We love reading around here! And we love Christmas books. I saw the idea of reading a book-a-day in preparation for Advent years ago, and I set to work building a collection large enough to do it. Along the way, we have found some truly special Christmas books for our family to share with one another for years to come!
Sometimes we try to do a simple activity to go along with some of the books. Our kids love reading these books so much that I have to hide them really well in order to make it a surprise each day. They will seek out the books and already be familiar with them before their place in the Advent calendar.
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Family Favorite Christmas Books – Read Alouds
Before I share our family Christmas book favorites, I have to share our favorite read-alouds for Christmas. Each year we have a read-aloud we enjoy together. Here are our favorites from the past and our current read:
The Family Under the Bridge tells the story of a homeless family in Paris at Christmas time. It is simple and yet profound. We loved it!
I upheld my reputation of not being able to make it through children’s literature without weeping with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It is simply beautiful. And sweet, and silly. There’s a reason it is a classic.
Dickens gets me every time. Lulled into a sense of the Classics being stuffy and boring, I tend to avoid sharing Dickens with my kids at their ages. But then I READ A Christmas Carol to my kids and discover again just how wonderful his writing style is. There is always something to make me want to read just one more chapter.
Our current Christmas read-aloud, The Christmas Pig, does not shy away from difficult topics. Two chapters in I started reading ahead and warned the kids, this is going to get hard. Three chapters in I went ahead and read through chapter eleven to ensure this was not going to get tragic. I don’t know how it ends, but Hope is one of the themes of the book. In order to make hope shine, one must have a little darkness. It’s a modern-day page-turner for my kids (and me).
Our Favorite Simple Christmas Books
Here are the books we are including in our book-a-day Advent.
Jingle Bells: A Collection of Songs and Carols, Illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic – I make sure to pull this one out early so we can sing these songs together throughout the season!
Under the Same Christmas Star by Delia Berrigan (Hallmark Recordable Storybook – these are treasures in our home! We have some read by all the grandmas – the kids just love having a dearly loved one read to them.)
The Very First Christmas by Suzanne Berry (Hallmark Book – not available this season)
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore – this is one that is fun to try to memorize with the kids!
A Song at Christmas: The Christmas Story Told Afresh through Carols Compiled by Mary Absolon – this is a new to us favorite! I compare our house to a musical – someone is always breaking out in song. This book helps us to know the words.
J is for Jesus, the Sweetest Story Ever Told by Crystal Bowman (this is an absolute favorite of our family, but it appears it is out of print. Grab a used copy of it, if you can find it or check out this alternative book, The Legend of the Candy Cane) – we have always enjoyed this simple candy cane activity with our little ones.
One Night in Bethlehem: A Touch and Feel Book by Jill Roman Lord – we do a simple feel and find activity where we try to find materials in our home that match each of the “feels” in this book.
This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten (I love this take on “This is the House that Jack Built”) – this another one to try to retell together – a sort of memory game.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – this is also a favorite Christmas movie for our Christmas movie nights! A good cup of cocoa is a must for this one!
Clifford’s Christmas by Norman Bridwell – We don’t celebrate with Santa in our house but our kids are aware of him. I love this little activity to challenge kids to think while having fun with candy at Christmas.
Courduroy’s Christmas Surprise by Don Freeman – We love Courduroy stories! I haven’t had the courage to make popcorn strings yet – this may be the year to make them with the big girls!
The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll – This is perfect for the day we trim the tree. We have a simple tradition we do each year when we decorate the tree.
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert – I love this simple hat – maybe my big girls can help me to make them.
The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood – the “Quiet” books are just delightful to read before nap or bed time.
The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie DePaola – I have some sewing projects I need to do before the end of the year. Maybe I should add this one to the pile for my older girls to do. I love that there are so many options for these bird ornaments.
Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson (I have shared my love of Harold books for years – they are just so special!) – We like to draw the Harold books as a family on a big piece of butcher paper.
The Christmas ABC – by Florence Johnson – This is such a treasure in our house because we love alphabet books. This is just a great read-aloud for a lap-sitting kid because we can do a search and find for the letters.
Christmas Book Blessings to You!
I hope you enjoy the holiday season with lots of cups of hot cocoa or warm apple cider. Curling up by the fire or under the Christmas tree for a marathon reading or singing session is simply the best!