Favorite Christmas Books for Kids

Every year, starting on December 1st, I set out a basket of holiday-themed children’s books, complete with a list of which books to read each year.  Ideally, we would all sit together by a twinkling Christmas tree every night and read them aloud, but since that doesn’t always happen, I have them out and available for the kids to read to themselves (and each other) throughout the month.  It’s taken me several years to accumulate enough books, and I keep switching them out when I find a new favorite or two, but I wanted to share some of my very favorites for those who are looking to build a library of their own!  And don’t forget to check out Heather’s post on this same topic from a few years ago – I used her post to find some new favorites, and Christmas Tapestry is now a must-read in my home!

B is for Bethlehem” by Isabel Wilner is one of my favorites.  It goes through the entire alphabet, relating each letter to aspects of the Nativity story with lulling rhymes and gorgeous illustrations.  It’s perfect for kids of all ages – younger children who are just learning letters will be delighted to see and name the letters that they recognize, and older children are able to recognize aspects of the Christmas story and appreciate the clever way the rhymes and stories are told.

The Little Shepherd’s Christmas” by Carol Heyer is the story of three shepherd brothers who are watching their flocks on the night of Christ’s birth.  Reuel, the youngest, shows tremendous faith in both caring for his lambs and in seeking the newborn King.  This one is especially nice for my family, because we have three boys, and the dynamics of Nagid, Amitz, and Reuel are all to familiar to us (a little nagging, a little bossing around…).

Christmas is Here” is the story directly from the book of Luke in the King James Bible, but with gorgeous illustrations by Lauren Castillo.  It’s a beautiful way to make the language from the Bible more accessible and vibrant to young children.


It’s Christmas, David!” by David Shannon is another family favorite.  True to the form of the other David books by Shannon, David is hilariously naughty and is constantly being reprimanded.  The illustrations are hilarious and bright, and the page where David runs down the road without pants with the words, “Santa’s watching, David!” make my kids cackle hysterically every single time.  It does a good job of showing just how hard it is to follow all the rules as a kid (there are so many rules!) and has a heart-warming ending.

Olivia Helps With Christmas” by Ian Falconer is whimsical and fun.  We have the board book version, and it has been one that we enjoyed with toddlers and continue to enjoy with our young kids.  The character of Olivia is so fantastic – my kids love this one.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is the picture book version of the longer middle grade book about the unkept, raucous Herdman family who join the annual Christmas pageant at the church.  From suggesting that the Wise Men bring pizza to Gladys’ yell of “Hey! Unto you a child is born! He’s in the barn!”, this book shows us that the Christmas story is for everyone.  This one makes me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME, no matter what. It’s a humbling, beautiful, hilarious book, and is maybe my favorite of all the books we read every year.

We also have a few books in our rotation to celebrate the winter holidays of other faiths and cultures!

Latkes and Applesauce” is the story of a family that is stuck home with a blizzard that covers all the apples and potatoes, thus making the traditional Hanukkah latkes and applesauce impossible.  But as the Menashe family takes in some surprising strangers, the feast becomes a possibility once again.

K is for Kwanzaa” is an alphabet book that explains the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa letter-by-letter, and the values and rituals that surround it.


What are some of your favorite children’s holiday books?


Liz is a reader, writer, wife, mother, gardener, social worker, story collector, cookie-maker, and hug-giver.

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6 Responses

  1. paws says:

    Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp became a favorite last year. It’s all about God’s love as shown through the stories in the Old and New Testament. The illustrations are great, too.

  2. Spunky says:

    Oh, this is lovely, Liz!

    I’m a big fan of Wombat Divine by Mem Fox (Wombat wants to be in the Christmas play, but is too clumsy for all of the parts he tries out for. It is a fun story about inclusion, trying again and how imperfection is not a bad thing.)

    And — Emily’s Perfect Christmas Tree by Catherine Christensen. It’s just lovely. Poetic, bright, fun and a peaceful message about being enough.

  3. Lily says:

    A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed. The story is so sweet it still makes me cry. Opus, a penguin, writes to Santa asking for wings that will let him fly. It about the importance of recognizing our own strengths.

  4. TheCharusha says:

    I love this list! When I was growing up my mom always put a basket of Christmas books under our Christmas tree, so your list brings back good memories of curling up with a blanket and a Christmas book. One of my favorites is The Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy by Lori Walburg. It has beautiful illustrations and a tender story. My mom also has a beautifully bound abridged collection of Charles Dickens’ Christmas stories for older children.

  5. A personal Hannukah favorite: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1717687.The_Chanukkah_Guest

    Grandma thinks her guest is the rabbi, but no, it’s a bear.

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