah from goblins! I adore the rich illustrations and brave, clever Hershel. Kids will laugh with glee as he outwits the goblins and saves Hanukkah! No matter what religion you are, this is a terrific book for any child.


Jingle Bells

by James Lord Pierpont

I’m a sucker for paper cut art, and while Jingle Bells isn’t my favorite carol, the delicate, intricate paper cuts used to illustrate this book made me love it a little bit more. Pick up this beautiful book, then take your kids on a horse drawn carriage ride around Pacific Avenue—the closest thing we have to dashing through the snow!


The Nutcracker

by Alison Jay

I grew up going to performances of The Nutcracker every year at the Mello Center in Watsonville, and even as an adult, every time I see the ballet I’m entranced anew. This is one of my favorite editions of the story. Jay’s illustrations have a cracked, fresco style that reminds me of an old painted ornament or a Russian doll. Its charm and warm colors perfectly compliment the lovely tale. Plus, the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre is putting on the ballet this year, so you can read it and then go see it!


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

This is one of Robert Frost’s most iconic poems, and this lovely edition, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, is the perfect winter gift. Jeffers’ simple artwork perfectly captures the many shades of white and grey of a snow-covered wood, as well as the odd hush that falls, despite the wood being alive with winter creatures. If we can’t have snow here, this is the next best thing (at least in book format).


A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most classic Christmas stories ever. This beautiful illustrated edition brings Dickens-era London to glowing life while providing detailed visuals to the story of Scrooge and his ghostly visitors. Great for older kids who are ready for something longer than a picture book, but still want a holiday-themed book. And if you’ve ever wanted to own a copy for yourself, this is a great edition to get!


Flannery Fitch is a bookseller at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her life has been about books since before she could read.

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