You may be a family with established faith-based Christmas traditions, or you might prefer more secular holiday celebrations. You may belong to a family or a community that is multi-cultural with a variety of festivals, religious holidays, or celebratory days during the holiday season.
However you celebrate the holidays, there’s no doubt that this is a time for families, traditions, and connecting with loved ones.
Stories are a wonderful way of getting your kids into the holiday spirit and perfect for teaching them about how the values of love, connection, and generosity endure not only at Christmas time but throughout the year.
Best Christmas books for kids
Our list of Christmas books for kids includes some of the best children’s holiday books, encompassing new releases, perennial favorites, and memorable classics. They are sure to get children and the young at heart excited about the upcoming festive season!
For younger readers
Get your young one any of these Christmas books:
How to Catch Series
Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton, author and illustrator of the entertaining How to Catch series of books, have created fun winter and Christmastime adventures with How to Catch an Elf and How to Catch a Snowman.
In How to Catch an Elf, a mischievous elf causes chaos at home, while in How to Catch a Snowman, a snowman magically comes to life on a wintery night; it’s up to the kids to think of ingenious ways to trap it.
Both books are the perfect holiday read-aloud for families with younger children and contain colorful and engaging pictures to capture even the youngest imagination.
Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever
Dasher is a New York Times bestseller written by Matt Tavares.
This beautifully illustrated book is for children aged 3-8. It tells the story of the adventurous reindeer Dasher, who leaves her family in the traveling circus and heads North in pursuit of her dreams.
5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas
Written by The Tonight Show host and bestselling author Jimmy Fallon, 5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas makes the countdown to Christmas even more exciting.
With expressive and colorful illustrations by Rich Deas, this rhyming book is ideally suited for reading aloud and is sure to capture the attention of young readers. Children will be able to relate to the character’s impatience and excitement in the days leading up to Christmas.
This book will make a great addition to the collection of preschoolers ages 3-6.
For older readers
Your older kid will appreciate some of the best holiday books this Christmas. They include:
A Boy Called Christmas
Written by award-winning author Matt Haig, A Boy Called Christmas tells the story of Nikolas, a young boy who journeys to the North Pole to rescue his father. On his travels, Nikolas discovers a world of enchantment and learns just how important Christmas spirit and goodwill really are.
A Boy Called Christmas has been made into a fantasy film due for release at the end of November 2021. The book is written for readers aged 8-12, but the story can also be read to younger children who can’t yet read independently.
A Girl Who Saved Christmas
A wonderful read-along book, A Girl Who Saved Christmas is Matt Haig’s 2nd Christmas book. It tells the story of Amelia—the 1st child ever to receive a Christmas present. When Amelia’s life takes a bad turn and she loses hope, it’s up to Santa to find her before the magic of Christmas is lost forever.
While the book is written for readers aged 8-12, this story of hope is perfect for the whole family.
Father Christmas and Me
It’s not easy to be a human in Elfhelm, even when your adoptive parents are Father Christmas and his wife Mary.
In Father Christmas and Me, Amelia finds out that the Easter Bunny and his rabbit army want to stop Christmas. Together with her new family and the elves of Elfhelm, Amelia has to do everything she can to keep Christmas alive.
This book, recommended for kids from age 7, is the 3rd Christmas book by Matt Haig and a wonderful reminder of the value of family and community.
The Christmas Pig
The Christmas Pig is the newest children’s book release by author J.K. Rowling. This heartwarming story tells the tale of Jack and his beloved toy, Dur Pig. On Christmas Eve, Jack’s newest toy (and Dur Pig’s replacement) comes to life and, with a daring rescue plan, sets off on a journey to help Jack save his best friend.
This magical story is perfect for kids to read independently from age 8+ or as a family read-along for kids of all ages.
How Winston Delivered Christmas
Written by Alex T. Smith, How Winston Delivered Christmas is a cleverly written chapter book for the advent season. With 24.5 chapters, each with a fun holiday activity, this book is a great way to count down to Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, Winston the mouse finds a lost letter addressed to Santa. The story follows Winston’s adventures as he sets off to deliver the letter in time for Christmas.
The book is a lovely interactive read for children aged 6-8.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Not all kids enjoy traditional holiday stories; some prefer reading books that are entertaining and humorous. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is just such a book, delivering the Christmas message of love and goodwill in a fresh and funny way.
The Herdman kids are “the worst kids in the history of the world” and have never heard the Christmas story before. When they take over the annual Christmas pageant, their unique interpretation of the nativity is both hilarious and touching; it serves as a reminder that Christmas is about more than just traditions.
The story, written for kids 8-12 years old, also provides opportunities to discuss many topics, including religion, bullying, and being different.
Some of the best children’s holiday books are the well-loved classics that generations of young readers and families have enjoyed.
The Polar Express
The beloved story of The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg is an established favorite at Christmas time. The book tells the story of a young boy who boards the Polar Express on Christmas Eve for a magical journey to the North Pole, where he will be able to make his Christmas wish.
A heartwarming tale about the spirit of Christmas, The Polar Express is also available as a special 30th Anniversary hardcover book and includes an author’s note and downloadable audio.
This book, which has also been made into a film, is suitable for preschool and elementary school readers, but the story is ageless and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
The Night Before Christmas
Initially published anonymously as a poem, the classic Christmas story by Clement Clark Moore has been captivating the imagination of young children for generations.
This edition is beautifully illustrated by Charles Santore and perfectly captures the excitement of discovering Santa delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. A magical story for children of all ages, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect book for Christmas Eve reading.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss may be best known for The Cat in the Hat, but the story of the Grinch that stole Christmas has gone on to be one of the most recognized and loved.
The Grinch, whose heart is “three sizes too small,” hatches a plot to ruin Christmas for the Who’s of Who-ville. As the story unfolds, children will learn about goodwill and the Christmas spirit and how even the coldest hearts can be warmed by kind people.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is ideal to read aloud and is a fun and heartwarming holiday story for children ages 3-8.
Children’s holiday books for other celebrations
Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated at this time of year. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are 2 other celebrations during the festive season.
Holiday books for kids celebrating such holidays include:
Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel tells the story of Bubba Brayna and her delicious latkes. Bubba Brayna mistakes a hungry bear for her rabbi and welcomes him inside to enjoy a delicious meal.
The book, written for children aged 4-8, is a perfect holiday read and can be used to introduce young readers to the traditions and customs of Hanukkah.
Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf
Author Greg Wolfe teams up with illustrator Howard McWilliam to present an engaging holiday story about an elf who journeys from the North Pole to investigate why some children are missing from Santa’s list.
As Shmelf looks into the absence of some good children from Santa’s list, he discovers a celebration called Hanukkah and learns all about the stories and traditions associated with this significant time of year.
Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf may not appeal to everyone, but it’s a lovely read for younger children who live in multicultural and diverse communities.
Soulful Holidays: An inclusive rhyming story celebrating the joys of Christmas and Kwanzaa
Ciara Hill has written a culturally significant children’s rhyming book for families who honor the traditions of both Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Ideal for families and children aged 5+, Soulful Holidays is all about the importance of family, friends, and community. It explores the food, songs, and traditions of these holidays. This book is a vibrant celebration of African American culture and diversity.
Establishing or continuing family traditions and providing opportunities to create new memories are great ways to reinforce family bonds and relationships. Reading with young children is a wonderful opportunity to share the excitement of the season and develop their imagination. Whatever your holiday traditions are and however you celebrate during this festive season, these Christmas and holiday books are sure to reinforce the values and the spirit of this special time of the year.