Discover the magic of Santa in these 15 picture books for kids.
Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
The Magic Of Santa Lives In These 15 Picture Books

And you're going to want all of them for your kid's Christmas reading.

by Cat Bowen and Ashley Jones

I am a huge reader, so reading with my children is obviously one of my favorite things to do. This time of year, our books tend to be mostly related to Christmas and Hanukkah, and Santa is a particular favorite topic. I mean, he's so mysterious, right? There are children's picture books about Santa covering all topics of his life and history, and because "no one really knows for sure," kids have a fun time trying to piece together what they think he's really like.

There's literally a Santa story for every child and every family, and they range from the silliest picture books, to more serious, social justice stories that get to the heart of what the holiday is about. The best stories amplify all that is good about the idea of Santa, and why his myth has such a power to create positive energy and how he became a centerpiece in all of our lives.

The books on this list are some of the absolute best out there, and represent a huge range of subjects, age, and reading levels. Some of these are also available in audiobook format or on eBook if you're pressed for space. No matter which you choose, you and your kids are sure to be entertained.


A Story About Catching Santa

This book is a laugh riot. Every kid who celebrates the holiday has stayed up to "catch Santa," right? Well this book gives you clever instructions to do just that. From the New York Times bestselling author of How To Babysit A Grandpa, How To Catch Santa is a must-read this season. Your kids will learn all the best (and silliest) tricks for how to catch the big guy in the act — Christmas cookie traps, leaving the lights on the tree plugged in, and more. My kids tried many of these hilarious tips, and I'll be damned if they didn't almost catch Mommy kissing Santa Claus.


A Book About A Wild Holiday Ride

My kids love the whole Goodnight Train series, and this one is even more magical thanks to Santa getting in on the action as well. It's a sweet, fun series that the whole family will get swept up within, and Santa and the Goodnight Train is no exception. On Christmas Eve, the train rolls through a winter wonderland as it follows Santa’s sleigh (and of course, his eight magical reindeer) while he delivers gifts. The sweet book features lively illustrations with rich colors that will draw kids in — gingerbread houses, footprints in the snow, and plenty of festive holiday decorations.


A Multicultural Story With Cookie Recipes

A World Of Cookies For Santa is a multicultural celebration of the Christmas tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa. Follow children around the world and learn about their heritage and what they leave out for Santa. From puto seko cookies and ginger tea set out for Santa in the Philippines to sweet potato cookies in Malawi and honey-spice cookies in Russia, your kids will love learning about all of the different varieties of cookies that Santa gets to enjoy each and every Christmas Eve. You can even make some of the cookies yourself, thanks to the recipes provided in the book.


A Twist On A Christmas Classic

Admit it, you had this version of The Night Before Christmas as a kid, and your parents probably still have the tattered copy up in their attic somewhere. A retelling of the classic Christmas Eve tale, this book is a classic for a reason, and your kids totally deserve it. Join the whole Berenstain Bear family as they prepare for Christmas and Mama aims to teach everyone that the true meaning of the holiday season is much more than meets the eye. Family is everything and the spirit of giving is ever-present in this sweet story starring everyone’s favorite family of bears.


A Silly Santa Story

OH NO! Santa doesn't have his favorite underwear. Whatever will he do? Will he have to cancel Christmas? Well, first he'll try on every single pair of undies he has. Santa’s Underwear is a silly, goofy book that romps through a fun story with Santa, and it's just simply wonderful. If you’re in need of a laugh this holiday season (because thanks to all of the stress of creating magical memories, of course you are) this is the perfect picture book about Santa to enjoy reading together with your kids over and over again until the gifts finally arrive on Dec. 25.


A Book About Santa As A Baby

It turns out that Santa was an awesome baby, but maybe just a little bit strange. For instance, why does he sound like a fully-grown man with a booming voice instead of tiny baby cries? Why does he give away his birthday presents? Did he really train his hamsters to pull his matchbox cars like a teeny tiny sleigh? It's all a bit weird if you ask Santa's parents, but they’re still so proud of him that they’re willing to talk all about his quirks. You and your kids can learn all about baby Santa’s upbringing when you read the adorable picture book When Santa Was a Baby.


A Book About Santa’s Smallest Helper

Santa's littlest helper is really little — like, as small as a mouse — because that’s exactly what he is. The poor chap has no name, his house is big and lonely, and he's actually feeling a bit down, until he becomes one of the most important people to the big guy in red. When Santa’s down for the count, he knows he can count on his tiny mouse helper to save Christmas. Filled with classic illustrations and plenty of holiday magic, you can read all about how this little guy took on a big, big job in Santa’s Mouse.


A Book About How Santa Became... Well, Santa

Have you ever wondered how St. Nick got his position as the gift giver extraordinaire that he is? Did he see an ad in the newspaper? Did he apply on Indeed? How Santa Got His Job is the adorable tale of how the whole deliverer-in-chief situation came to be and it’s truly a spectacular story for kids and adults alike. The tale even speaks to the odd jobs Santa had before he took on his current position at the North Pole. The illustrations by S.D. Schindler in this charming book are really gorgeous, and they remind me of the books I read as a child.


A Book That Tells Santa’s Favorite Story

Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki is possibly the most beautifully drawn Santa story that I've ever seen. Illustrator Ivan Gantschev totally nails the classic holiday aesthetic with snow-covered trees, sweet expressive faces on animals and on Santa, and just an overall vintage vibe that is so enjoyable. I vaguely remember seeing this book on the shelf at my local library when I was younger, but it wasn't until I was gifted it when my son was a baby that I really soaked it in. Santa tells the story of the first Christmas to woodland creatures, and it's just incredibly lovely.


A Story That Re-Imagines Santa’s Life

This is one of the most wonderful Santa stories that I've ever read. Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith imagines Santa as a black, gay man whose husband, David (aka the other Mr. Claus), helps him prepare for the busy holiday season by supporting him throughout the year. The sweet illustrations by A.P. Quach are just as lively and jolly as the big guy himself. It's easily my kids' favorite picture book about Santa, and mine as well. The story itself is a beautiful representation of love and helps teach children about acceptance and making assumptions in a sweet, short tale.


A Book About Santa’s Travels

If your kids have ever contemplated where Santa’s travels take him and what all he sees during his lengthy trek around the globe, Where Would Santa Go may just have the answers they seek. When Lucy and Max write a letter to Santa asking where they should go when they grow up and travel the world, he responds by waking up the pair and taking them on whirlwind adventure. The trio explores a plethora of faraway places and learns some fun facts along the way. It’s a beautiful account of countries across the globe filled with vivd illustrations and plenty of holiday magic.


A Book About How Santa Gets Down The Chimney

For any kid who has ever wondered just how Santa shimmies down all of those chimneys every single Christmas Eve, reading Santa’s Stuck this Christmas is a fun way to learn how it all goes down. (Pun totally intended.) As it turns out, the act of getting down some chimneys isn’t all that easy and sometimes, when Santa eats a few too many midnight snacks of milk and cookies, he actually gets stuck. Read what happens when the reindeer can’t pull him out, family pets can’t push him up from below, and it’s up to a tiny mouse to get Santa unstuck.


A Story About Santa’s Search For His Reindeer

If you’re looking for a silly picture book about Santa that will have you and your kids laughing all the way up until Christmas Day, Santa’s Lost Reindeer is a fantastic choice. When Santa’s magical reindeer go missing, Old St. Nick is absolutely beside himself and must search high and low to find his noble steads in time to deliver gifts around the world. Of course, hilarity ensues as Santa struggles to figure out just where his reindeer have gone. Will he find them in time for his Christmas journey? Read this fun story with your kids to find out.


A Book About What Santa Wants For Christmas

After Santa delivers gifts to everyone across the globe, what happens when he returns home to the North Pole? As it turns out, even Santa likes to receive a gift or two on Christmas, and Mrs. Claus is the one who makes sure he isn’t forgotten about. But this year, Mrs. Claus has hidden his gifts, so he must search high and low around their home to find the homemade gifts that she made just for him. Filled with joy and love, A Christmas Gift For Santa is a sweet story poised to become a Christmas classic that your family will cherish year after year.


A Story About How Santa Found The North Pole

When it comes to Christmas magic, kids can have a lot of questions, specifically about Santa and the North Pole. When you need to find the answers to the big stuff like, How did the elves get to the North Pole? or Does Santa get WiFi? this is the book for the job. After all, can a picture book that’s written and illustrated by a person whose first name is actually Santa be wrong? It cannot. As the subtitle “A children’s book written for kids of all ages” conveys, Santa Found The North Pole will get you swept up in the magic of the holiday season no matter how old you are.