No, it’s not A Christmas Carol, though that IS a classic. And it isn’t Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend or The Legend of the Candy Cane, though those are great stories, too. No, our favorite Christmas Story is one that most people probably haven’t heard of: The Christmas Lizard by Corey Edwards.

The Christmas Lizard is a story about a pet lizard, Oscar, who was given as a Christmas gift one year, and his experiences with his first Christmas on the following year. The lizard has many questions about Christmas and late one night sets off on an adventure outside of his cage to discover just what Christmas is about.

To get a better view he decides to climb up the Christmas tree, meeting various ornament characters along the way. They each tell Oscar what they believe Christmas is about. By the time Oscar reaches the angel at the top of the tree, he has learned that Christmas is about traditions, parties, gifts, and helping the needy. Confused, Oscar quizzes the angel about the true meaning of Christmas. “How can it be all those things?” he wonders.

The angel directs Oscar’s attention to the nativity scene on the mantel, and lovingly explains that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and that all the ornaments were right — that these are all different ways that people can celebrate Christmas and Jesus’ birth — but that the main reason we celebrate Christmas is that it’s Jesus’ birthday. She adds “the best way to celebrate Christmas is by remembering Jesus and loving others the way he loves you.” The story is so touching that by the end I’m all weepy and mushy inside.

What I like most about the story is that it doesn’t discount that there are many traditions and elements to celebrating Christmas (parties, gifts, etc) but it emphasizes that these are all things we can use to celebrate the birth of Christ. Christ-centered holidays are important to me, and part of that is choosing what to include and what not to include in our holiday celebrations – the deciding factor being whether or not a tradition or element can be used to glorify God and further the overall goal of our holiday focus. It’s not about where a tradition started or about how other people use it — it’s about how YOU use it.

I love the story, but I love the illustrations just as much. The artwork is beautiful, the colors are fantastic. Whimsical and fun, simple and true, sweet and touching, this is a Christmas story that is still one of our favorites, even six years later.

The Christmas Lizard is one more tool that I use to keep Christmas all about Jesus. Tell me what YOUR favorite Christmas story is! Merry Christmas!

{Originally published December 19th, 2006; republished December 19th, 2008; updated 11/12}

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!