Christmas is such a magical time of the year. We spend months looking forward to the lights, the decorations, the cookies, the gifts, the celebrations. No matter how old you are, you can’t deny the joy that this season brings.
There are a lot of different ways to celebrate Christmas, but one of my favorite ways is by reading with my kids. Blame it on my life-long love for reading or my background in education, but there’s just nothing better than snuggling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and a really good Christmas book. The twinkling Christmas lights on the tree make the set-up even better.
After polling friends and going through our own personal favorites, I have compiled some of the very best books to read with your kids to celebrate the Christmas season.
Discussing the Christmas Story:
1. One Wintry Night by Ruth Graham
One Wintry Night will capture the attention of your kids right away! This adventurous story of a little boy who gets hurt in the woods will lead your family on a journey and explore the Christmas story as a piece of the larger story that is in the Bible. As a small chapter book, this is a great one to read over the course of a week.
2. The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
This folktale is brand new to me and is already on my list of favorites! Not only will it expand the imaginations of your children, but it will also draw out the connection and importance of the Christmas story to the life and death of Jesus.
3. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
One of the sweetest Christmas books you’ll find, Mortimer’s Christmas Manger will make you fall in love with a curious little mouse who is determined to set up the manger scene in his own way. Eventually Mortimer hears the story of Christmas and realizes precisely how the Nativity should be set. This story will provoke wonder in your kids and probably cause your nativity scene to be a main feature in your house!
4. The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans
The Light of Christmas may be one of the most selfless stories I’ve ever read. Your family will follow a little boy as he longs to light the Christmas flame in the middle of his village, but risks missing the celebration by helping another along the way. This beautiful story will create a wonderful conversation about humility and the truest gift of Christmas.
5. An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Set during the Great Depression, An Orange for Frankie, is a moving story about giving without limits. You will feel excitement, anxiousness, sadness, and joy right alongside Frankie and his family and possibly even think of ways that your family could be generous just like them.
6. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
Do your kids love interactive books that go beyond just telling a story? If so, The Jolly Christmas Postman is the PERFECT Christmas book for you! From Little Red Riding Hood to Humpty Dumpty, you’ll see several familiar faces and read their adorable letters to each other. This book is full of real cards inside envelopes that add lots of extras to an already adorable story!
7. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
The perfect Christmas tree is always hard to find, whether you’re looking for a fake one, a real one, or a kid-friendly one! Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree understands this better than anyone else! Follow a host of characters as they transform one tree into the perfect decoration for each of them.
For Younger Kids:
8. Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker
If you’re familiar with the Construction Site books, then you are sure to love this Christmas edition. With pages full of rhymes and presents for each machine, your truck-loving kiddos will want to read this story over and over. Is there anything more adorable than a three-year-old trying to say “excavator?”
9. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Eric Carle is one of the best children’s authors and illustrators out there. His predictable text, unique illustrations, and familiar characters will draw your kiddos in and allow them to help you read throughout the book. They may even see a connection between the farmer and another famous man that comes to visit at Christmas!
10. Nutcracker Noel by Kate McMullan
I’m quite partial to this story because my childhood best friend gave it to me for Christmas in the first grade. I still have my original copy with his message and signature inside the front cover. But even if I didn’t have a long connection to it, I would still love it for its Nutcracker story, its beautiful illustrations, and the important lesson of contentment that I remember every year.
11. The Christmas Blizzard by Helen Ketteman
Another book from my childhood given to me by my first grade teacher (first grade must have been a good year for me), The Christmas Blizzard is a silly story full of bizarre events that will fill your house with giggles as you hear how Christmas almost didn’t happen in the town of Lizzard, Indiana. Be sure you read it with the old-man country accent–it’s more fun that way!
12. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I’m pretty sure this one needs no explanation. It’s as classic as classic gets.
13. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Most of our kids probably don’t even know that The Polar Express was a book before it was a movie. Introduce them to this classic story because the saying really is true: the book is always better than the movie.
This timeless story is mentioned in so many Christmas movies that your kids probably don’t realize that it is actually a story all of its own! You probably have a copy of this book as a Christmas decoration somewhere in your house, but if not, there are quite a few versions to choose from online and in stores!
15. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Did you read this short chapter book as a kid? If not, you’ll be in for a treat right alongside your kids. The Herdman siblings are unlike any other kids on the planet and are not at all who you would expect to lead the Christmas pageant. You will laugh and gasp at their antics and make memories with your kids as you watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever unfold before your eyes.
This list is in no way exhaustive. I could have made a list of at least 100 books to recommend to you. However, these are some of the best I have found and would highly suggest reading them with your kids this season! What are some of your favorite Christmas books?