As the Christmas season rolled around last year I found myself trying to think of something that I could make or get for friends and family that would be both meaningful and relatively inexpensive. I decided I didn’t want to stress over making a treat as I lack culinary genius. As I thought through some Christmas-y things I remembered a Christmas tradition my family had for years. Many years ago my Grandma Shana made a book with a different Christmas story for each of the days in December leading up to Christmas and gave it to our family. Every night from December 1 through Christmas Eve we would gather around the Christmas tree in our pajamas and listen to one of these stories and get in the Christmas spirit. It’s one of my very favorite Christmas traditions and one that I was excited to share with my family.
I decided to find a similar Christmas book and get it printed. I figured with the internet it would be really easy to find something like what my grandma had made for us and be done with the project with relatively little effort. I was right, except I forgot to factor in one small detail – I’m a picky person with gifts I give. I had a few requirements that none of the books I found could match. I wanted to avoid copyrighted material as much as possible and focused on Christ and the spirit of giving and family more than presents and Santa Claus. I was also pretty picky about having a book where all of the fonts/capitalization etc were in the same style and free of spelling errors. Almost every book I found had at least one story that was photocopied from a newspaper clipping or a magazine, or had stories in completely different fonts, or weird page breaks, or poor spelling. My last qualification was the one that was completely impossible to meet. A few years ago Elder Eyring gave a Christmas Devotional talk where he related the story of their nativity play which included Samuel the Lamanite and the events in the Americas. I really liked the idea of including these events in the nativity play I did with my family and wanted to find a copy of the Christmas story that combined both the events in the New Testament and those in the Book of Mormon. I found a few renditions that were put into colloquial speech and made into a play script, but I really just wanted to have the scriptures from both stories combined into an easy to read, single story with minimal extra narration.
So, after failing to find what I was looking for I finally decided to just build it myself. As Sam would only nap on my lap at the time I moved my rocking chair in front of the TV and hooked my laptop up to the huge monitor and used our wireless keyboard and mouse to work the book while Sam would sleep on my lap. I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I think it was pretty close to the beginning of December. It took me right up until Christmas Eve to finish off putting the books together exactly how I wanted them. But in the end I was very pleased with the results.
So, since I put so much time and effort into these books I figured I ought to share them with everyone. I’ve attached the files for both Microsoft Publisher and Adobe PDF for those of you who might not have Publisher. Feel free to make changes to fit your needs, but please give credit back to me and include the URL to my site somewhere in the book. If you to change the stories that are in your personal collection please note that the table of contents and page numbers are not automatically generated, so you will need to go back and manually update the page numbers at the bottom of the pages as well as the titles and page numbers in the table of contents. All of the graphics in this book come from Precious Moments’ free clip art collection. The stories all come from different sources but I tried to list those sources and give credit as much as I could find them.
You are free to print these and distribute them to your friends as Christmas presents or just print one for your own use. I printed mine and just put them in 3 ring binders like these ones. Although if you’re going to do a lot it might be more economical to invest in a comb binding machine and buying a bunch of comb binders and bind them up that way. I was surprised at how quickly the cost of binders added up!
I have really put a lot of time and effort into getting this collection to be as close to perfect as I could. If you notice any errors or have any suggestions for improvements *please* post them in the comments below.
Christmas Stories – Adobe PDF Format
Christmas Stories – Microsoft Publisher Format