Traditions on reading yourself or with your family on Christmas Eve extend back generations.
A 1898 article from The New York Times mentions two of the most likely suggestions today, “’Twas the Night before Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Reading the story of the Nativity, particularly to young children, is important as their visions dance of gifts a bit beyond sugar plum fairies or what they might bring. As someone who is not a biblical expert by any stretch of the imagination, I found it still pretty easy to go through the account in Matthew 1:18-2:23 and fill in the gaps with my elementary school-aged child. You likely have your own favorite approach, and I’m always open for suggestion.
Another great one, which I still read on my own before having kids, was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Sure you can watch the movie (which by the way the cartoon with Boris Karloff is still WAY better than the Jim Carrey version), but as is often the case the book is better. Building on the point about commercialism, Christmas doesn’t come from a store, Christmas does mean a bit more. Growing that heart three sizes in one day – and keeping it there – remains a hopeful image.
Looking for something new to add is fun, and one book shared with me recently was “Eli the Stable Boy” by Indiana author Keith Ogorek. A father puts an original story he told his daughters in book form about a young man who wants to help his father with his work. In the process he prepares the Bethlehem stable just in time for special visitors. He’s concerned his father will be upset, but when he comes home from what he saw out in the fields, he praises Eli for his efforts.
That is a neat story, and may whatever you may dig into today, enjoy. Merry Christmas.