Books About Christmas
There are so many Christmas books out there and it’s not always easy to tell which will appeal to your toddler. Some books that look just perfect end up flopping when the short attention span of a toddler or have so much text that you end up skipping bits and pieces. All of these books have been read to one or both of my kids as toddlers ( 1-3yrs) and passed with flying colors. Do you have a favorite Christmas book for toddlers?
Maisy’s Christmas Day by Lucy Cousins is about as simple as a book about Christmas can get which is why my toddler has asked me to read it to her 300 times. Maisy’s friends are all with her to celebrate and after opening gifts they sit down for Christmas dinner complete with paper crowns from their Christmas crackers. I like that the focus on sharing the day with people that matter .
Merry Christmas, Ollie (Gossie & Friends)by Olivier Dunrea captures the feelings of children leading up to the holidays…wait…wait…wait… I remember those feelings well. Patience is a hard thing to learn for big people, but it’s almost impossible to be patient when you are waiting for something as magical as Christmas when you are little. This book is a great vehicle for talking about being patient, and the little geese will enchant you!
Counting Christmas by Karen Katz is what you might expect from this awesome author. It’s sweet, cute and will get your littlest readers excited for Christmas. I like the sentiment that Christmas is a magical day to share with family . My daughter adores the illustrations of all the babies and the math element is a great bonus too.
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin was a big hit at our house with both my toddler and kindergartener. If you haven’t met Pete The Cat before he is a chill cool cat that never lets anything get to him. I like how in all the books Pete teaches simple lessons in resilience by example. In this book Santa is sick and Pete steps in to save Christmas even though he’s not totally sure he can do it. He gets himself ready for the challenge with a refrain ” Christmas is about giving, so I’ll give it my all.” My daughter thought it was hilarious that Pete skipped the sleigh and drove his VW minibus with the reindeer.
What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.
Merry Christmas, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star… 2 angels… etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found 4 bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.
It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon. Being a kid is hard. Being a kid waiting for Christmas to come is even harder and David Shannon remembers what it was like. As parents we try so hard to teach appreciation, gratefulness and patience but it’s so hard to be any of those things when you are little and very very excited! In this book we follow David as he gets scolded for trying to grab Christmas cookies, for peeking at gifts, and my son’s favorite naughty behavior, writing his name in the snow…with pee. Over the years I have had readers say that they aren’t a fan of the original No! David because they worried it would spark naughty ideas but that is not what these books do. Young kids have a very natural sense of what is right and wrong and they are laughing because they know what he is doing is wrong and even David knows that he has messed up, as he fears Santa will leave him nothing but coal. Of course we all know that David is not a bad kid ( Are there bad kids? I don’t think so! ) and his heart is in the right place even if sometimes he makes bad choices. Both my kids loved this book and I loved the underlying message to parents that being a kid is tough especially when parents are busy.
The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book) by Nikki Shannon Smith is a sweet book not just about Christmas but also about perseverance, attention to detail and hard work. In this story the littlest elf is working hard but just sin’t fast enough to get her teddy bear finished in time to be in Santa’s sack for Christmas. Santa delivers the bad news but encourages the little elf to keep at it and they will use the toy next year. She still doesn’t give up doing her best work even knowing Santa is already off to children’s homes everywhere. Right after she is done Santa comes back, a new baby was born and he needs that teddy bear! I loved the message and my son did too. Very sweet book
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep. They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!
Mini Merry Book: Gingerbread Joy by Julia Woolf is a tiny little book that my 6 month old is nuts about. A good friend and I decided to do only books as gifts to each other’s kids this year and this was one of the board books my daughter received. As expected it’s a super simple book about baking gingerbread houses and people as a treat at Christmas time. What my daughter loves are the shiny foil inserts in the already fun illustrations. She smacks them over and over with her chubby baby hands and the text is simple enough my son can help read it to her. All in all a perfect little stocking stuffer !
We are off to the library today to grab what’s left of their Christmas themed books to go with all our upcoming Christmas themed crafts and activities. These 24 books are memorable ones from years past . If you click on the book title below it will take you to the original review post . One of my favorite ways of getting my kids into the spirit of Christmas is our holiday book tradition.
What’s your family’s favorite Christmas book?
- A Small Christmas
- Albert’s Christmas
- Bear Stays Up For Christmas
- Christmas In The Barn
- Cock-A-Doodle Christmas
- Great Joy
- Guess Who’s Coming To Santa’s For Dinner?
- Happy Christmas Gemma
- Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker
- How Santa Got His Job
- It’s Christmas
- Merry Christmas Mouse
- Merry Christmas Ollie
- Merry Un-Christmas
- My Penguin Osbert
- Olive The Other Reindeer
- Only A Star
- Santa Kid
- The Little Drummer Mouse
- The Night Before Christmas
- The Star Tree
- The Twelve Days Of Christmas
- What is Christmas?
- Who is Coming to Our House?
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson tickles my funny bone and my son thought it was funny and full of adventure too. Stick Man is a happy stick who loves with his stick family until a dog grabs him and he ends up far from his family but determined to get home. As the seasons change he is used as many things from a sword, a bat and even an arm for a snowman. After that he ends up in a fireplace just as a certain jolly old guy gets stuck in the chimney. This is a unique story we both enjoyed , you will never look at another stick in your child’s hands without wondering what it’s been turned into .
Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well. The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.
Santasaurus by Niamh Sharkey is my new favorite Christmas book. It’s perfect for all the dinosaur crazy kids and ones not even into dinosaurs will still enjoy the sweet story. Ollie, Molly and Milo are dino siblings who are getting prepared for Christmas by making decorations, eating treats and writing letters to Santasaurus. Milo asks for a trip on Santasaurus’s sleigh and on Christmas Eve he sneaks down to find Santasaurus waiting for him. I love this book because as a child I couldn’t think of anything more magical than going with Santa on his sleigh, well maybe hanging out in his toy shop, either way this brought back that wonder. The illustrations are bright , fun and add to the magical feeling of this book.
Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit like snuggling up with my kids and reading Christmas books. I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet but if you are hoping to find these books at your local library you need to get them now! No time to read this week? You aren’t the only one. I collaborated on an article with Stacie Billis at The Family Kitchen all about ways to keep your kids busy while you are preparing for the holidays.
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown will sound very familiar to you if you are a fan of her book The Big Red Barn, which both my son and I am. I like this book but my son kept saying ” That’s not right” thinking that this was the other book. They are that similar. In this book though there is something that the other doesn’t have, most notably Baby Jesus. It’s a calm and gentle book about the birth of Jesus in a way only Margaret Wise Brown could accomplish. I would like to read it next year to my son when he can appreciate that it’s not supposed to be exactly the same as the Big Red Barn. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers alike!
Happy Christmas, Gemma by Sarah Hayes is a hidden gem. The book is narrated by a preschooler, the older brother to little baby Gemma. Throughout this family’s preperations for and celebration of Christmas he notes how he does what he is supposed to and his baby sister does not. She makes messes, pulls the ornaments off the tree, has terrible table manners during Christmas dinner and so much more! What makes this a gem in my mind is that no one ever corrects her, these are all age appropriate behaviors and the family is loving and accepting. Perfect for families like mine who are expecting a baby, or those with older siblings who like to boss their younger ones around and may need a reminder that babies are still learning, just like they are!
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by World War 1 as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother in this book is, she does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works. It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.
My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a perfect book for this activity. In this story a little boy writes to Santa and asks for a very specific gift, a real live penguin! It’s not long before he realizes that a real live penguin is not as much fun as he thought it would be. He is very responsible though and sacrifices a lot for Osbert. He is thankful to Santa for getting his gift exactly right but writes a follow up letter explaining how it would be ok if Santa sent a replacement. Very cute story, it’s not short though but my 3 year old listened to it happily for a bedtime story. Laughing at the funny parts and pointing out that he wrote a letter to Santa too, but he didn’t ask for a penguin… thank goodness!
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job. It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty, develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig! There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!
Bear Stays Up for Christmasby Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep. They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!