12 Favorite Christmas Read-Alouds

12 Favorite Christmas Read-Alouds

Christmas is just around the corner! What are some of your favorite traditions?

One of my favorites: Christmas books! The kids and I enjoy reading all year long, but there’s something about snuggling together with a much-loved Christmas story that gives us so much joy. (And who can’t use more joy during this crazy time of year?) As we dash through a season that’s so jam-packed with
holiday concerts, family gatherings, cookies, and decorations—and *ahem* presents—books invite us to slow down and quiet our hearts.

So brew some coffee, grab a blanket, round up the kids, and enjoy some Christmas books together! Here are a few of my family’s favorites…

1. The Lion Storyteller Christmas Book by Bob Hartman
A beautiful, diverse collection of stories for the Christmas season. The stories are divided into three sections: “Christmas Stories from the Bible,” “Stories About Christmas Traditions,” and  “Christmas Tales and Legends.” It’s a great mix, and a wonderful way to introduce kids to the many holiday traditions around the globe.

2. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer
A delightful narrative of the Saint Nicholas story—perfect for teaching young ones who Santa Claus really was.

3. The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks
One of my daughter’s favorites. (She just can’t stop gazing at the illustrations!) It reimagines the biblical story of the shepherds from the perspective of their little sister.

4. The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon
The hilarious story of a man who attempts to outdo his neighbor’s Christmas display—but takes the competition a bit too far. (We stumbled across this gem at the library four years ago, and it’s been a family favorite ever since!)

5. On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
In peaceful, lyrical prose, Margaret Wise Brown (the author of Goodnight, Moon) captures the wonder of Christmas Eve through the eyes of three children. The fireplace and Christmas tree illustrations are enchanting; a perfect bedtime book.

6. Oliver and Amanda’s Christmas by Jean Van Leeuwen
We love all of the Oliver and Amanda books, and this one is no exception. Endearing, relatable characters make this a sweet read-aloud for preschool age children and up.

7. A Houseful of Christmas by Barbara Joosse
What happens when the entire extended family comes to Granny’s for Christmas…and gets snowed in?? A delightfully fun story for all ages.

8. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Classic Amelia Bedelia, up to her usual shenanigans. The kids and I laugh out loud every time we read it (which is at least once a day).

9. Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slater
A gentle, rhythmic story of the nativity animals as they prepare for a special guest. Another great one for toddlers and preschoolers.

10. The Legend of Saint Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall
In this sweet story, a selfish child learns about Saint Nicholas—and discovers that the real joy of Christmas is in the giving.

11. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (adapted by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Dean Morrissey)
As a huge fan of Charles Dickens, I was thrilled to find this gorgeous retelling of the beloved classic. It’s still quite lengthy, but Morrissey’s illustrations are lifelike and very engaging. A great book for elementary children.

12. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
I still remember hearing this story on the radio as a child, and being so moved by the sacrifices of the characters. This version is my favorite! Definitely worth reading with older children.

What are some of your favorite Christmas books? Let us know in the comments!

Jennifer Gilmartin

Jennifer is a freelance writer and musician living in Pennsylvania. Once an aspiring Latin teacher, she is now a stay-at-home mama of two children, and is blessed with a husband who can fix just about anything she breaks. Jennifer leads Jr. High Sunday School with her mom and loves attending musicals, giving homemade gifts, and sharing tea with good friends on the back porch.

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