New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas

by | Nov 27, 2011 | Advent and Christmas, Christmas Picture Books | 16 comments

In our home on December 6th, the feast of St. Nicholas, we have a family tradition of giving our children new slippers (when needed) filled with treats and chocolate gold coins, along with a new Christmas Picture Book to add to our collection.   In the past I have never wrapped the books, but this year I think I might wrap them up in some brown paper and attach the children’s annual “Notes from St. Nick” to the outside of each package.   For the notes, I ran across these beautiful gift tags on Etsy to use this year!

Here’s a peek at the new Christmas books I purchased for this year:

For Captain:

“A charming, delightfully illustrated classic Christmas folktale from old Russia retold by Alvin Alexi Currier about a poor family who entertains an angel unaware. Although the story has a Christmas theme, it can be read at any time of the year, as an illustration of the text of Hebrews 13:2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

For Rascal: 

“Van Amsterdam the baker was well known for his honesty as well as for his fine Saint Nicholas cookies. He always gave his customers exactly what they paid for — not more and not less. So, he was not about to give in when a mysterious old woman comes to him on Saint Nicholas Day and insists that a dozen is thirteen! The woman’s curse puts an end to the baker’s business, and he believes it would take Saint Nicholas to help him. But if he receives that help, will it be exactly what he imagined? Find out in this inspiring legend from Dutch colonial New York about the birth of an honored American custom. “

For Twinkle Toes: 

“Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney’s luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.”

For Chiquita:

“It is the night before Christmas! When Marie receives a handsome wooden Nutcracker from her dear uncle, she’s thrilled. But during the night, something magical happens…and when her toy Nutcracker transforms into a handsome Prince, Marie is whisked off to Toyland on a winter adventure she’ll never forget! The Nutcracker is one of the world’s favorite holiday stories. Now for the first time the beloved artist Mary Engelbreit offers her vision of that magical night, creating a picture book filled with joyful movement and rich detail that even the youngest child will enjoy.”

For Snuggles: 

“A wild little troll runs away from home because he doesn’t want to do his chores. Rollo tries living with various woodland animals, but he finds out that there is no place like home, and returns to his family just in time for “the best Christmas ever.” Among the animals who take him in are an owl family, a mother bear and two rambunctious cubs, some playful river otters, a hungry lynx and a friendly moose family. Jan Brett creates an irresistible, mischievous character that kids will recognize in themselves. Jan transports us to a glorious Scandinavian landscape where a beautiful fall turns into a magnificent snowy winter. Her signature borders depict the troll family missing Rollo, and animals as appealing as those found in The Mitten. A warm, fun-loving Christmas picture book for families to share and love and laugh over together.”

For Rose: 

“For centuries, the Gospels have brought to audiences of all ages the story of the birth of Christ, from the breathtaking appearance of the angel Gabriel to the arduous journey of the three wise men, from Herod’s chilling decree to the return of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to Nazareth. The text of this book, drawn from the books of Matthew and Luke, becomes all the more vivid when paired with the luminous and detailed illustrations of talented artist Ruth Sanderson. Elaborate borders combine the traditional elements of an illuminated manuscript with a contemporary palette to make this spectacular volume a book to be treasured and shared with family and friends.”

(Even though we have lots of picture books that tell the story of Christ’s birth, when I ran across this book, written and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson, author of the gorgeous Saints: Lives & Illuminations and More Saints: Lives and Illuminations I knew we had to add it to our collection.)
For the Baby: 

“Vicky Austin’s family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they’re also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister, due after the New Year. Vicky is worried that the baby will come early—what kind of Christmas Eve would it be without Mother to help them hang up stockings and sing everyone to sleep with carols? This classic story of an old-fashioned Christmas is accompanied by merry illustrations by Jill Weber.”

For Dad & Mom:

“Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion.”
(Recieved from a friend. Thank you Dessi!)

“Everyone in the village is bubbling with excitement about the new star in the sky—everyone except old Baboushka, who is busy sweeping, scouring, and polishing her house. Then three strangers arrive. When Baboushka invites them to stay the night, they ask her to join their search for a new baby—an infant king. But Baboushka is too busy with her chores. When at last she follows, bearing gifts for the baby, the newborn king is gone. Some say Baboushka continues her search to this very day, and at Christmas—whenever she sees a sleeping child or hears of good deeds—she will lift a toy from her basket and leave it.”


  1. Marie

    I just picked up the new Nutcracker picture book by Mary Engelbreit for my kids! I just love her illustrations, and can't pass up her books when I run across them at the book store. All the books look great. I just love it when you post your lists of books. Thank you!

  2. Jessica Gordon

    Doesn't it look so sweet? It will actually be our very first book on the Nutcracker. A friend and I were recently talking about trying to take our girls this year, but with our new baby most likely arriving sometime in Dec, I am not sure that I'll be able to make that happen… We'll see!

    Home for Christmas is also a new release, that was just published this month. Jan Brett is another favorite in our home, though, unfortunately, we only own a few of her books.

  3. Jamie Jo

    I got the Bishop Sheen book last year, and love it! (I also have the St Padre Pio one, I like that one even better)

    I love your tradition for this feast day, wish my act was more together…I did get 2 new St Nicholas books for this year…but already showed the kiddos!

    The books you got for this year are beautiful.

  4. Aimee Landreneau

    Mary-Grace is getting the Holly and Ivy one…such a sweet story. I got the Baker's Dozen as an extra.

    My goal is to return to blogging this Advent!!!

  5. Casey

    I already have The Story of Holly & Ivy, but may have to order a couple more. Great looking books!

  6. Kimberly Lottman

    I have a very old, worn, well loved copy of Holly and Ivy and Katelin and I just finished reading it just last week! Such a sweet story! She will love it.

  7. Anonymous

    I have followed your blog for a long time! You do a wonderful and creative job teaching your children! Mine are grown for the most part, but I look for ideas to use with my little grandchildren. You do a great job with your blog as well. I am using Bishop Sheen's Advent book as well! Where did you find Holly and Ivy? I so want that book! God bless you and yours!

  8. Jessica Gordon

    I purchased a Hardcover copy of The Story of Holly & Ivy through Amazon for $12.23, which is 32% off. They also have a paperback version available for $7.99. You can either click on the title underneath the picture in this post, which will take you directly to the book on Amazon, or here is the link again. I hope that helps!

  9. Gardenia

    Dear Jessica, I love the books you've chosen for St. Nicholas Day. i just spent some time reading through your Christmas gifts posts, and found wonderful ideas for my daughter (who will be 5 in late january). I know you must be quite busy these days… if you have a mement, I am wondering, can the calico critters dolls be used with the Melissa & Doug Mini dollhouse and/or with the fairy forest lodge, or would the critters not fit right? God bless you for all your sharing!! Gardenia at or I'll check back in the comments.

  10. Hope

    I almost bought Home for Christmas yesterday! I ended up picking the Christmas Trolls instead (we haven't read either so I just randomly picked!). I love the Nativity book and Holly and Ivy—I'll have to save those in my cart for later!

  11. Jessica Gordon

    Gardenia ~ I am so glad those old posts are helpful! I just love all of those toys you mentioned. Yes, the girls play with their Calico Critters using all of their houses, as well as in their Melissa & Doug Castle. They tend to just set up their Calico Critter furniture sets inside the castle though, since it seems to have a little more room and the others have plenty of their own matching furniture already. I hope that helps!

  12. Gardenia

    Those old posts are truly inspirational for me, whose daughter is a little younger than Chicquita I imagine. So Chiquita's last year's gifts are age appropriate this year for my daughter! Thank you for your response Jessica. You even read my mind about the Melissa and Doug Princess Castle, as I was wondering (after I hit publish) whether the Calico critters would also work in the castle. Good to know it is a yes, because I do love that castle. (I mean my daughter will :))

  13. Kelly

    I almost bought both Jan Brett's Home for Christmas and M.E.'s Nutcracker a few days ago when I was at Barns and Noble…don't tell Mark, but I may still purchase them. As I mentioned earlier, I already have two Nutcrackers, but I love M.E.'s design and artwork/style so much that I may just have to add another to my Nutcracker set. LOL, I'm ridiculous. It's a good thing I have children to give me an excuse to own all these picture books. 😉

    Oh, and I had completely forgotten about Holly and Ivy! What a great idea. I'll have to add that to the list as well. 🙂

  14. Anonymous

    How do you store your books during the "off season"?

  15. Jessica Gordon

    I store them on a high corner shelf in either the school room or in my closet. I only bring them out during the Christmas season.

  16. Karen

    Hi Jessica! Just want to say that I love your blog and you've inspired me in many ways as a mother and bringing faith into the home. Thank-you for sharing! Karen


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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