Nutcracker Noel by Kate McMullen is one I can't read without getting choked up. The story itself isn't that emotional, it's just the special connection I have. When my daughter was little (6 years old), she had a role in a professional production of The Nutcracker. The role that Noel has is pretty much the same. I get choked every time Noel steps onto the stage with the fog and the snow and becomes part of the magic. It gets me every time.
Speaking of The Nutcracker, I found this version of the story by Susan Jeffers to be a beautiful picture book version of the famous story. The story is somewhat simplified, but contains the key elements that make this story such a classic. The illustrations are gorgeous, and you can't miss with a story setting called The Kingdom of Sweets!
Peef the Christmas Bear is a heartwarming story about a special bear that Santa made who accompanies Santa once a year on his special trip. As we all know, the true desire of any bear is to be loved by a boy or girl, so Peef has a difficult decision to make. The look on the children's faces as I read make this book priceless.
I make a point to read The Night Before Christmas on the last school day before the holiday. Jan Brett's illustrations are as beautiful as Clement C. Moore's famous words. You just don't hear descriptive language like this anymore! ("The moon on the breast of the newfallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below." When I explain to the children that's about the moon reflecting on the snow, their eyes lighten up with the visual!)
Of course, I don't actually read this book. I don't need to look at the words anymore, I can recite the whole thing by heart, I've read it so many times!
What are your favorite holiday read alouds?