We love reading stories. And I love getting into the holiday spirit with my kids by reading them Christmas stories during the month of December. Here are some recommendations and ideas for good books to read at Christmastime.
Christmas Picture Books We Like
These are the books we’ve (or at least I’ve) read and enjoyed:
1. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt -I cry every time I read this story. It works for Christmas and Easter and I like how it ties the two together. I think it is important to remember at Christmas time, when all is sweetness and light with babies and shepherds and gifts of gold, that the little baby came to earth to die. For us.
2. A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe -This is a sweet little picture book about love and friendship and kindness.
3. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck -A boy gives a precious gift to his father. As a mother, I want my children to get ideas from this book and carry them out! :)
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss -A classic story that we love.
5. The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers -I love the ballet and I was excited to introduce the story to the kids. This version has great illustrations.
6. The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall -I really like telling the legend of St. Nicholas. I tell my kids that this is legend- so we don’t know how much of it is true- but it seems like there was a guy who loved God and out of that love God poured forth generosity toward others. He is a hero worthy of emulation- we also should be generous with what God has graciously given us because of our love for Him.
7. Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant -This is a sweet story of the ‘circle of generosity.’ It even touches on having a good attitude and a thankful heart, even when you don’t get what you wish for the most- this is a good lesson and a very needed one for my kids!
8. Stephen’s Feast by Jean Richardson -A tale of King Wenceslas and his page. A boy learns from his king to follow in his footsteps and give to those in need.
9. The Christmas Knight by Jane Louise Curry -A fun story about a generous, loving man and what happens when he gives all that he has away.
10. The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden -A very sweet story of a little homeless girl and her Christmas doll.
11. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening– by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers -A great way to introduce this poem to kids- with lots of fun snowy illustrations!
12. Jolly Old Santa Claus by Mary Jane Tonn -This was a book my mother read to us when we were little, every Christmas Eve. So now, I read it to my children every Christmas Eve. Ah, tradition. I love it.
13. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore -This was another book my mother read to us every year on the night before Christmas. The version I read to my kids is a pop-up book from Barnes and Noble I picked up one year when I started having Christmas at home.
14. The Story of Christmas illustrated by John Walker -My mother also read a pop-up book of the very first Christmas to us every Christmas Eve. So, again, when I started my own family traditions, I found this book. I fell in love with the amazing illustrations and I liked that the text was taken directly from the Bible.
Chapter Books & Books for Advent
1. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens -I like to listen to the Focus on the Family Radio Theater version of this classic tale.
2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis -when I taught school, this was the book I assigned at Christmas (to my 7th graders. I assigned The Christmas Carol to my 8th graders.) It isn’t a Christmas story really, but since Father Christmas is in it, it is Christmasy enough for me.
3. The Jessie Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean -We read this last year as our Advent family devotional time. I love that it starts at the beginning and traces God’s plan for the coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament.
4. Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide (and also Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels) -We are reading Jotham’s Journey this December, with daily readings throughout the advent season. It is exciting and scary and we are all really enjoying it- the kids are at the edge of their seats with wide eyes and we are all excited to read the next section. My plan is to read Bartholomew’s Passage next year and then Tabitha’s Travels the year after that. Ah, so many books to read, so little time.
Books On Our List This Year (But We Haven’t Read Yet)
I searched the internet for recommendations for Christmas books to read to my children that I could also find at my local library. Here was the result:
1. The Snow Queen retold by Sarah Lowes and illustrated by Miss Clara -We haven’t yet read this book based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, but I was drawn to this story by the beautiful and whimsical illustrations. It is long tale, comprised of 7 chapters, about a young girl who sets off to rescue her friend from the Snow Queen’s clutches.
2. A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill -We like this author and so I am looking forward to reading this story about a mute boy who longs to do something special at Christmas.
3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson -The bad kids in town get involved in the Christmas Pageant in this chapter book. I hear it is funny and sweet. My kids are totally into funny.
4. Albert and the Angels by Leslie Norris -A boy and his dog try to find a gift for his mother.
5. The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler’s Sons by Ruth Sawyer -A playful goblin king pays a visit to the cobbler and his sons.
6. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett -We enjoy Jan Brett’s fun stories and vivid illustrations, so this year,we’ll give this one a try.
7. Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera -A little girl stows away in her Aunt’s luggage to discover her Christmas secret.
8. Dance in the Desert by Madeleine L’Engle -All sorts of animals come to dance for a child who is traveling to Egypt with his parents. I am intrigued by this different take on the Christmas story.
9. The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans -A boy buys a magic candle that changes how he views others.