If you are looking for the perfect Christmas book to read to you children, I highly recommend The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston; illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Dial; 1st edition (September 30, 1988)
this book was published in 1988, I didn't discover it until 1995, when
my youngest was 3 years old. We first read it from the Mercer Public
Library, but we checked it out so many times, I finally had a local
bookstore order it for us. The library was kind enough to laminate the
dust jacket for us.
Ruthie has been waiting patiently for her
father to return from the war. As Christmas approaches, Ruthie's mother
begins to worry about the Christmas tree tradition in their small
Appalachian town of Pine Grove. The Pine Grove Church chooses one
family each year to supply the Christmas tree. Ruthie and her father
were so excited, because their family had been chosen to provide this
During the spring before Papa left for the war, he
and Ruthie climbed to the top of the rocky ridge to pick out the perfect
tree. To mark this tree from all the rest, Papa takes one of Ruthie's
hair ribbons and ties it to the top of the tree. Ruthie is so happy,
because as the provider for the traditional tree, she will also get to
portray the "heavenly angel" in the Christmas pagent.
realizes her husband may not make it home for Christmas, she and Ruthie
set out in the wee morning hours of Christmas Eve in search of the
marked tree. The trip is long and hard, but Ruthie and her Mama stick
together and after many hours of hard work, they are able to deliver the
tree to the church.
Back at home, Mama settles Ruthie in for a
long winter's nap. Exhausted herself, Mama can't sleep because she is
determined to make Ruthie's wishes come true. Because her husband had
not returned, there was no money to buy Ruthie a new dress for the
Christmas pagent or to buy her the doll she asked for from Santa. But
Mama has a plan.
All day as Ruthie slept, Mama was at work on a
new dress. Taking her beloved wedding dress, Mama cuts it down to make
Ruthie an angel costume. Then she takes her last pair of stockings and
fashions an angel doll, using the rest of the wedding dress to cloth the
angel just like Ruthie.
When Ruthie awakens on Christmas Eve
night, she is overjoyed with her angel costume. When they arrive at the
church, Mama and Ruthie are so proud of the beautiful Christmas tree.
After the Christmas service and pagent, Santa arrives to hand out
presents to the children. Santa hands Ruthie the beautiful angel from
the top of the tree (Ruthie had no idea her mother made the angel).
the best present was yet to come. Leaving the church happy and joyful
from the pagent and the present, Ruthie sees her father waiting outside
the church door.
No matter how many times I read this book - and I
still read it yearly, even though my children are grown - I still cry.
This book has such a good morale and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy
I cannot recommend this book highly enough - it is the perfect Christmas story.