We are full-fledged in the spirit of the Christmas season and excited to celebrate Christ’s birth this whole month with our family! One of my favorite ways to make memories with our kids is by reading together. Cuddled on the sofa, sometimes with hot chocolate or a snack, we go to imaginary places together. Over the years, these stories have become a shared culture for all of us. I hope you find inspiration in our 9 Favorite Homeschool Christmas Chapter Books and Short Stories!
Video: 9 Favorite Homeschool Christmas Chapter Books and Short Stories
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#1 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Our favorite tradition, hands down, is to read the Best Christmas Pageant together. We do this every year. The kids always ask for it and deciding to change it up one year and skip it, is NOT an option, according to them! This book takes us about a week or so to read through, if we do 1-2 chapters a day.
This adorable story takes place in an ordinary town which performs the the typical, run-of-the-mill Christmas play year after year. The pageant is pretty much the same…until one year the Herdman kids volunteer for parts in the performance. The Herdmans are an unruly clan of seven latch-key kids from one family that terrorize the town with their stunts. This bunch of hooligans come to the pageant practice and hear the Christmas story for the first time. As you read this narrative, you will see the story of the birth of Christ through the eyes of kids who are hearing it for the first time.
This book is filled with lots of funny parts that kids will ask you to read over and over. However, it is also a real tear-jerker, so get those tissues handy!
#2 Little House Christmas Treasury
These heart-warming stories offer the best of Christmas from each of the Little House books. If you like the simplicity of the Little House stories, this book has each of the Christmas sections from the these chapter books.
Young children, especially, will benefit from this book. It helps them learn to appreciate what they have when they hear how Mary and Laura are so excited with their simple Christmas gifts: their very own tin cup, a small cake, a peppermint stick, and a penny!
#3 The Family Under the Bridge
This chapter book takes place in Paris, France with a homeless man named Armand. He loves the city life and is happy with his little place in the world…until he comes “home” to find his place taken by 3 hungry little children. Not used to having to think of anyone but himself, he at first begrudges the interruptions and needs of the children. Slowly, however, they win over his heart and he works harder than ever to make Christmas special for them and help them find a home.
Garth Williams, the same illustrator for the Little House books, also sketches the pictures for The Family Under the Bridge. This book is 100 pages with nine chapters. If you read a chapter a day, you can easily read this book in 2 weeks. However, my kids often beg, “read more, Mom!” and we get through it in less than that.
#4 The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Christmas is just five days away and the Vanderbeeker family has just been told that their landlord is not renewing the lease on the home and street they love in Harlem. The five children band together to contrive a plan to win their landlord’s affection so they can convince him to let them stay, but it proves to be a little harder than they thought. They have only five days to do it! With a few nested stories woven into the main plot, the Vanderbeeker children will win your heart.
This chapter book is over 293 pages with 23 chapters. If you read approximately a chapter a day in December, you can finish this book by Christmas. Both younger and older children can understand and appreciate this narrative, so it is perfect if you have a wide span of ages.
#5 A Little Women Christmas
If you love the story of Little Women, this Christmas adaptation will be a perfect addition to your library. Follow the four March sisters and Marmee as they prepare to celebrate Christmas in New England during the time of the Civil War. Unfortunately, father is away serving as a chaplain for the Union army, so the girls will have to make Christmas cheery in his absence. Reading this story, you can observe the simple Christmas pleasures of this time period: a fire on the hearth, the girls knitting socks for soldiers and sketching in the quiet evenings to fill the time. This account has a surprise ending that will remind readers of the importance of family during the holidays.
A Little Women Christmas is a short story that can be read to your children in one sitting. The only disappointing part of this adaptation is that it leaves out my favorite part of the original text. In the original book, Marmee comes across a young mother with an infant and six cold and hungry children who have no fire and no breakfast. Marmee convinces her four girls to give their Christmas breakfast to this needy family. Because of this, I suggest reading the unabridged Little Women Christmas story (chapter 2) to older kids who can appreciate more details and reserving this short story book for younger children.
#6 The Story of Little Christmas
This short story is 30 pages long with pictures, but longer text sections per picture. I usually take 3-4 days to read the whole story to our kids. It is written by George MacDonald, an old Scottish author, who is called the founder of modern fantasy. He wrote the well-known fairy tales The Princess and the Goblin and At the Back of the North Wind. You may have difficulty finding an illustrated version of this story simply because it is so old. Here is a link to a used copy by Thrift Books.
This is an adorable story written by the character Charlie who tells about his uncle Peter. A little orphan girl, named Chrissy because she was born on Christmas day, crosses paths with Uncle Peter who has lost his purpose in life. Uncle Peter is drawn to Chrissy when he finds her sweeping the dirty city streets. Uncle Peter finds a new inspiration for living by caring for Chrissy by buying her new clothes and bringing her to Charlie’s house for his mother to feed and care for her. As the story unfolds, Chrissy is kidnapped by her drunken aunt who uses Chrissy to make her money for alcohol. Chrissy narrowly escapes her aunt to return to the loving care of Charlie, his family, and Uncle Peter.
The Story of Little Christmas is one of forgiveness and compassion. You need to read it more than once to truly appreciate its charm. At least one of our kids asks me to read it every year.
#7 The Christmas Day Kitten
James Herriot is the author of several short stories chronicling his experiences as a country veterinarian in the Yorkshire English countryside. In this tale he tells of a stray cat, found by Mrs. Pickering- one of his regular customers, who comes and goes on her farm. This cat, Debbie, unexpectedly shows up on Christmas day in a desperate condition. The situation of the poor stray is bleak, but Mr. Herriot and Mrs. Pickering take heart when they discover the Christmas gift Debbie contributes who will amuse and comfort them all.
This short story can be read in one sitting. Just a warning that, after reading this book, your kids might beg you to get a pet cat. That is exactly what happened in our house!
#8 The Story of Holly and Ivy
The Story of Holly and the Ivy is a short story told from three perspectives. The first character is a doll named Holly who lives in a toyshop with all the other toys who desperately want a child for Christmas. The second person is a little girl named Ivy, who has lived at an orphanage her whole life. For Christmas, all the other children have been adopted and the caretaker must send Holly to the Infant’s Home temporarily while she cares for her ailing sister. The third personality is a lonely police officer’s wife who buys a tree for Christmas, but insists their home is missing one important thing: a child, specifically a little girl. These three characters meet in a charming story that you will want to read again and again!
Barbara Cooney, one of my favorite illustrators, creates all the art work for this book. She is well known for her illustrations in the books The Ox Cart Man, Miss Rumphius, Roxaboxen, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, and more.
This narrative is 30 pages in length and can be read in 3-4 days.
#9 A Wind in the Willows Christmas
This short story is taken from Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows. It is 41 pages so I usually take 4-5 days to read this with our kids. In this book, you will savor the charm and the domestic comforts of home, especially during the Christmas season. Rat and Mole are traveling through the countryside after a long day. It begins to snow and dusk is drawing close. Mole stops in his tracks as he smells faintly the strong appeal which brings back to him a flood of memories. For those of you longing to return to your roots, to the best memories of home, here is Mole in my favorite paragraph of the book.
“Home!…Now, with a rush of old memories, how clearly it stood up before him, in the darkness! Shabby indeed, and small and poorly furnished, and yet his, the home he had made for himself, the home he had been so happy to get back to after his day’s work. And the home had been happy with him, too, evidently, and was missing him, and wanted him back, and was telling him so, through his nose, sorrowfully, reproachfully, but with no bitterness or anger; only with plaintive reminder that it was there, and wanted him.”
The story ends with Mole finding his old home, starting up a fire, and preparing a plain, but satisfying meal with the Rat. Field mice come to the door and sing Christmas carols to them both. They of course, invite them in to enjoy the feast together.
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I hope you find inspiration from our 9 Favorite Homeschool Christmas Chapter Books and Short Stories! Comment below with your favorite holiday treasures!
You may also enjoy these other holiday books.
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!
What a sweet list! Love, love, love the idea of incorporating seasonal reading materials around the holidays.
Thank you so much!
This is a great round up! I’m a former teacher and was introduced to a few new titles – thank you!
Thank you! Glad you like them!
Well, I have three of those at least! And now a list of others I need to be on the look out for! lol I love books, so thank you.
I love books too… 🙂 You are welcome!
I’m going to pick a book off this list to read with my 10 year old granddaughter! Thanks
Wonderful! You are welcome!
I am both ashamed and excited that I’ve never heard of any of these. We’re trying to make books more and more important to our kids, this years advent calendar is Usbornes one book a day thing. These books like great additions and I look forward to them
So glad this list inspired gave you some ideas! They really are the best of the best, in my opinion. Happy reading!