So it’s Christmas, and you’re looking for some great new stories to share with family, friends, students and story-lovers. Well, here are a few favorites that I have come across in my own search. Wherever possible I have listed the book(s) in which the stories can be found and/or given an online link to a similar version. Enjoy!
Joy to the World: Christmas Stories from Around the Worldby Saviour Pirotta
This book contains such favorite folktales as Babushka (Russia), The Brave Little Camel (Syria) and Flowers for Jesus (Mexico).
The Kingfisher Book of Classic Christmas Stories compiled by Ian Whybrow contains such goodies as:
- Becky’s Christmas Dream by Louisa May Alcott
A Cinderella-type story in which a poor orphan girl discovers that for one magical hour on Christmas Eve she can talk with things that don’t normally have voices. A cat, a clock and a fire teach her a lesson in doing her duties with joy.
- Old Pierre’s Christmas Visitors (France)
A man dreams that Jesus will visit him on Christmas day. But after a whole day of helping needy neighbors, he has not seen him. In the end, he learns that Jesus has already visited in the form of each of those neighbors. Leo Tolstoy has a version of this story entitled Papa Panov.
- The White Cat of the Dovre Mountain (Norway)
An uproarious tale of pesky trolls confusing a polar bear for a cat on Christmas Eve. (Jan Brett also has a version of this story titled “Who’s That Knocking On Christmas Eve?” And for some different folk variations click here.)
Hans Christian Anderson is famous for such beautiful winter tales as:
The sad tale of a tree who is too busy wishing for the next stage of its life to enjoy the present moment. (I would recommend it for older children, as the ending may be too sad for the little ones.)
A poor elderly couple who work as shoemakers receive help from some kind elves. (This story has also been attributed to the Brothers Grimm.)
And last but not least, a few more favorite folktales:
- The Christmas Spider (Germany and Ukraine)
Find out the origins of tinsel in this story of how some spiders made a very special Christmas for a poor family.
- The Singing Fir Tree (Switzerland)
A special singing fir tree is destroyed by a man in his quest to find the perfect piece of wood for his carving. A great examination of how the beauty of nature is meant to be enjoyed by all and what happens when we destroy it for our own reward.
What is your favorite Christmas story?