All right, so you could get in the Christmas spirit by telling the same old tale about a jolly old man who slides down the chimneys and rewards well-behaved kids with mountains of toys.

Some people hold fast to their Christmas traditions, and there is nothing wrong with that. But think how magical it can be to revamp Christmas stories to better reflect the time and country that we live in.

After all, that may be what keeps Christmas alive. Maria Tatar, a professor of mythology and folklore at Harvard University, says that when we reimagine the stories we grew up with, we're ensuring that they get passed down to future generations.

"We all have a nostalgic connection to childhood," Tatar says. "But as we grow up, we start to look at some of the things we read and cherished with a critical eye, and realize that they're not so culturally innocent after all. And to me, that's a good thing. ... It's up to us as adults to reinvent some of our stories, to make them better, make them new, make them more interesting, make them more relevant. There's no reason to tell the same old story again and again."

So, in that spirit, here's our list of five children's books that honor the diversity of ways that Christmas is understood and celebrated in the United States.

So, what holiday traditions are you taking a closer look at this year? Email us at and let us know! Happy holidays!

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