One of our traditions each year is to purchase a new Christmas book for our family. I keep them up on a high shelf all year so that our collection only comes out during December and each time we put the books out, they’re greeted like long lost friends. Some years I get a few out at a time and other years I set them in a basket by the tree. I try not to make it a complicated process but rather an invitation to read under the twinkly lights. My hope is that it offers a few slow moments of quiet and reminds my kids of the bigger story we’re trying to remember this time of year.
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Here our some of our favorites in case you’re looking to start or add to your collection (click on the book title for link if available):
Who Is Coming To Our House by Joseph Slate
A great board book for young children. The animals are excitedly preparing for an unknown visitor on Christmas Eve. My kids still enjoy the sweet illustrations and repeating text. Recommended for ages 0-3.
The Cowboy’s Christmas by Joan Walsh Anglund
If you’ve not discovered this delightful author yet, you’re in for a treat. The illustrations in this book depict the young cowboy and his imaginary bear in such a whimsical way that you won’t mind reading this one over and over again. My mom grew up reading these and has passed them along to my boys. Unfortunately it’s out of print right now but you might have some luck finding it at your library. Recommended for ages 2-8.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
If you have only seen the movie version of this, you’re completely missing out. Van Allsburg’s drawings are exquisite and the story of a young boy who visits the North Pole on Christmas Eve is timeless. This is one I insist upon as a read aloud for the whole family. Amazon has a 30th Anniversary edition this year to celebrate the book’s 1986 Caldecott Award. Recommended for ages 4+.
Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
Our family loves this whole series and this book is no exception. All of Bear’s friends gather to celebrate Christmas and to keep him awake for the big night. The rhyming text is well done and the sweet ways the animals show kindness to each other is a nice lesson for the season. Recommended for ages 3-9.
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
From beloved children’s author, Kate DiCamillo (Mercy Watson, Because of Winn-Dixie), this book is a beautiful reminder that the great joy of Christmas is showing kindness and compassion for all of those around us, even those that might go unnoticed. The illustrations are gorgeous and the whole book as a very magical Christmas feel to it. It looks like a slightly different cover is available on Amazon. Recommended for ages 4+.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore: Hallmark Recordable Storybook
There are lots and lots of versions of this book and we have several but this is our most treasured. My husband’s entire family recorded this for my older son when he was little and my kids LOVE listening to this book over and over. Hearing the voices of their grandparents, aunts and uncles is such a fun treat and I’m so grateful for such a special keepsake. Hallmark also offers a few other Christmas books as well. Recommended for any age.
Richard Scarry’s The Night Before The Night Before Christmas
This silly version has all the favorite characters of Busytown and if you have fans of Richard Scarry in your house this is a fun addition to your Christmas book collection. Help Santa save the holiday after he mixes up the date! Recommended for ages 3-6.
I asked for other suggestions from friends on Facebook and here’s a sampling of their suggestions too. My library queue is already filling up!
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill
Lighthouse Christmas by Toni Buzzeo
The Christmas Wreath by James Hoffman
The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Yes, Virginia: There is a Santa Claus by James Piehal
Help me choose this year’s book! What should we add to our collection this year? What are your family’s favorite Christmas books?
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I love this! I would have to add “The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree”. It’s from my childhood, but we read it every year. Merry Christmas!
Oh, I’ll have to look for that one! Merry Christmas to you too!