By Jennie Lyon
Do you remember what Christmas was like when you were a child?
Sure, as an adult, the winter holidays can be filled with all kinds of stress. You have to worry about family, hosting a big dinner, making sure that all of the presents are under the tree... It’s crazy!
But if you’re a child, it can be pure magic. Santa Claus and snow and reindeer and stockings! They get to be around all of their favorite people for days and be showered with nothing but love and attention. It’s little wonder why kids love Christmas.
And if you really want to build up the Christmas spirit in them, you can work in some fantastic children’s books about Christmas into the evening bedtime story rotation! Here are some of my favorites that I highly recommend you share with them:
The Polar Express: 30th Anniversary Edition by Chris Van Allsburg
Before it was a Tom Hanks movie, The Polar Express was one of the most beloved Christmas books ever written. If you’ve only seen the film, then you should definitely check out the original it’s based on.
On Christmas Eve, a little boy boards a mysterious train bound for the North Pole. Once there, he meets Santa himself, who gives him any gift he desires. His choice isn’t what you might expect and leads to a magical tale filled with beautiful images.
Arial the Secret Santa by Mary Nhin
I love Christmas. It’s a time of peace and kindness. And kindness and compassion are the traits I most want to instill in our kids.
In Arial the Secret Santa, children will follow Arial the unicorn through school, in her community and in nature as she models how easy it can be to share kindness. From giving a compliment to smiling at someone who’s having a bad day, Arial shows children that, no matter how small, words and act of kindness MATTER, especially at Christmas! Included in the book is the Kindness Tree Activity to help encourage your child to give praise and spread positivity into the world.
If you’re looking for a book this Christmas to help teach your kids about the power of kindness, then this is the book to have under the tree. I highly recommend this book!
Festive Flamingo by Shaula Maitland
If you would like a moment of calm this Christmas (and a brilliant night's sleep, shh...) then Festive Flamingo is the book for you!
Flamingo shares a festive selection of breathing exercises and relaxing visualizations. She joins you for twelve magical meditations, where you explore positive themes such as perseverance, curiosity, and self-belief. Build a magical camel out of snow, learn to ice-skate with the woodland animals and create an exciting game for the elves.
Enjoy the benefits of meditation, alongside adventure and festive fun!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
I mean, do you really need a summary of How the Grinch Stole Christmas? It’s one of the most celebrated children’s books of all-time, let alone one of the all-time great Christmas books! It’s also a brilliant cartoon, two big-budget movies, and the basis of countless toys. And you know what? It deserves every single bit of praise it gets.
The Grinch that Stole Christmas perfectly communicates the meaning of Christmas and is filled with stunning art, hilarious rhymes, and some truly funny jokes. It’s a true classic that should be on every child’s bookshelf. If you’ve never encountered it before, you owe it to yourself to give it a read (even if you’re an adult)!
Little Squirrel Squish Gets His Christmas Wish by Ross Hammond
Do you remember the story of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer? Everyone told him that he couldn’t be a member of Santa’s reindeer team. Well, here is a children’s book that reflects that story, putting a whole new spin on the idea of following your dreams!
Little Squirrel Squish is a tiny squirrel who wants to be part of Santa’s flying crew. But because he’s so small (and because he’s not a reindeer), everyone keeps telling him to forget about his dreams. But one Christmas, he decides to go for it, changing everything! This book will teach your children that their every dream, no matter how seemingly out of reach, is worth exploring!
Santa’s Reindeer by Brooke Stevens
Getting back to Santa’s reindeer, let’s talk about Santa’s Reindeer, the book!
Discovering that everyone is different is one of the most important lessons a child can be taught. In this adorable Christmas book, all of the various personalities of Santa’s reindeer are explored. It’s a perfect read for small children, full of cute illustrations and a lovely Christmas message!
The Mouse in the Hammock, a Christmas Tale by Bethany Brevard
If you think it’s only Santa who does good deeds on Christmas Eve, you need to meet a very special mouse!
Spinning off from the “Not a creature was stirring…” line from Twas the Night Before Christmas, this wonderful book features a mouse who is busy all Christmas night doing small acts of kindness, such a cooling the cocoa for Santa, hanging up the mistletoe, and taste-testing the cookies! It’s a fabulous lesson for kids who are looking to drive the meaning of Christmas home: that you’re never too little to make a big difference!
The Elf Who Couldn’t Read by Sonica Ellis
Do your children know how to read yet?
Countless children learn how to read their first words while sitting on their parents’ laps. And if you want a book that will help them sound out letters while also embracing the Christmas spirit, then this is it!
In it, Jingles the elf doesn’t know how to read yet but needs to figure out Santa’s Christmas list. With the help of your child, they read the list together and make sure that Christmas is a huge success!
Secret Santas And The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving by Courtney Petruzzelli
One of the reasons why I love Secret Santas so much is that it makes giving anonymous. You aren’t giving someone something with the expectation of a “thank you” from them. Instead, their enjoyment is its own reward.
In this wonderful Christmas book, your kids will learn about Secret Santas and why it can be such a wonderful Christmas tradition. Beautiful art and a wonderful message make this a Christmas must!
A Christmas Cookie Exchange by Sheri Wall
Who doesn’t love Christmas cookies? But have you ever noticed that there tends to be one seemingly plain oatmeal cookie left on the plate after all the other cookies are eaten? Well, this is HIS story!
Meet Phil, an insecure fruit-filled oatmeal cookie who longs to be more fancy and famous. With help from his cookie friends, he learns what's on the inside is more important than fancy sprinkles. Self-love and acceptance are essential qualities for kids to learn, and this rhyming Christmas tale teaches them that character and self-confidence really do matter.
How To Catch An Elf by Adam Wallace
Have you kids ever wanted to catch an elf? It turns out that it’s trickier than you might think…
In this fun and silly story, a clever elf manages to elude all of the traps that children set for him on Christmas Eve! There are lots of fun rhymes and some inventive illustrations that your kids are sure to love!
Never Let A Unicorn Meet A Reindeer! by Diane Alber
If you’re looking for a Christmas story with a twist, this might be the book for you and your kid!
Instead of it being Christmas in the book, it’s about a birthday wish gone wrong. A little girl (who has a unicorn) sends a letter to Santa to ask if she can borrow one of his reindeer during their “off-season.” He sends one with a note saying that the reindeer should never meet any unicorns. It turns out that unicorns and reindeer get highly competitive around each other, so the little girl soon has a mess on her hands! This is a funny and delightful book that can even be read when it isn’t Christmas!
The Adventures of Pookie: Mission Fat Hearts by Rebecca Yee
Everyone loves a secret agent story, especially kids!
If you want your kids to take lessons of kindness and caring into the real world, this book might be the perfect way to do it. It not only tells a Christmas story about three of Santa’s helpers doing missions of good deeds before Christmas but gives your children some missions of their own!
For example, their Christmas mission might be to give an extra hug to someone they love that day. Or to leave a “thank you” note for the mailman. With these Christmas missions, your kids will be brightening up someone else’s Christmas, a wonderful lesson to learn!
You can also check out the NEWLY RELEASED children's chapter book version, just in time for Christmas!
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
If you worry that presents, tinsel, and trees are distorting the true meaning of Christmas, then this might just be the book for you and your child.
In it, a Mama Bear and her cub explore what Christmas truly means, from what Santa truly represents (the spirit of giving) to the birth of Jesus. It’s filled with beautiful art and a wonderful Christian message.
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker