There’s something about a family gathered around the tree with a pile of Christmas books for kids that just makes the holidays special.
My fondest memories as a mom are wrapped up in the warmth of such moments. Every year when the Christmas book box comes down out of the attic, I can still picture a small child snuggled up in my lap with an open book in hand. Recalling those precious memories is my favorite part of decorating each year.
And even though my children are all too big to sit in my lap these days, we all still love to gather around the tree for a great Christmas story.
Stories are life.
Stories are imagination, HOPE, and love all wrapped into a pretty package. Oh, and they are also proven to be one of the best things you can do as a family. Reading together builds unity, mends brokenness, and cultivates a culture of love in our homes. Reading together creates a generation of thinking, feeling, considerate people. And yes, reading together fosters a love for learning, an SAT-worthy vocabulary, and a creativity few can rival.
In the hustle of the holiday season, this is a precious time we can’t afford to miss. Stop and take time to enjoy the gift of family. Relish the gift of time together and the remembrance of God’s goodness.
No matter how busy we are, each year we make time to read together as a family. In fact, we wait expectantly for it to come. Yes, my kids are older now, but they still love our time together and that giant stack of Christmas books for kids we’ve come to love so dearly.
Christmas Books for Kids Tradition
A giant pile of Christmas books is always in order during the holidays, but over the years that has looked very different. When the kids were really little I started making my collection. For baby’s 1st Christmas, ask for books! I’m so thankful I did this. Babies don’t really need much for their first Christmas anyway unless they were born in January or February perhaps. Even then, you probably still have plenty of relatives who would love to sign a Christmas book for them!
Once my oldest was about 3 years old I began a very special tradition. I wrapped all of the books in fun wrapping paper and placed them under the tree. Then I divided the number of books by the number of days until Christmas. In the early years, we opened a “new” book present every few days. After a few years, I had 25 books and this became a nightly tradition.
I would take our collection of books and wrap them up on Thanksgiving weekend. Starting December 1st, we would unwrap a book each night and read it together before bed. The “new” book would go in a giant Christmas basket near the tree for the kids to enjoy at their leisure during the day. We LOVED this tradition so much.
Christmas Books for Kids
I hope we’ve inspired you to start a new tradition with Christmas books! I know you will be blessed with special family memories you’ll cherish forever whether you wrap a pile of books or simply make a more intentional effort to share sweet stories together throughout the season. Here is a list of some of our favorite Christmas books for kids to get you started.
Books that tell the story of Jesus…
This is my absolute favorite Christmas book. The story looks at each of baby Jesus’ features: fingers, feet, shoulders, mouth, arms, knees and heart. First, we see how precious He was as a baby and then how He used these features to serve and love others. For example, his wrinkly, knobby knees were the same knees that knelt before the Father in submission to the cross. It’s a beautiful story and brings me to tears every time we read it.
This book is a classic repetitive rhyming story that accurately tells of Jesus’ birth. The illustrations are full of beautiful colors and I love the way that Joseph is depicted as patient, wise, and guarding his family. Kids will love the predictability of this book as they join in and read with you.
This is another rhyming book that builds as the animals and characters wait expectantly for Jesus’ birth. Although the illustrations are very different from the book above, they are incredibly beautiful. Your little ones will especially love the simple charm of this story.
The First Night is a very simple book for even the youngest of hearts. Most of my kids could read the story to us even at an early age. They loved being able to take turns telling the story of Jesus’ birth. The illustrations in this book are also precious.
We Believe in Christmas follows a family around town and through life as they celebrate Christmas through all of the normal activities. Each page shows how to look for and find Christ in the season. It highlights a Christmas play at church, bell ringers, decorating the tree, carolers, etc. The illustrations are lovely and I simply love the heart behind it.
Written for children ages four to eight, Christmas Love Letters from God cleverly combines both prose and poetry as the story of Jesus’ birth unfolds. The book includes seven stories, beginning with Isaiah’s prophecy and ending with the visit of the wise men. Following each story, the child will find his or her own letter from God, folded into a small envelope attached to the page.
Written as if God is speaking, each personalized message gives the young reader a sense of wonder as they discover anew the Christmas holiday and the birth of Jesus. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Perfect Promise, also accompanies each story and letter as God’s personal words of love, promise, and hope.
Books that tell the story of Jesus with a fictional element…
This story is a fictional representation of the story of Jesus. The boy Jacob is a gifted carpenter who builds a trough that just so happens to be needed for a resting place for the KING. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is precious. Most of the book is biblically accurate, with the story of Jacob being a realistic, but fictional event. I love how this book helps kids think outside the box about how God will use their gifts and talents someday.
The Crippled Lamb is one of the kids’ most beloved stories. It is also a fictional representation of the story of Jesus’ birth. Joshua the little lamb is deemed worthless due to a crippled leg, but God has a special plan for him. On that special night, he is needed to keep the King warm when all the other lambs were out in the field. Again the message of God’s sovereignty in our lives is a beautiful one. Even when life doesn’t turn out the way we think it should, God STILL uses it for His good!
Clopper is engaging for all ages. It is fictional in the sense that the donkey is talking to us; however, the story of Jesus’ birth is not compromised. The illustrations are bright and fun and each page contains a scroll with corresponding scripture. The thing I really like about this book is the interpretation that the donkey puts on the story, causing the reader to think about the stench of the barn, the cold of the night, and the excitement of the moment.
Books that explain the symbols of Christmas…
I love this board book series from Zondervan publishing. Not pictured are two more titles: My Christmas Stocking and Christmas Angels. The books are simple enough for very young learners and perfect for beginning readers. These books are not deep, theologically speaking, but we have enjoyed the simple truths greatly. When my kids were little, they would sit for hours and retell the stories in their own words.
If you don’t own this book, I would highly encourage you to add it to your wish list. A quiet man becomes the talk of the town when he opens a new candy store on Christmas Eve. His gift to all is a beautiful candy cane, designed to tell the story of Jesus’ birth through the staff and the story of His death through the stripes. It’s a must-have book for any Christmas collection.
Books that tackle the question of Santa…
I absolutely adore the pictures in this book. The love between the momma bear and her cub is precious, but momma’s love for Jesus shines through in the most beautiful of ways. In the story, Little Cub wonders if Santa invented Christmas. Momma takes him on a journey to see the magnificence of the world that God created and the gift of His Son, the Light of the World and the Bright Morning Star. It’s beautiful!
I am very fond of this series of books. The author tackles many difficult subjects that Christians face when they choose to celebrate a little differently from the rest of the world. In this particular story, Mom and Rachel are baking sugar cookies when Rachel expresses her confusion over how Santa fits in with the story of Jesus’ birthday. Mom takes her through a historical journey explaining the story of St. Nicholas and how that evolved into the modern day version of Santa.
Stories that highlight Jesus through other means…
This series is another one of my favorites. There is one written for just about every holiday. It’s full of scripture and a beautiful lesson. In The Pine Tree Parable, a farmer grows Christmas trees to support his family. One day, the family gives up their prized tree to a family in need. The story is such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us in the gift of Christmas.
This story isn’t about Christmas exactly, but it’s such a sweet winter story of a snowflake who has trouble believing that she is as beautiful as the others. Through the story, she learns that God created all things beautifully and wonderfully and that she has a special purpose just the way God created her. The older kids may scoff at this one, but the much-needed message still permeates their hearts.
This story is a beautiful tale of generosity. A young man is given a special candle that shines on people and shows their true need, compelling the man to help. Every year it brings up deep conversations in our family about how we can look for the needs of others and seek to meet those needs.
Put the word treasury in a book and I’m instantly smitten! How can you go wrong with the beloved Ingalls family anyway? Celebrate the season with holiday tales from the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House series. The book also features Garth Williams’ classic artwork in vibrant full color!
This book is about a little girl named Emma and her little dog Shu-Shu who were thrilled to be invited to the King’s birthday party. Throughout the story, she struggles with what to bring as a gift. She finally settles on something but meets many frustrations on the way to the party. Chilly, rumpled, and empty-handed, Emma frets, but when they finally meet the King at his palace, they discover they gave the King exactly what he wanted.
Children and parents will be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and that the greatest gifts we can offer to the Savior are gifts to the least of his brothers and sisters (based on Matthew 25:40).
A few stories that aren’t about Jesus, but are still super fun…
Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors as her stories entertain any age and her illustrations are beautifully unique. She has many books centered around the holidays. Some with Santa, some without. Personally, we love The 12 Days of Christmas and all of the Gingerbread books that she has written.
This fictional story seeks to answer the questions, “Where did Saint Nicholas come from?” “How does he visit so many children in just one night?” “Why does he leave gifts for girls and boys?”
Although we don’t focus much on this topic in our home, the story is a beautiful one. Nicholas could not use his legs, so the children in his village did not play with him. He became skilled with his hands and decided to fix as many broken and unwanted toys and dolls as he could. He would then anonymously give them to village children on their birthdays.
Please, share your favorite Christmas Books for kids with us!
I hope this list has inspired you to make a giant pile of Christmas books under your tree this year. I know it’s hard to make the time, but I promise it’s worth it!
If you have a favorite Christmas book for kids, share it with us in the comments. I know this list has barely scratched the surface and I can’t wait to hear your ideas, too!
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