Claude the Dog: A Christmas Storyby Dick Gackenbach
This has been my favorite Christmas book since I was a little girl. My brother never understood my fascination because he thought it was too depressing to be a proper Christmas book. (He never understood my love for a weepy Christmas movie either.) The message of this short tale gets me every time! When Claude's homeless doggy friend visits him on Christmas morning, what Claude does for him makes me want to cry. This book is out of print and the used prices are ~crazy~ but if you can find a copy at the library, you should check it out.
(recommended for ages 2 and up)
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomeyby Susan Wojciechowski
We read this book together tonight before dinner. It's the story of a grieving woodcarver who is mourning the loss of his young wife and baby. He is grumpy and unpleasant and no one in the village wants to be around him. When a widow and her son move into town and ask him for a favor, his life is changed. The story unfolds slowly until the touching climax.
(recommended for ages 5 and up)
The Best Christmas Pageant Everby Barbara Robinson
This book is a bit different in that it's primarily a funny, zany adventure of a bunch of out-of-control kids who wreak havoc on a church Christmas production. My kids are scandalously amused at the Herdman family and all they find to say and do. The tears don't come until the last chapter and the feelings they bring might take you by surprise. We read this aloud every year, even though we can practically quote entire passages.
(recommended for listeners ages 5 and up)