25 Days – Book 12: The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree

Day 12 brings a lovely tale of a Christmas tree for a family of beloved bears. I don’t know about your families, but around here there is a lot of love for the (vintage) Berenstain Bears. Most of our books are from the 70s and 80s and were my husbands. Our girls have taken a strong liking to them all on their own. I’m not sure if it is the size of the books, the familiarity of the characters, or the simplicity of the stories that has them so captivated. I was excited to track down this book last Christmas. It is a special holiday book based on the NBC-TV Christmas show (which we actually haven’t seen). Warm your heart and your spirit this season with The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain, 1980.

Excitement for Christmas was escalating in Bear Country and Papa Bear is determined to get the perfect Christmas tree for the family to decorate. Despite Mama Bear’s concerns about timing, weather, and obsession, Papa and the cubs set out to chop down the perfect tree themselves.

It becomes quite a trek as Papa is determined and knows exactly what he wants. But every tree that seems to be “the one” ends up being a beloved home of some forest creature. The cubs help Papa be kindhearted and save the animals’ homes err… trees, but Papa is undeterred from their quest for that perfect one.

“He was forgetting something that day—
That Christmas is more than show and display.
More than just tinsel and pink plastic stars, 
And stuffing yourself with sugar-nut bars.
There was something IMPORTANT
That he was forgetting—
Christmas is for giving!
It isn’t for getting.”

While quite long, I find this Bear family story to be delightful. The tone of the writing reminds me of the Grinch story and cuts right to the heart of the matter around this holiday. It is a time to show kindness and think of others.

The Berenstain Bears’ books often get a bad rap for being preachy and lesson-driven, but they continue to stand the test of kids. I may tire of reading the current favorite on repeat, but they are quite lovely in their family focus and approachability of events. They are a quick grab for us when a new situation arises and our kids are feeling it out. Going to the doctor? There’s a Berenstain Bear book for that. Fighting with a friend? There’s one for that. Too busy and overscheduled? Yep, there’s one for that too. And I especially like this Christmas tree one that puts the focus of family and community on an out-of-control marketing celebration.

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