There’s something about Christmastime that makes you want to snuggle your kids in close and get lost in a touching story. If you’re looking for some good Christmas titles, these are our very favorite Christmas read-alouds from board books for your littles to chapter books you can savor over the course of the whole season. We hope you find a new favorite here!
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
A Michigan farming family in the early 1900s, the Stowells always decorate for Christmas with oranges brought all the way from Lansing. But when a storm delays Pa on his return trip with the oranges, Frankie wonders if Pa will ever make it home, and if Christmas will really be Christmas without the oranges. Based on a true story, Polacco brings to life this vision of what Christmas was like in previous generations.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
This classic Christmas tale of sacrificial giving definitely deserves a place in your Christmas read-aloud stack! When this husband and wife each give up what they love most to give something of worth to the other, the result is a tender story that will speak to your whole family.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
The Bear Books are always a hit with my little ones. In this Christmas story, Bear’s friends try to keep him busy so he can stay awake until Santa comes. The catchy rhyming text and the sweet animal illustrations will definitely win over your kiddos.
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
When a leak damages the wall of the church and threatens to disrupt the Christmas Eve service, Jonathan and his father save the day by finding a beautiful tapestry just right to cover over the damaged wall. Little do they know that there is an incredible story behind the special tapestry.
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Joshua is a lamb with a crippled leg who misses out on all the fun as the other little lambs run and play. But God has a very special plan for Joshua’s life. Your whole family will be touched by the message about God’s care for those who are different and feel left out.
The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan
On Christmas Eve Young Alexei faithfully sweeps out the old village church which has stood empty for sixty years ever since soldiers swept through the town and robbed the church of its treasures. Imagine their surprise when the villagers awake on Christmas morning to find the church miraculously restored! Your family will love this touching story about persevering when all seems lost.
The Night of His Birth by Katherine Paterson
This lyrical text penned by beloved Newbery medalist Katherine Paterson captures the intimacy of that first Christmas night as Mary cradles her newborn babe and contemplates the splendor and majesty of God who humbled himself as a tiny infant.
Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco
Richie and Trish are spending their last Christmas on the family farm before Grandpa sells it, and there is no money for Christmas gifts, but when a new housekeeper arrives, she teaches the children about the power of faith and the value of “gifts of the heart.”
Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett
Your children may already know and love Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Baby. In this playful tale, the Gingerbread Baby leads a gingerbread band through the Christmas festival, but when the children start in pursuit of the tasty treats, Gingerbread Baby leads them in a hilarious chase.
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
This sweet story is perfect for introducing the true meaning of Christmas to your littlest ones as Mama leads Little Cub on an adventure to discover how God gave us Christmas. Along the way, they discover that God is at work all around us and that Jesus is the most precious gift.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Generations of children have enjoyed this classic tale of the miserly Grinch who wants to keep Christmas from coming, but who learns that even without the presents and feasting, the true spirit of Christmas endures.
Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer
Humphrey the camel is quite grumpy about the three huge chests he is forced to carry, but his resentment disappears when he looks into the face of the tiny child his master has come to honor. Your children will love this cute story of worshipful adoration told from the perspective of a camel.
All Creation Waits (children’s edition) by Gayle Boss
This brand new picture book version of the popular Advent devotional, All Creation Waits, is one I look forward to sharing with my kids for the first time this year. Each day’s pages feature a different woodland creature from the muskrat to the chickadee to the lake trout and more. Breath-taking illustrations and short daily readings invite us to experience the beauty and majesty of God revealed in His creation and remind us as nature teaches us year after year: “The dark is not an end. It’s a door. It’s the way a new beginning comes.”
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
Award-winning author and illustrator, Tomie dePaola, gives a beautiful rendering of the Mexican legend of the poinsettia, the flower of the Holy Night whose striking red blossoms light up the countryside at Christmas time.
Mouse’s Christmas Gift by Mindy Baker
Illustrations sprinkled with glitter really make this book sparkle. Your children will love this sweet story of a tiny church mouse who saves the day when the pastor falls sick and the Christmas Eve service is cancelled.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
This version of the beloved holiday poem depicts a New England family from the turn of the 19th century tucked under their quilts waiting for Santa. The perfect bedtime read-aloud on a chilly December night.
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
This classic Christmas story by the matchless Jan Brett was one of the first children’s books to make it onto the New York Times Bestseller list. The story begins when Santa asks Teeka to get his reindeer ready to fly on Christmas Eve. To Teeka’s dismay, she finds the reindeer have been running wild on the tundra all summer and have no interest in complying with her training. Only when she learns to lead them with gentleness do the reindeer begin to respond to Teeka’s commands. The heartwarming story and evocative illustrations make this one your kids will ask to read over and over again.
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
Each Christmas Eve a young boy and his family go out to the woods by moonlight to decorate a tree with goodies for the animals. This uplifting story beautifully captures both an appreciation for the outdoors and the spirit of Christmas generosity.
Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann
This retelling of the classic Nutcracker story with illustrations by Maurice Sendak is a great one to read-aloud over several days or weeks. Your children will join the generations of artists, composers, and listeners whose imaginations have been set afire by this fanciful tale of a girl and her toys come to life.
A Simple Christmas on the Farm by Phyllis Alsdurf
When the little girl at the center of this story discovers that Mom and Dad have decided to keep Christmas simple on the farm this year, she’s not sure she’s on board. But she soon discovers the joy and love to be found in making homemade presents, singing Christmas carols at the nursing home, delivering cookies, and inviting neighbors to join them for Christmas in the big red barn. The book ends with instructions for making your own homemade gifts.
The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
During the Great Depression Henry and his down-on-his-luck father are selling Christmas trees in New York City for extra money. When they leave, they give the extra trees to the construction workers who helped them. With this unexpected gift comes a life-changing surprise – the workers show up at Henry’s home to help them rebuild their house with wood milled from the trees. Years later Henry has the opportunity to extend this generosity to another family in need. A touching story and beautiful illustrations make this a heart-warming Christmas read.
Holy Night and Little Star by Mitali Perkins
This gorgeous new Christmas book tells the story of Jesus’ birth from an unusual perspective. Shy Little Star loves to glow softly above Bethlehem’s low hills, but when Maker announces that Holy Night is coming and asks the entire galaxy to participate, Little Star wonders what her role will be. Will it be too hard or will she bravely join the heavens in celebration? As she soothes the newborn baby’s cries with her glittering splendor, Little Star discovers that everything is changing and yet Maker is the same today, tomorrow, and forever.
Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
This Christmas classic tells the story of Katrina, an aspiring artist who loves sketching on the one perfect branch of her favorite apple tree. When a bitter ice storm takes down the tree just before Christmas, Katrina wonders how she will ever draw again without her beloved apple tree studio? Little does she know, her loving father has found a way to surprise her with a gift more perfect than Katrina could ever have imagined. This tender story has been captivating readers since its first publication in 1984.
Christmas Is Coming! by Tama Fortner
Perfect for little ones who are just beginning to grasp the significance of Christmas, this sturdy board book ties together the story of why Jesus came, from creation through the prophets to Jesus’ promised birth. Simple text and adorable illustrations make the big picture of God’s plan understandable to even the youngest readers. The book concludes, “Every year we remember that first Christmas when God gave the world His greatest gift – the gift of His very own Son. Because Jesus was born in Bethlehem long, long ago, all our sins can be forgiven – and we can be close to God again. You see, God always knew, and now you know too. . . and that’s why Christmas is coming!”
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
Fans of the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas special will recognize the plot of this endearing story now in picture book form. Charlie Brown is the only one who can’t seem to get into the spirit of Christmas. When he is tapped to direct the Christmas play, Charlie Brown and his friends discover what Christmas is all about.
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
This retelling of a classic folktale tells the story of Jesus in a unique way. Perfect for Christmas, Easter, and every time in between, you and your children will meet three trees on a mountain who dream of what they will become when they grow up. One wants to be a treasure chest, another an ocean-going boat, and the third a signpost to God. Their wishes come true in a way they never expected. Children will be deeply touched as they understand the significance of Christ’s birth, life, and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.
Lullaby for the King by Nikki Grimes
You and your children are sure to be captivated by this collaboration between author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Michelle Carlos. The lavish text and extraordinary watercolor artwork will immerse you in the awe and wonder of the Christmas story. You will journey with a whole host of animals to Bethlehem, as they each bring a gift fit for a King. Rare ebony wood, a finely tuned harp, mustard and saffron, a zither, apricots cakes, and other treasures are carried to the manger side. The animals bow low and join the angels in song to welcome the newborn King. A magnificent poetic rendering of that first Holy Night.
A Birthday Party for Jesus by Susan Jones
This adorable story would be lovely to share with your littlest ones. They’ll relate immediately to Little Bunny who is invited to Jesus’ birthday party, but isn’t sure what present to bring. Does Jesus want candy or toys or games? None of these seem quite right. When the day of the party arrives, Little Bunny settles on the perfect gift and learns an important lesson about the greatest gift of all.
The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park
This story centers around a young boy who is working with his father to learn the family trade. Together they go out into the desert and search for trees that release a precious resin: myrrh. When they find one, they harvest the round teardrops of myrrh and sell them to the spice merchant at the marketplace. The myrrh is then ground up as medicine, used to flavor wine, or burned as a fragrance at funerals. Today the boy finds an exceptionally large teardrop, one that will fetch a tremendous price. At the market they discover three men from afar who are looking for special gift for a very special person – a baby! Don’t miss the author’s note at the end that explains the significance of myrrh and the tradition that has developed around the Magi.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
One dreary November night a stranger rides into town. ‘Who is he, and why has he come?’ the townspeople wonder. Some hope he’s a doctor, others hope he’s a tailor, a dressmaker, or a trader. The children have a secret wish of their own. But no one dares speak to the newcomer until little Lucy boldly asks if the new man in town needs any help. She discovers that he is a candy maker, precisely what the children have wished for, and he has brought a brand new kind of candy that has an important story to tell. On Christmas Eve Lucy and the candy maker share the story of the candy cane – “the miracle of Christ’s birth, the misery of his death, and the mercy of his love” – with the whole town.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
Another Jan Brett classic, this one pairs the text of the traditional Christmas carol with charming pictures of a suitor showering his beloved with increasingly extravagant gifts. The sidebar illustrations teach readers how to say “Merry Christmas” in 11 different languages. Delightful.
Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie de Paola
Every midwinter, little Jingle and his circus family travel through the Italian countryside to the city for their special Christmas performance. Each year, they stop at the same little village to put on a show for its residents. It’s Jingle’s favorite night. This year, though, things are different. There is no smoke coming out of the chimneys. Everything is closed up. And the few people still in town have fallen on hard times and don’t have the money to see the circus anymore. But Jingle is not so easily deterred. With the help of his baby animals, he is determined to put on a show that no one will forget.
Longer Read Alouds
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
Our favorite Christmas chapter book read-aloud, this book tells the story of a homeless Parisian man named Armand who enjoys his solitary and carefree life. But when he finds a family of children has moved into his spot under the bridge, his heart begins to open up. As Armand and the children adventure around Paris, they all learn about the gift of family and togetherness.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
This chapter-book read-aloud is perfect for your older elementary and middle schoolers who want a funny Christmas read. When the despicable Herdman kids try to take over the church Christmas pageant, there are plenty of surprises for everyone.
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham
With a foreword by Billy Graham, Ruth Bell Graham weaves a heart-warming story of a lost little boy and the old woman who finds him. As they spend the night in a snowbound cabin, the woman tells the boy the Christmas story starting from creation all the way to the resurrection. This is a great one to savor over several readings.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
When a miserly old man is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet-to-Come, he learns how his selfish choices have robbed him of joy and harmed those around him. He finds himself a new man when he wakes on Christmas morning and begins a life of generosity and kindness. This classic story is a perfect read-aloud to return to year after year.
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