Christmas is a season of making memories through the magic of ordinary moments. But sometimes it feels like there’s all this pressure to make memories at Christmas and you’re just not sure where to start to create the memories, right?
One of the simplest, easiest, most practical ways to make memories with your children at Christmas is through reading books together. Nothing elaborate. No months of planning and preparation needed. Simply and intentionally pulling a book off the bookshelf, sitting down and starting to read together.
Now, if you have a shelf filled with Christmas books, your task becomes that much simpler! But what if your shelf of Christmas books is bare? What if you’re looking for books that reflect the heart of Christmas? Where do you start if you want to highlight the generosity, the humility, the kindness, the love that is shown to others and to you in this holiday season?
I went through our bookshelves and pulled out 25 of our favorite Christmas books. These children’s books are the ones we find ourselves pulling off the shelf and enjoying over and over and over again. Many of them incorporate the fun of the season, but through them all runs a theme of generosity, friendship, humility, love, compassion, and joy. These 25 books are some of the best children’s Christmas books you’ll find as you get into the spirit of Christmas!
#1 :: The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
A beautiful retelling of the reason for all the celebration of Christmas. In just 200 words, this small toddler board book will take you from when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary through the birth of Christ and the visit of the shepherds to the visit of the Magi. A must-read for any family with little ones!
#2 :: Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck and Felicia Bond
Take a look at the animals and people you know and love from a different perspective in this simple rhyming board book. But the words in the book are not just there for show, they capture the true heart of Christmas in every line.
#3 :: Duck & Goose: It’s Time for Christmas by Tad Hills
Join friends Duck and Goose as they walk through many different winter activities to get to their destination: Decorating a Christmas tree with their friends! This silly, simple, and lighthearted tale is a fun read for the little ones in your life.
#4 :: A Very Merry Christmas Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen
This sweet book is a prayer in rhyme that goes through and thanks God for different things seen and enjoyed during the Christmas season like twinkling lights, family time, and songs. On top of that, it connects each one to a gift that God gives. Some of them are directly related to the Christmas story and others are gifts from God like His presence, His goodness, and His forgiveness. Simple, yet profound, this toddler book is a welcome addition to any Christmas bookshelf.
#5 :: Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle
Join Little Blue on a Christmas counting adventure as he loads up Christmas trees to deliver to all his friends. Told in delightful cadence and rhyme, this fun story all about serving others and spreading joy will have you coming back to read it again and again.
#6 :: Biscuit’s Christmas Storybook Collection by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
This is a collection of easy reader stories staring Biscuit the pup as he explores the fun of the holiday season. Nine books are included in this collection, but you can also find the easy reader books individually. Some of our family’s favorites are Biscuit’s Christmas, Biscuit’s Christmas Eve, Biscuit Gives a Gift, and Biscuit’s Snowy Day.
#7 :: The Snow Bear by Miriam Moss
A wonderful tale of helping others told through the eyes of a little white snow bear. The bear is lonely and doesn’t know where to find his mother, so he builds a bear out of snow with the help of his new friends. Yet, the story in this picture book isn’t a sad one as the mother bear finds her cub just as the cub knew she would.
#8 :: Jingle All the Way by Tom Shay-Zapien
In this very first book, you meet Jingle the husky pup. Jingle is a good dog who loves to hang out with kids, but he doesn’t have a home to call his own. More than anything, Jingle wants a home with someone to love. Andrew is a young boy who wants a dog more than anything. This heartwarming picture book tells the story of a boy and a dog coming together and finding the friend they’ve been looking for in the other.
#9 :: Jingle and Bell’s Christmas Star by Deborah Welky Miles
Meet the husky pups, Jingle and Bell! Together with their owners, Andrew and Sofia, Jingle and Bell love to have fun, make people smile, and play with their friends. In this picture book, Andrew and Jingle help Sofia and Bell learn how to enjoy their first Christmas in the snow. Filled with compassion, friendship, kindness, and sharing, this book deserves a place on your Christmas bookshelf!
#10 :: The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
This beautiful parable told in a picture book takes you through the life of a pine tree planted and growing on a Christmas Tree farm. This beautiful tree was so beloved that the farmer and his wife could not bear to sell it. And yet, one Christmas, this special tree became a most special gift for the most unlikely family.
#11 :: The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel by Mike Berenstain
This is a snowy story that starts out with Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and Honey Bear playing in the snow and building a snow angel. But their angel has a very bear-like look in true Berenstain Bear fashion! The snow angel reminds Mama of Gabriel, the angel who came to Mary to announce the birth of Christ. When her cubs come inside to warm up, Mama Bear shares with her cubs the real reason for celebrating Christmas.
#12 :: The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain
Join Brother and Sister Bear as they learn what giving is all about. The book opens with Brother and Sister going shopping to buy each other presents, but trying to spend as little as possible on the other. You see, they wanted to keep as much money as they could to spend on things they wanted. As the story continues and Brother and Sister take part in a nativity play, they begin to realize that Christmas is not about getting all you can get, but it’s about showing love and giving joyfully to others. This wonderful tale highlights not only the most important part of the Christmas season, but also emphasizes the joy that comes when you give to others without expecting anything in return.
#13 :: The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore
Whether or not you choose to include Santa Claus in your Christmas celebrations, this classic poem is a must-read at Christmastime. So many lines from this poem are quoted so many places that it would be a crime not to introduce your children to the brilliant rhymes and cadence found in this fun and entertaining poem.
#14 :: The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
This wonderful story is told as only Beatrix Potter can tell it. A poor tailor takes a job to make wedding clothes for the Mayor, but falls ill before he can complete the job. The mice who live in his shop want to help the tailor and so they work the whole night through to finish the spectacular cherry-colored coat the Mayor had ordered to be ready for his wedding on Christmas Day.
#15 :: The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Experience the nativity story like never have – from the perspective of a lamb named Joshua. Joshua was born with a crippled leg and always felt left out when the other lambs played and frolicked in the fields. Yet, God had a special plan for little Joshua. Joshua not only got to witness the coming of the newborn King into the world, Joshua was able to give Jesus a gift that only he could give. This simple yet profound children’s book has earned its place on your Christmas bookshelf!
#16 :: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
What could be better than a magical train that brings children to the North Pole where they can have the experience of meeting Santa Claus in his workshop? This mythical story was made popular by the movie, yet this picture book shows where it all began. Filled with beautiful imagery of the scenery the train traverses, this book highlights the belief in Santa. Yet, whether or not you choose to talk about Santa, there’s a huge emphasis on gift giving and making sure the gifts you give bring joy to the one who receives them.
#17 :: The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne
When it comes to Christmas trees, it’s easy to get caught up in the decorations, the lights, and the ornaments. But have you ever stopped to think about where the tradition of decorating Christmas trees came from? Join the Johnson family in this beautifully illustrated picture book as they search for the perfect Christmas tree and discover a meaning behind the popular symbol they never imagined!
#18 :: The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
The candy cane. A traditional symbol of Christmas. It’s often overlooked by all the other sweet treats and delectable candies available at this time of year. Yet the candy cane has a story to tell. It waits quietly for someone, anyone to stop and take notice, asking the questions that reveal the deeper meaning behind this simple treat. Discover the symbolism and meaning behind this striped candy in this classic picture book.
#19 :: The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall
Discover the story behind the legend in this illustrated picture book told through the eyes of a young boy named Nick. You see, Nick needs to buy gifts for his brother, but until he learns the story of Saint Nicholas, Nick doesn’t understand the value of giving and the joy it can bring not just to the one who receives the gifts, but even more so to the one who gives the gifts.
#20 :: The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
Hanging stockings by the mantle has become such a tradition in Christmas celebrations that it’s almost hard to stop and ask where this tradition came from in the first place. Walk with Peter as he goes from selling newspapers on the street, to caring for his mother and his sisters, to learning why stockings are so important in Christmas celebrations. More than anything, learn how a spirit of giving and generosity is never out of place at any time, but especially at this most wonderful time of the year.
#21 :: The Legend of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall
Cookies, sweets, pies, and tarts seem to be representative of Christmas, don’t they? Particularly the homemade kind! And yet, this tradition of making Christmas Cookies had to start somewhere. But where? Join Jack in this picture book as he learns the legend of where the tradition of making Christmas cookies came from. A legend that reaches all the way back into the Middle Ages!
#22 :: Maggie and Max by Ellen Miles
This heartwarming chapter book from The Puppy Place Series tells the story of a Saint Bernard, Maggie, and her friend Max the cat. These two animals are inseparable, odd as it may seem. Their story is told against the backdrop of the Peterson family helping at a homeless shelter over the Christmas season. This wonderful story teaches the value of giving and serving as well as making sure that Maggie and Max find a forever home.
#23 :: Tilly’s Christmas by Louisa May Alcott
This short story opens with a conversation between three friends as they walk home from school on Christmas Eve. It’s interesting to see the emphasis that each girl puts on the importance of presents, from wanting things simply because you can have them to wanting a warm place to stay and food. In each and every line, the importance of compassion, being grateful for what you have, and showing love and kindness to others shines through in a poignant way.
#24 :: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
This beautiful story brings the joy of giving into the spotlight as it showcases the love a couple has for each other and the delight they have in choosing the perfect present for the other. Christmas is not about money or expensive gifts. It’s about love and compassion and the joy that comes through giving. O. Henry beautifully expresses this in this classic short story.
#25 :: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
What list of Christmas books would be complete without including Charles Dickens’ classic? How many times have we read and re-read, heard and re-heard this classic story? Yet at the same time, in every reading, in every telling, in every hearing, there are more gems of truth and wisdom to be discovered hiding between the pages. It matters not how many times you’ve read this incredible work. It matters how often you’ve really paid attention to the message it brings, seemingly fresh and new each Christmas for over 175 years.
If you’ve never picked up a physical copy of this book and lost yourself in the story, I challenge you to read it for yourself this Christmas season – it’s never too late!
- A Little Blue Truck
- Jingle and Bell, the Husky Pups
- Discovering the Legends of Christmas
- A Christmas Carol: A Fresh Look at a Christmas Classic
Elizabeth Tatham, founder of Inspiration in the Everyday, is a homeschooling momma of 5 who loves helping other homeschooling mommas create a unique homeschooling adventure your kids will love…without the overwhelm! Join in on the journey with 7 simple steps to make your homeschooling day go faster, easier, and with less tears here.