My First Story of Christmas by Tim Dowley

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One of my favorite books for celebrating the Christmas season is a small picture book that my son received for his first Christmas: My First Story of Christmas by Tim Dowley (Moody Publishers, 2004). The illustrations are simple but fun, reverent but childlike.

There are a few editorial opinions sprinkled in the story of the virgin Mary’s experience, but it makes the book feel readable for a very young child. Also, such extensions of the story will certainly not be confused with doctrine, especially for those who also follow it up with regular Bible reading.

My First Story of Christmas ends with this reminder:

We give each other presents, just as the wise men gave presents to Jesus. And just as God sent Jesus as the best gift of all.

I’ve never read this concept in a children’s book put so simply. It’s true, this concept of why we give presents is probably not historically accurate, given the merger of historical traditions (and even pagan holidays) with our modern celebrations of Christmas. But I love that this commentary has been included. It gives all of us a foundation as to why we do continue this present tradition, It also reminds us of the greatest gift, and the reason why we celebrate the season still.

Other than reading the actual Bible, My First Story of Christmas is a great way to introduce the Biblical story to the very youngest readers.

I love Christmas. I love the daily reminder of Jesus Christ in the decorations and in the gift giving. But I also love the traditions of Santa Claus, the festive holiday songs, the fudge and gingerbread. 

This year, I decided to immerse myself in holiday picture books. My son, at one-year-old, won’t remember a thing about this Christmas. But next year he might remember something: I want to know which picture books best bring the spirit of the season in to our home so next year we’ll be ready.

I’ve tried to provide an overview of a number of my favorite books in my posts this season, as well as books that I’ve newly discovered this year. But, as is always the case, I’m sure I’ve missed someone‘s favorite. Which picture books do you and your family revisit every year?

Regardless of what you’re reading, I hope you have a very happy holiday!

Reviewed on December 15, 2008

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • Christmas-themed picture books are so exciting – I starting shouting “ooh Dr Seuss! The Polar Express! The Nutcracker!” to myself just then!

    I have this particularly wonderful one with a red cloth cover and gouache illustrations inside, called One Wintry Night, and it goes through the entire Christmas story – i.e. all the way from Adam and Eve, to the birth of Jesus.

    The picture are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Great Christmas gift, though I think I picked mine up at some sort of bazaar..

  • Those look like some good ones. I never knew there was an original Rudolph book. I’ll have to try to find that. I also have not read the Frosty or Nutcracker.
    I love The Grinch!

  • It was wonderful to see that you included my picture book THE GIFT OF THE MAGI in your “Children’s Christmas: Picture Books of the Season”. Thanks so much. Warm regards for Christmas and the New Year. Carol

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