By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

Since I was a child, the holiday season has always been magical to me. Decorations, family gatherings, seasonal music, treasured holiday recipes and the feelings of excitement and joy that fill the air all create a “special something” that seems to be reserved for this time of year.

I have the best memories of my mom reading holiday books to me each year as I grew up. This was a tradition I continued when my children were young, and one I hope they will continue with their children.

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season filled with gratitude, joy, great books and all things magical!

Preschool —Dream Snow (board book) by Eric Carle 

Eric Carle worked his famous magic, once again, in this classic story. His brilliant illustrations capture the magic of a snowy, Christmas Eve on an old farmer’s farm. The farmer takes a nap and dreams about a snowstorm that covers him and his animals. Upon waking, he realizes that his dream came true. He decides to don a red suit and share gifts for his animals under a tree, sharing the holiday spirit with all. Truly a special book, perfect for bedtime reading.

Pre-K to Early Elementary — The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and illustrated by Jan Brett 

Jan Brett’s illustrative interpretation of the long-loved poem by Clement Moore is a time-tested favorite. The gorgeous illustrations on each page, marked with her signature sidebars rich with additional layers of story, bring extra life to this Christmas classic. Publishers Weekly calls it “another holiday keepsake from a master.”

Older Elementary/Early Middle School — Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett

Santa shakes up the North Pole when he announces that this would be the final year he would wear his jolly red suit. He decides to open the prestigious job to anyone who would like to apply, skipping over his oldest son, Klaus Claus. Two hard-working elves, Ollie and Celia, enter the contest with no clue what would be in store for them — the Santa Trials. Adventure and survival come at them from many angles, testing them beyond elf limits. However, whoever is able to make it to the top will realize a reward that is even larger than Christmas.

Young Adult — Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

This New York Times bestseller will be another favorite for fans of North Carolina author Sarah Dessen. In this story, Louna has a summer job helping brides plan their wedding day. After Louna’s first love tragically ended, she stopped believing in happy-ever-afters, making her job a little challenging. However, a second chance may be on Louna’s horizon when she encounters the eye-catching Ambrose. This entertaining story has humor, romance, and a conclusion that goes beyond a traditional “happy-ever-after.”

Moms — Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand 

Family dynamics are in full force for the Quinn family during the holidays. With everyone finally able to celebrate together after many years, all seems primed for a perfect holiday, especially with so many things for which to the thankful. However, all is not smooth and some things are merely endured. “Winter Solstice is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best.” —

Win a book of your choice from today’s blog! 

Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)

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Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.


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