Traditions are a big part of
celebrating Christmas, and for some, that means reading their favorite holiday books. It’s an easy tradition to pass on to your kids, too, because are so many fantastic Christmas books for kids that you can read as a family with some mugs of hot cocoa and fresh cookies. It sounds like a pretty good time, doesn’t it?
Between the twinkling lights, warm fires, and the anticipation of Santa’s arrival, it doesn’t get much better than
Christmas. In my house, books are a big part of the season. Every year, after we’ve finished Thanksgiving dinner, my husband and I gift our girls with a couple of Christmas books for kids that we read with them (usually over and over) until the holiday arrives. We also crack open our copy of A Christmas Carol and work our way through it over the weeks. For us, Christmas is not the same without a stack of festive books.
If this sounds like a tradition you want to start with your family, then you’ll need a few Christmas books
for your library. While classic Christmas books, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express are timeless, there are so many more kids’ Christmas books that deserve a spot on your bookshelves at home. Here are some fun options to get you started. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 A multicultural celebration of Christmas
Aimed at young readers ages 2-5 years old, this colorful board book explores Christmas traditions from all corners of the globe and how different cultures decorate their trees with ornaments, such as German nutcrackers, Chinese apples, and Mexican piñatas. Not only will your little one learn about new and old Christmas traditions through engaging rhymes and beautiful illustrations, they’ll also love the unique tree-shaped carousel-format of the book, which can be stood up to create a free-standing Christmas tree. This book is an instant classic that will can be enjoyed each year when the holidays roll around.
2 A Christmas tale with unicorns
We’re used to having reindeer as the main hooved creatures when it comes to December 25. However, in this Christmas book for kids, unicorns take center stage, as they prepare for the big holiday by sending out cards by shooting stars, trimming their trees with rainbow flowers, and singing their unicorn Christmas song. And when Santa arrives with his tired, over-worked reindeer, the unicorns step in to help deliver Christmas gifts. With colorful illustrations and a fun-filled story, this is one of the best Christmas books for kids if your little ones are major unicorn fanatics.
3 A holiday adventure
What happens when one of Santa’s trusty reindeer gets loose on Christmas Eve? You catch it, of course! Follow as a group of kids work to catch Comet the reindeer and prove that Santa is real once and for all. This fun picture book is full of playful rhymes and bright illustrations that any kid will adore this holiday season. Not to mention, it features STEAM concepts as the Catch Club Kids set up a special trap, along with silly humor and merry chaos throughout. And if you and you kiddo love this book, there are many more festive books to enjoy in the popular
How to Catch series, including How to Catch an Elf, How to Catch a Snowman, How to Catch a Yeti, and How to Catch a Gingerbread Man. 4 A cozy winter picture book
When it snows overnight, two kids wake up and immediately want to go play outside, but getting out there isn’t so simple. Shovels simply won’t cut it, because there is just
so much snow! This stunning picture book is sparse with words but brimming with beautiful illustrations that tell a delightful story on their own. A perfect Christmas book for kids on a snow day or as bedtime story, So Much Snow will have you and your little one bundling up in blankets and drinking hot chocolate to feel extra cozy when the weather gets cold this holiday season. 5 Christmas with a beloved character
For both newcomers and fans of Mercy Watson and the characters of Deckawoo Drive alike, this Christmas tale is sure to put a smile on your kid’s face.
A Very Mercy Christmas follows as young Stella Endicott tries to enlist some people to go Christmas caroling with her, but when everyone else is busy, Mercy pig, a cat, and a horse come to save the day. With fun, colorful illustrations, it’s a celebration of the small miracles the holidays bring. Best of all, when you order this book, a Mercy ornament is included! 6 An interactive holiday book
With a joyous lift-the-flap holiday alphabet tale and a fold-out play-scene, this festive story is one of the best Christmas books for kids who are broadening their vocabulary. After reading the cheerful rhyming story, your little one can lift the two large flaps on each page to learn the letters of the alphabet, as well as seasonal words. Plus, the story itself is adorable, as you read about what the animal inhabitants of Christmas Street are up to on the lead up to the big holiday, such as baking gingerbread and wrapping presents.
7 A quirky Christmas novel
Clarice Bean adores Christmas, but when things start to go wrong in her household — decorating the tree turns into a disaster, her dog eats the turkey, and her parents are too exhausted to host their annual holiday gathering — she knows she has to step in to bring the joy back. With some creative thinking and help along the way, Clarice learns to embrace the holiday mishaps and make this Christmas one to remember. If you kid loves wit and goofy humor, then they will love this full-color illustrated novel full of wacky hijinks and Christmas cheer.
8 A heartwarming holiday tale
Grab a blanket and snuggle up, because this book is ultra cozy! Beautiful metallic-accented illustrations and an endearing story about family and togetherness make this picture-book a glowingly magical addition to any little one’s holiday reading list. The story follows a reindeer family celebrating the season, touching upon all of the sentimental aspects like love, peace, and joy, that make Christmastime truly meaningful. The sweet narrative and charming imagery will enchant young kids, reminding them of all of the special things that bring Christmas spirit and make the holiday worth celebrating each year.
9 A winter literary classic in color
Fans of literature will instantly recognize this one. Depicting the famous and loved poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by acclaimed American poet Robert Frost, this picture-book features stunning images by award-winning illustrator P.J. Lynch that bring the wintery words to life. Just in time for the beloved poem’s centennial, the detailed illustrations will evoke the poem’s timeless snowy setting on the outskirts of a small village, and might even have your kiddo reciting its iconic lines in no time: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep/But I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep.”
10 A Christmas classic
You’ve probably read
A Christmas Carol at some point over the years (or, at least watched a movie version of it), but it’s not really something a baby will find super compelling. That all changes with this little illustrated board book that’s made just for babies. It features the classic ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim, and, of course, Ebeneezer Scrooge. Each page has its own beautiful artwork and a (very) simplified text to tell the classic story. It’s a fun way to get your baby into the Christmas spirit (and a good way to introduce them to the concept of charity). 11 A Christmas tree drama
Everyone knows the best way to spend the holidays is with your best friends, but what do you do when you end up fighting with them? In this book, a moose, a bear, and a beaver are running around preparing for Christmas when they suddenly realize they’ve forgotten to get a tree. After a quick search in the woods, they find one that’s perfect, but the bear doesn’t want to cut it down because it’s just too pretty to destroy. Unfortunately, the beaver and the moose don’t agree and the friends have to work together to figure out a way to celebrate the holiday, with their tree, without fighting. It’s full of fun artwork and a lot of laughs that kids (and probably you) will love.
12 How crayons celebrate
If your kids are fans of
The Day The Crayons Quit, then they’ll love The Crayons’ Christmas just as much. In this story, Duncan and his box of crayons are back to writing notes, this time sharing how they like to spend the Christmas holiday. What makes this book so much fun, though, is that each of the letters is real and can be pulled out of envelopes throughout the book. There are also pop-out ornaments, games, a tree, a poster, and more. It’s so much fun and kids will love learning all of the different ways to celebrate the holiday — other than just opening a lot of gifts from Santa, of course. 13 The 12 days of piñatas
On the first day of Christmas, the little girl in this book found a Piñata in her Christmas tree. This book follows the same format as “The 12 Days of Christmas” song but with a fun Latinx remix. Instead of things like golden rings, French hens, and turtle doves, kids will learn about dancing donkeys, singing moons, and more. Even better, they’ll learn how to count in Spanish as well as a few new words for their vocabulary. The book is full of color and fun, and it’s one you’ll want to keep reading long after Christmas (and the New Year) has passed.
14 A baby board book
Another adorable board book for babies and toddlers,
My Baby Loves Christmas is full of fun pictures and rhythmic poetry to keep little ones captivated. You’ll read about the many things baby loves at Christmastime, like candy canes, jingle bells, snow, gifts, and more. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “Each page features an adorable baby, often with her kitten, and frequently with her mother and/or father as well as plenty of Christmas décor and spirit. What I loved: The illustrations in this book are lovely and full of plenty of colors and characters that will appeal to babies and toddlers. I also really love that the book features a family of color.” 15 A book about music & cheer
If you’ve ever read a book by Sandra Boynton, you already know how much fun they are.
Christmas Parade is no different. Full of her signature silly art, this book follows the sounds and sights of a parade as it passes by. Kids will see a little bird lugging around a giant tuba, chickens with bassoons, cows with saxophones, and even a Santa rhino makes an appearance (it’s not a Christmas parade without Santa, right?). As with all of Sandra Boynton's books, the text throughout is a perfect combination of fun and sweet that kids love. It’s definitely a book worth adding to your collection. 16 A tree decorated in origami
With absolutely stunning illustrations,
Tree of Cranes is a sweet story about a boy’s first Christmas in Japan. On Christmas, he’s recovering from a bad cold and he watches as his mom folds beautiful cranes out of silver origami paper and hangs them all over the Christmas tree to create a beautiful work of art. This story is full of heart and love, and a great way to teach kids who aren’t familiar with origami about how beautiful and meaningful it is. You can even add to the experience by picking up some pieces of origami paper to fold into cranes together and hang on the tree. 17 The sweetest Christmas wish I Got The Christmas Spirit is about a little girl soaking up all of the goodness the season brings. Readers follow her throughout the story as she crunches through the snow (such a wonderful sound), smells the delightful sweet scent of roasting chestnuts, hears sleigh bells and carolers, and sees the colors of Christmas lights all while spreading cheer wherever and however she can. By the end of the story, the little girl makes her want to Santa, where instead of a toy, she simply asks him to spread peace and love to everyone on Christmas, and every day after. 18 The best Christmas gift
It’s easy to get so caught up in the presents and toys at Christmas that we forget about what matters most — spending time with the people you love. Kids will get a gentle reminder of this when reading
The Spirit of Christmas which is full of gorgeous illustrations. It’s a fantastic book for kids to read in general, but reading it as a family really brings the message home. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “I love this book, my family reads it during the Christmas season every year and I can’t get through it without crying. One of the things I like about this book is that it keeps to the true meaning of Christmas without being a nativity story.” 19 A new take on an old story
You’re probably well aware of the classic Christmas ballet,
The Nutcracker, but this book’s take on the story maybe even better (I said what I said). The Nutcracker in Harlem follows a little girl’s adventures after discovering an enchanted toy. Throughout the book, her journey takes her to fun places in New York during the Harlem Renaissance, until the end where she discovers her voice and her musical talents. The story has jazz themes throughout and every page has beautiful illustrations with pops of color and so much whimsy. Truthfully, you’ll probably still be reading this with your kids well into the New Year. 20 A little holiday humor
While the heart-warming stories about the love of family at Christmas are wonderful, sometimes you just want something silly to read with your kids. Enter:
It’s Christmas, David. In this book, a little boy David is constantly risking being put on Santa’s naughty list because he can’t stop playing with breakable ornaments, acting wild at Christmas dinner, being patient in line, and basically doing the opposite of everything he’s supposed to be doing. Thankfully, Santa understands that David’s just a kid, so chances are high David won’t wake up on Christmas morning to find a lump of coal in his stocking. 21 A book about Christmas toys & magic
For older kids, you can’t go wrong with
Jingle Jangle. It’s a chapter book written for kids between 9-12 years old, so it’s a great choice for reading a chapter a night or doing a little family book club. The story follows Jeronicus Jangle, a toymaker who’s coping with the betrayal of a friend he trusted. Thankfully, his granddaughter, Journey steps in just in time for Christmas and saves the day with her own invention. This story is so different from what you’re used to at Christmas, but in the best possible way, and there’s no doubt that everyone in the family will love it. Plus, once you’re done reading the book, you can watch the movie adaptation together on Netflix. 22 A game of Christmas ball
There’s a lot to love about
Baseball Bats for Christmas, a picture book full of some of the most gorgeous illustrations you’ve seen. The story follows Arvaarluk and his friends who live in the Arctic where they don’t get a lot of visitors until legendary pilot Rocky Parsons lands his plane in the middle of the ice in their village. Rocky brings trees for planting with him, but the Arvaarluk and his friends have never seen trees before, so they turn them into baseball bats as they play a few games at Christmas. The story in this book is sweet and fun, but what makes it even better is that its depiction of culture in the Arctic is accurate and educational. 23 A beautiful picture of Christmas Eve
One of my favorite traditions my family has is to read
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas together every Christmas Eve before our daughters go to bed. It’s such a cute poem/story, but the book has to be just right in order to keep a little kid’s attention. This version does just that. It’s illustrated by Mr. Boddington’s Studio with modern pictures full of color that will certainly catch a kid’s eye. Honestly, what kid wouldn’t want to look at gorgeous pictures while building up anticipation for Santa’s arrival. There’s no doubt that after reading this before bed, your little ones will have Sugar Plums dancing in their heads as they sleep. 24 A counting reindeer book
Little kids will love learning how to count when reading
The Night the Reindeer Came to Play. The book tells the story of some mischievous reindeer that show up at the home of a little kid on Christmas Eve. Throughout the book kids will giggle and count along as the reindeer play their very silly reindeer games. Readers seriously love this book, one reviewer wrote on Amazon, “As a former preschool teacher, I cannot express all the wonderful qualities the author and illustrators demonstrated in this heart-warming book. Entertaining and developmentally appropriate for small children, yet also an entertainment magnet for anyone with a heart!”
With so many wonderful Christmas books for kids out there to choose from, it’s hard to wrong. The most important thing is that you and your little ones spend time spreading holiday cheer through the power of books. Happy reading!
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This article was originally published on
November 2, 2021