My All-Time Favorite Christmas Books For Families

Christmas time is here! For my family, that means decorating the tree, making wish lists, playing beautiful music, and reading all our favorite Christmas books as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We have a stack of Christmas books that we keep in storage. Breaking them out at this time of year is especially fun. We also like to visit the library to see what they have. Books are a great way of getting conversations going. The right Christmas books can be especially helpful in reinforcing great messages.

Here is a list of some current favorite Christmas books. I’ve included highlights of why we like the book, a summary to help you decide if it’ll be right for you, and links to places where you can purchase the book. And remember, you can always check for or request the book through your local library!

The Animals’ Christmas Eve (A Little Golden Book)
Written by Gale Wiersum Illustrated by Alex Steele Morgan
Highlights. The sweet story of Christmas told from the perspective of the animals. My kids love this because they love animals. So many children’s books are told from the perspective of animals that it really makes sense to my kids that Christmas would also be considered from that perspective. It just works. And the artwork is lovely.
Summary. The animals in a barn are remembering Christmas long ago. The book also progresses with counting from one small hen to ten soft lambs.
Availability: New on Amazon here. I also saw this along with other Little Golden Books available in the Christmas section at Target (near decorations).

Buck Denver asks… Why do we call it Christmas? The Reals Story Behind the Holiday
Written by Phil Vischer Illustrated by Jeremiah Alcorn
Highlights. Be warned, this book is a total spoiler when it comes to Christmas and the story of Santa. I love this book. It’s really cute with a touch of humor. In our home, we don’t really do the Santa thing. We especially love this book because it sheds light on the history behind Santa traditions, gift-giving, and how they relate to the birth of Jesus.
Summary. Buck Denver is a reporter who is confused about Christmas. He doesn’t understand the traditions of giving presents, stockings, Santa Claus, and how those things relate to the birth of Jesus. With the help of Sunday School Lady and her Magic Flannelgraph, Buck Denver learns all about the history of Christ’s Mass and Saint Nicholas Day. We learn that Saint Nicholas was a real person who gave to others because the love of Jesus had been given to him.
Availability: New on Amazon here.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
By Charles M. Schulz
Highlights. The book has been adapted from the cartoon. It doesn’t usually happen that way, but in this case, it has, and it totally works. We love to watch the Charlie Brown holiday programs, especially the Christmas story. It’s fun to read the book with my small kids because they get more from the book than they do from the cartoon, and it helps the cartoon to make more sense because we can stop and talk about things.
Summary. Christmas time is here. Charlie Brown isn’t quite feeling it, but he cannot figure out why. Lucy’s solution is a Christmas project, and the Christmas play is just the project. Things aren’t going great. Charlie Brown picks out his classic, sad tree. Finally, Linus shares the true meaning of Christmas…the story of the savior being born. And, of course, it closes with “Hark, the herald angels sing.”
Availability: We actually checked it out at the Hillsborough County library. It’s also available new on Amazon here.

The Christmas Story (A Little Golden Book)
Written by Jane Werner Watson Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
Highlights. My kids love this version of the story of Jesus’ birth. They respond well to the artwork, especially the pictures of little, baby Jesus. We read this book almost every day throughout the Christmas season.
Summary. The story of how Jesus was born from the angel’s visit to Mary to the expectation that the child would grow strong in spirit and full of wisdom.
Availability: New on Amazon here. I also saw this along with other Little Golden Books available in the Christmas section at Target (near decorations).

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
By Dr. Seuss
Highlights: Such a favorite! I love reading this book with my children and then watching the classic cartoon with them. We do books as a part of a bedtime routine, and this is a perfect one to have in the rotation for the month of December. It’s such a good moral story to open conversations with your kids about joy, kindness, perception, and grace.
Summary: The Grinch is a grumpus. He cannot stand the happiness of others, so he sets out to ruin Christmas for the Who’s by taking all their Christmas presents, food, and decorations. Only, the joy of the Who’s isn’t grounded in stuff. So they wake and celebrate all the same. This joy of theirs is so full it transforms the Grinch and actually grows his heart. He returns all their things and is greeted by them with complete grace and welcoming hearts. What a story!
Availability: New on Amazon here.

Kevin’s Christmas
By Liesbet Slegers
Highlights. Super cute and so sweet. Kevin is a little kid, and a lot of the simple things of Christmas are new and magical to him. I especially like that there is a mix of races within Kevin’s family in this book. My kids love this book!
Summary. Kevin tells us about the traditions of Christmas in his home, including a tree in his house that will be decorated, putting out the nativity set, mailing and receiving greeting cards, making presents, cooking a feast, spending time with family, and opening gifts.
Availability: We checked it out at the Hillsborough County library. New on Amazon here. The new option on Amazon is a little expensive. They also have numerous “good condition used” options.

The Night Before Christmas (A Little Golden Book)
Written by Clement C. Moore Illustrated by Corinne Malvern
Highlights. Who doesn’t love this classic Christmas story? The poetic rhythm of it is lovely to read aloud with my kids, almost sing-song. The illustrations aren’t awesome, but their simplicity works. I love reading this with my children.
Summary. “‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house… Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!” And all the details in-between.
Availability: New on Amazon here. I also saw this along with other Little Golden Books available in the Christmas section at Target (near decorations).

A Royal Christmas to Remember
Written by Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Kinney Johnson Illustrated by Omar Aranda
Highlights. My daughter especially loves anything princess. These princesses are a nice, generic break from the usual Disney princesses. I especially like that the princesses pray to God when they are in trouble. We read this book all the time during the Christmas season.
Summary. Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope have so much for Christmas that they don’t know what to do with it all. Bandits threaten to steal their Christmas and hurt the girls, but the princesses are all saved. Their experience helps them to grow. They give to the village and focus less on their material possessions and more on appreciating the greatest gift of all.
Availability: New on Amazon here.

Santa is Coming to Florida
Written by Steve Smallman Illustrated by Robert Dunn
Highlights. I love books with a local connection. This is a cute story that connects the experience of Santa with Florida, including the specific naming of cities and sites. My kids enjoy it. Before living in Tampa, we lived in the Daytona Beach area. Both cities are named. The artwork is pretty and quite well-done.
Summary. This is the story of Santa coming to Florida. Foggy weather throws Santa’s sled for a loop, but they get back on track. He goes from house to house delivering many presents to kids. He rewards his hard-working reindeer with juicy carrots. He then leaves Florida with a jolly cheer.
Availability: Used on Amazon here. New at Barnes & Noble here.

The Wonder of Christmas
Written by Dandi Daley Mackall Illustrated by Dave Hill
Highlights. This book is so good. I love the illustrations. The setting is a modern children’s play, likely at a church. It walks us through the story of Christmas by wondering what each character must have felt and thought. Empathy is such an important emotional quality, and this book very much encourages the flexing of skills related to good empathy.
Summary. “I wonder what the angels thought. I wonder how did Gabriel feel. I wonder what did Mary think. I wonder how did Joseph feel. I wonder what the couple said. I wonder what the innkeeper thought. I wonder how the shepherds felt. I wonder what the Wise Men thought. I’ll wonder how I’ll feel this year.” And ends with how the child will live out the lessons that he’s learned from the story of Christmas.
Availability: New on Amazon here.

Naomi D'Antonio
Naomi moved with her family to Tampa in the summer of 2017. She loves playing at the parks, museums, and zoo with her two kids. She also enjoys attending a local Bible study, seeing live music, reading actual books, running, eating good food, and drinking delicious dark beer. Naomi stopped working to become a stay at home mom in the fall of 2018. Naomi is married to her best friend, Dan. They have two kids - a little girl, Coco and a toddler boy, Ranger. Naomi has an English degree from the University of Florida, and has worked for the US House, owned her own business, run a non-profit, and taught English.