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By Ryan Duncan Editor

Every Christmas Eve my sisters and I would get to open one present from under the tree, just one. That gift was always a Christmas book that our parents had picked out specifically for each of us, and once my Dad got a fire going, we would spend the evening reading them together as a family. There is something truly magical about Christmas stories. So, this holiday season don't miss the chance to share a family moment with these ten wonderful books.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas - by Dr. Seuss
Arguably the grandfather of Christmas classics, Dr. Suess writes a tale of whimsical, winter, word-play that everyone will enjoy. The Grinch, who despises Who-ville's Christmas cheer, seeks to steal the treasured holiday from the unsuspecting Whos. To his amazement, Christmas arrives anyway, and the Grinch learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - by Robert Barry
Another Christmas book that's great for children, when old Mr. Willowby discovers that his tree is a bit to big for his parlor, he chops off the top and gives it to the maid. The maid in turn finds the treetop is too big for her table, and clips off the top before passing it on. The treetop continues in this fashion until it finally comes to a family of mice, who decorate it with cheese and find it just right for their little hole.

The Polar Express - by Chris Van Allsburg
            Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, The Polar Express has never failed to capture readers with its wonderful story and beautiful illustrations. As a young boy lays awake on Christmas Eve, he hears a noise and looks out his window to discover an old-fashioned steam engine in the winter snow. It is a train that every year takes children to the North Pole to meet Santa before his annual sleigh ride. 

Letters From Father Christmas - by J.R.R Tolkien
  Every Christmas, a letter bearing the crest of the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien's children. Accompanied by colorful drawings or detailed sketches, Father Christmas would tell the children wonderful stories of how the clumsy North Polar Bear fell through the roof onto the kitchen table, or how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents everywhere. The brilliant mind behind The Lord of the Rings will certainly enchant readers with this Christmas gem.

The Gift of the Magi - by O. Henry
It's either a happy story or a sad story depending on how you look at it (and depending on which copy you buy). Still, this Christmas story is incredibly touching, and worth taking the time to read during a holiday that has become dominated by consumerism. Faced with the reality that there is no money to afford a present for her husband, Della, a young housewife, chooses to sell her greatest and only treasure. Her long, beautiful hair is cut and sold to buy a gift for the man she loves.

The Mitten - by Jan Brett
Author/Illustrator Jan Brett has written many Christmas books featuring her elaborate artwork, but The Mitten is one that has truly found a place in reader's hearts. Despite the warning of his grandmother, a young boy named Nicki loses one of his white mittens in the snow. It is found by a tiny mole, which crawls inside to escape the winter cold, but soon finds himself sharing it with a rabbit, a hedgehog, a fox, an owl, and even a bear! It's a cute story, and great for reading late some frosty night.

The Little Match Girl - by Hans Christian Andersen
The story is as beautiful as it is tragic. Set in a cold, dark city on New Year's Eve, a poor girl tries to sell matches on the street. Hoping to escape the cold, she takes shelter in a small alley and lights matches to warm herself. For each match she lights she sees images of Christmas trees, holiday feasts, and finally her Grandmother, with whom she is reunited.

The Legend of the Candy Cane - by Lori Walburg
A pleasant story for anyone looking to get away from the hectic, holiday madness, the story begins one cold November when a stranger arrives in town and begins to repair the old storefront. The adults hope he is a handyman or a carpenter, but the children all carry the same, secret hope that they don't dare say aloud. Finally, a small girl offers her help and learns not only that their dream has come true, but also the true story of Christmas.

The Lump of Coal - by Lemony Snicket  
Feel like you're losing a bit of your holiday cheer? Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, has just the thing to make you smile with this story of a small, flammable, hero. After being rudely dumped from a sack, a lump of coal sets out into the world hoping to one day make great charcoal artwork. (Or at least be used to create authentic Korean cuisine) The world is not a kind place for a lump of coal however, and he may need some help from "Santa" to see his dreams come true.

The Littlest Angel - by Charles Tazewell
Despite being one of the oldest books on this list, the story has not dimmed with time. In Heaven, a young angel is finding it difficult to fit in. An elder takes pity on the poor boy and helps cheer him up by gathering a collection of his favorite things. When the time arrives for Christ to be born, the little angel gives his box of treasures to the baby, but soon fears his gifts are too common to please Jesus. Instead, God takes his simple gifts and transforms them into a Christmas miracle.