The Spirit of Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas takes the reader through a magical journey, embracing all the moments we love during the holidays. A vision made of sparkles and stars, the Spirit is an actual character in the book, and can be found in every illustration.

But, as the reader soon discovers, the most magical part of any Christmas season is spending time with those we love.

I hope children and their parents alike will delight in searching for The Spirit of Christmas both in my pages, and in their hearts… and in discovering, as I have with my own children, “The best part of Christmas will always be… you beneath my Christmas tree.”

Sample Spreads

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Audio Version

Read by Grammy winner Jim Dale, known to millions as the voice of Harry Potter, and featuring Christmas carols performed by the St. Paul’s Children’s Choir, including Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, It Came Upon a Midnnight Clear, Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, Silent Night, and The First Noel, as well as a reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas, the audio version of The Spirit of Christmas also includes a keepsake ornament!

Audio Version of The Spirit of Christmas

Reviews for The Spirit of Christmas:


Handsomely illustrated, this Christmas book is bound to be hyped as the perfect seasonal gift. In rhymed verse and a first-person voice, the narrator begins: “I had just nodded off, / at a quarter past four, / when the Spirit of Christmas / stepped in through my door.” The “Spirit” conjures up scenes, symbols, smells, and tastes of the season that are encapsulated in spare, rhythmic words: “Candy cane tongues / and marshmallow mustaches. / Everyone caroling songs of goodwill.” A toy-soldier band, a lion and lamb, snow angels, and Santa Claus are beautifully depicted and lead to the Christmas tree and the message behind the celebration. The Spirit reminds the narrator, “Remember, this all began with a child. / Because it took nothing but love to begin it, / it’s not really Christmas if love isn’t in it.” Tillman’s sentimental sensibility and beautiful artwork ensure that this will become a popular choice at holiday time.

Publishers Weekly

As the adult speaker of the story nods off in a comfy red chair, the Spirit of Christmas appears, ready to get the narrator in the holiday spirit. What follows is a buoyant, imagistic tribute to the season, as the Spirit lists joys both concrete (“A toy soldier band dressed in matching red sashes!”) and intangible, before offering the reminder: “Because it took nothing but love to begin it,/ it’s not really Christmas if love isn’t in it.” Tillman’s ethereal illustrations (a frozen tree, dotted with peppermints; the cast of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” beside a river) are surreal but captivating.

Kirkus Reviews

Bestselling author Tillman offers a dreamlike interpretation of the collective spirit that permeates the holiday.

Children’s Book of the Month Club

What are your most cherished holiday memories? Inspired by best-loved Christmas carols, ancient lore, snow angels, starry winter nights and all that is wonderful about this joyous time of the year, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Tillman weaves a magical tale that celebrates the special moments many of us hold dear. Everything about The Spirit of Christmas makes it the best kind of book to share with the ones you love most. The rhyming verse is so fun to read out loud, and the artwork…the artwork! Have you ever ice skated on an enchanted snowy evening? Or spotted a pack of wolves (and one raccoon!) howling songs of goodwill? Tillman’s warm and whimsical illustrations beautifully capture the goodness of the season!

School Library Journal

‘I had just nodded off,/at a quarter past four,/when the Spirit of Christmas/stepped in through my door.’” So begins this lovely story in which all the delights of the season are presented. Realism and fantasy are satisfyingly paired to bring the mixed-media illustrations of treasured holiday scenes to life. Many of the paintings include bits of lyrics and music from well-known carols. The message is sweet; no matter how fancy one’s decorations, no matter how elaborate one’s feast, or how many pretty packages wait beneath the tree, ‘It is love that makes the angels sing.’ A beautiful and timeless book.

Shelf Awareness

Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) expertly swirls together reality and fantasy–the narrator’s child delights in the sight of the decorated tree, the lion lies down with the lamb–as is fitting for such a magical night.

Children’s Literature

The wonderful colored illustrations convey a sense of joy and peace.

To purchase The Spirit of Christmas, please follow any of the links below:

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