If you are looking for simple ways to make Christmas meaningful for your young kids, read to them! Read them the VERY BEST picture books. Cut out the twaddle. Find living books that have stood the test of time. Look for books that you want to read over and over again because they are beautiful and move you in some way. Here are our 9 Favorite Christmas Picture Books!
For more Christmas inspiration, you may also enjoy reading about our 9 Favorite Homeschool Christmas Chapter Books and Short Stories.
If you go to the library or any book store, it won’t take you long to see that there are tons and tons of Christmas picture books out there for kids. It can be overwhelming to pick books that you know you and your kids will enjoy. I have a few Christmas picture books that are SO good that I read them to my kids over and over again every year. They have become to us like good friends. Weed out the drivel and look for these kinds of books for your family.
One thing that I think is important when choosing good picture books is to consider the illustrator. The pictures are the highlight of these stories. Some of the books on our list are illustrated by some of my favorite artists.
Video: 9 Favorite Christmas Picture Books
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This book is told in poetic form. It is a simple and short read, each line building on the phrase “the quiet stable, dusty and brown” to emphasize the humble state of Christ’s birth. See the manger, the animals, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and all the key characters of the nativity. Finally, see baby Jesus, the God-man become an infant who cries and looks around, snuggling his mother. I love how this book helps kids imagine what it must have been like when Christ was born.
In this story, the well-to-do Mr. Willowby orders a Christmas tree. When it is delivered, he puts it in his front window only to realize it is slightly too big and bends at the top. He has his butler cut of the tip and passes it down to his maid Miss Adelaide. When Miss Adelaide puts it in her living room, she has the same problem! She cuts off the top and passes it on to Timm the gardener. The story continues as the tippy top of each tree gets passed down to the bear, fox, rabbit, and finally, a family of mice. In the end all the people and animals are proud to have a Christmas tree as fine as Mr. Willowby’s!
If you are a fan of Margaret Wise Brown books such as The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon, you will also love this Christmas book written by her.
Come watch a little fir tree grow from a sapling to its full splendor as the Christmas tree for little children to admire and decorate. This fir tree is the Christmas tree every year for one unfortunate little boy who is lame in his legs. His father digs the tree up and puts it in a planter beside his bed every winter. Then, in spring, he takes the tree back out to the field to grow over the summer. One year the father doesn’t come to dig up the tree for his son. The tree waits and waits. Finally, he hears singing in the distance, growing closer. This year the boy comes to the tree with a surprise to show him.
The lovely thing about this book is the song “Oh Christmas Tree” woven throughout the storyline. You simply must sing the lines to your kids as it comes into the narrative! It makes all the difference in the telling of the tale.
What is a Christmas without the famous poem by Clement C. Moore “Twas the Night Before Christmas”? This is a poem/book to read again and again leading up to Christmas. If you read this regularly to your kids, you will hear them reciting it here and there throughout the day. And, they can help you every time you come to the end of the book with “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Jan Brett illustrates this book and she does not disappoint!
The gruff Mr. Toomey is the valley’s gifted craftsman. He creates beautiful carvings of wood in his shop. He has a harsh demeanor to the town folk, a man with no time for child’s play, but it is because he hides a deep wound behind his hardened appearance. One day the Widow McDowell and her son request him to make a carving of the nativity for the upcoming Christmas season. The catch is that she wants her son to be able to sit and watch the wood carver as he works so he can learn some of his trade. Reluctantly, Mr. Toomey agrees.
With each piece Mr. Toomey whittles, the inquisitive young Thomas interrupts his work with questions about how the figure of a lamb or ox or Mary or Jesus might have looked. Working on this project over time slowly softens Mr. Toomey’s heart. He presents the gift to Thomas and Widow McDowell with a new sense of healing and hope.
This is such a moving story. You don’t want to miss this one!
This story is told from the perspective a little girl who is remembering what it was like to go to her grandparents’ cottage in the country at Christmastime. Winter in the country is slow and quiet. Country folk have simple holiday traditions: making cookies, decorating the tree, services at the local church. But to a young girl, the memories are vivid.
Reading this book with your kids just might take you back to detailed memories of the times you spent with your grandparents! Everybody can use a little time in the country to inspire the soul!
A stranger has come into town and buys an old abandoned building on main street. Everybody wants to know what he is building in his shop?! One young girl offers to help him as he works. As she unpacks the boxes, she gets to be the first one to see what kind of a store this will be… a candy store!
Lucy helps Mr. Sonneman fill all the jars with colorful gems of candy, but one candy piques her curiosity. The candy cane. Why is it striped? What is the purpose of the unusual shape? Using the candy cane, Mr. Sonneman tells her the story of Christ’s birth, suffering, and offer of salvation. Lucy decides that this is a story that needs to be TOLD! Together they walk through the town, sharing a candy cane with neighbors. They tell the story behind it and invite people to the new candy store.
This tale takes place in the hills of Appalachia in a small town. Every year, one family provides the tree in the local church. In the spring, Ruthie and her Papa climb the high rocky craig to pick out the perfect balsam fir. They mark it with a ribbon.
But not long after, Papa is called away to war. Ruthie and Mama have to manage the farm alone all summer. They only hope that Papa can return in time for Christmas, especially since Ruthie has been chosen as the heavenly angel. This is a feel good story with a heart warming end. Your kids will want to hear it again and again!
If you are a fan of the beautiful illustrations of Barbara Cooney, this book is another of her treasures! Barbara Cooney has also illustrated the books Roxaboxen, The Ox Cart Man, Miss Rumphius, and The Holly and Ivy Story. She is one of my favorites!
Ok, so this isn’t the absolute best book out there, but if you love the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books as much as we do, you will understand why this book made it to my list of favorites. Follow mouse as he goes to the movies, eats popcorn, realizes that he wants to string it on his Christmas tree. This leads him to building a snowman, having a snowball fight, making Christmas ornaments, and of course, at the end, back to the movies! I love Felicia Bond’s art work, so this is another reason to choose this book at Christmas time.
PIn it! 9 Favorite Christmas Picture Books
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I hope you find inspiration from our 9 Favorite Christmas Picture Books! Comment below with your favorite holiday treasures!
You may also enjoy these other holiday books.
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!