Christmas Books for Kids and Families
by Dena McMurdie
One of my favorite holiday traditions is reading timeless Christmas books with my children. Whether it’s a beloved classic or a modern favorite, we read these books year after year and they have become an essential part of our celebrations.
The classic Christmas books on this list have stood the test of time and are just as popular today as when they were published. Many of them grace my childhood memories and are now cherished by my own children as well. In addition, the newer offerings are quickly becoming household favorites.
The Christmas Story
With beautiful illustrations and a simple retelling of the birth of Christ, this book has become a beloved Christmas classic for families. First published in 1952, it is one of the most popular children’s books about the Christmas story.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
Well-known for its heartfelt message, this enduring classic will stay with you long after you read it. Set in a small Appalachian community, it’s a meaningful story about family, sacrifice, and gifts from the heart.
The Night Before Christmas
A young father wakes up to find Santa Claus shimmying down his chimney in this enduring Christmas story. This classic 1949 Little Golden Book is now available for a new generation of readers to know and love.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Visit the North Pole and go on a Christmas adventure with this retelling of the classic film. Anyone who watches the stop-motion movie every year will love reading the book. It makes an excellent stocking stuffer!
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Vibrant artwork, simple text, and a heartwarming holiday story make this modern classic a must-read for every family. Young children will love interacting with the story as they lift snowy flaps to reveal the farm animals and press a button that lights up a tree and plays holiday music.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree is too tall for his parlor, so he cuts the top off and gives it to the maid, who in turn cuts the top off and gives it away. By the end of the festive tale, the tree has brought joy to a wide assortment of people and animals.
The Crayons' Christmas
This holiday-themed installment of the Crayons series is full of interactive fun! Read folded letters from the Crayons, learn how Duncan celebrates the holidays, and so much more.
Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury
This perfect gift set contains seven of Jan Brett's beloved Christmas titles, including The Wild Christmas Reindeer and The Mitten.
The Sweet Smell of Christmas
Scratch and sniff your way to holiday bliss with this delightfully scented storybook. This modern classic about a bear getting ready for Christmas is a seasonal favorite for children and parents alike. It’s a holiday must-have!
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
From the author of The Wizard of Oz, this delightful fairy tale chronicles the life of Santa Claus. From choosing reindeer to sliding down chimneys, this tale of magic and kindness celebrates the jolly old elf.
When Miss Clavel and 11 little girls fall ill at Christmas, Madeline is left to care for them all. A rug merchant, a kind deed, and a magical journey make this charming holiday story an essential read for Madeline fans.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Fresh, whimsical artwork breathes new life into the popular Christmas song. Sing about the 12 days of Christmas with the bright colors and cheerful characters that grace the pages of this delightful picture book.
Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad (Little Critter)
Join your favorite critter as he wraps gifts, eats holiday treats, and helps his family get ready for the season’s festivities. With gentle humor and a heartwarming story, it’s no wonder everyone loves this classic Christmas picture book.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
When Jonathan Toomey accepts a woodcarving job from a widow and her young son, he never expects to have his heart healed in the process. This beautiful story is a favorite among Christmas lovers and carries strong messages of kindness and hope.
The Christmas Wish
A determined young girl named Anja wants to be one of Santa's elves in this winter classic. As Anja skis her way to Santa, a menagerie of animals help her along the way.
Llama Llama Holiday Helper
As Llama Llama and Mama Llama finish getting ready for the holiday season, Llama Llama decides to help out his friends in this lovely picture book.
A Christmas Carol
Three ghosts take Ebenezer Scrooge to visit his past, present, and future in Charles Dickens’ haunting Christmas story. A true classic, A Christmas Carol is a must-read for families about kindness, redemption, and the spirit of Christmas.
There's an Elf in Your Book
This Christmas edition of the Who's In Your Book? series puts readers to the test! Are you naughty or nice? The Elf will be testing you (in the most fun way!) in this participatory read-aloud.
Christmas in the Country
This Little Golden Book captures this story that was originally published int he 1950s. Betty and Bob spend Christmas in the country with their grandparents and do all the fun Christmas activities, including chopping down a tree, stringing cranberries, and singing carols. A new generation of readers can now discover this classic.
Duck & Goose, It's Time for Christmas!
This Christmas installment of the Duck & Goose series is perfect for these fans of the pals. Goose is more interested in making snow angels than helping Duck decorate the Christmas tree. Can they figure out a way to work together and both enjoy the holiday season?
The Little Drummer Boy
A young drummer boy gives a unique and personal gift to the newborn baby Jesus in this beautifully illustrated book. Ezra Jack Keats’ signature collage artwork makes The Little Drummer Boy a holiday treasure you’ll want to read year after year.
More Christmas Stories
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
The Legend of the Poinsettia
Merry Christmas, Corduroy!
Babar and Father Christmas
The Snowy Day
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2021.