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12 Days of Christmas Books

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Cozying up by the Christmas tree with a good book is one of my favorite things to do with family at Christmas. I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas books that you might also enjoy with your family. While most of these are picture books, which have illustrations on every page, don’t be surprised if older children (and even adults) enjoy these books, too!


A quick fact about reading...

Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things you can do to help your children be successful as they grow and develop in life. While these stories teach valuable lessons, spending the quality time together reading will greatly benefit your child. It’s crucial for children to understand that reading can be something you do for fun! Christmas is the perfect time to share a favorite story and to begin to develop a love of reading.


Book Pick No. 1: Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas by Sarah Young

Age Range: All ages (targeted to children but the whole family will enjoy)

This Christmas book actually starts in Genesis, where we are reminded that God has had a plan for His children since the beginning of time, and that plan was Jesus! Each section can be used as a devotion leading up to Christmas Day or can also be read all at once. I love that this book provides Scripture on every page that reinforces the teaching of God’s Providence since the beginning of time.


Book Pick No. 2: The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Age Range: 2nd grade and up

This folktale, often read at Christmas and Easter, follows the journey of 3 trees in the forest. Each tree dreams of one day becoming a treasure chest, a mighty ship carrying kings, and of becoming the tallest tree in the forest to point people to God. The trees are disappointed when they think their dreams won’t come true, but they eventually learn that “God’s love changes everything.” I love this story because of its reminder to trust God’s plan for your life. I like to add the reading and discussion of the following Scripture passages after this story: Romans 8:28, Luke 2: 1-21, Luke 8: 22-25, Luke 23: 26


Book Pick No. 3: Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi

Age Range: Pre-school - 2nd grade

A great bedtime story, Goodnight Manger, offers a glimpse of what the stable might have been like for Mary and Joseph that first night with baby Jesus. There are lots of obstacles (itchy hay, animal noises) that would prevent a newborn baby from sleeping! I like this book because it really makes the Christmas story relatable for young children (and maybe parents, too!).


Book Pick No. 4: ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas by Glenys Nellist

Age Range: All ages

Taking a cue from Clement Moore’s “Twas’ the Night Before Christmas,” this

book tells the Christmas story in perfect rhyme, each line mimicking a portion of

Moore’s poem. The rhyming and illustrations in the book are both impressive to

me! This would be a fun story to read on Christmas Eve and could easily become

a favorite family Christmas tradition.


Book Pick No. 5: The Christmas Lizard by Cory Edwards

Age Range: Preschool - 3rd grade

Oscar the Iguana thinks his family has gone crazy when he sees a tree in the middle of the living room! While exploring the tree, he meets several ornaments along the way and eventually discovers the true reason for Christmas. I like that this story is about an animal that’s not typically associated with Christmas!

Book Pick No. 6: Humphreys First Christmas by Carol Heyer

Age Range: Preschool and up

Humphrey the grumpy camel has lost his blanket and cannot get warm no matter what he tries! He complains and complains about every part of his journey until he meets a very special baby at his destination. Humphrey’s overly dramatic behavior always makes me laugh, and I love the ending of this story!


Book Pick No. 7: Christmas Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist

Age Range: Preschool and up

This book includes 8 stories, each telling a portion of the Christmas story with a lift-the-flap piece containing a “Love Letter from God”. I like that this book also gives one of God’s promises straight from Scripture at the end of each story.


 

These last five books are not necessarily about Jesus, but they all share a fun and warming message during the Christmas season. Enjoy!

Book Pick No. 8: Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Age Range: Preschool - 2nd grade

Bear usually hibernates through Christmas, but this year, his friends decide to wake him up on Christmas Eve for a party! Bear is so tired. Will he be able to stay awake even when all of his friends fall asleep? Bear is one of my favorite series characters, and I love the way he and his friends always look out for one another in each of the Karma Wilson stories.


Book Pick No. 9: Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood

Age Range: Preschool - 2nd grade

Not too many things are more exciting for a child than the threat of a bear you

can’t see! This book follows Mouse as he tries to protect all of his Christmas treasures from the big, hungry bear until Mouse has a change of heart. Make sure you read this book slowly to really draw out the suspense!

Book Pick No. 10: “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

Age Range: 3rd grade and up

While technically a short story instead of a Christmas book, O. Henry uses the

story of a very poor couple, Jim and Della, to teach the reader about sacrificial

love using a Christmas gift exchange between the couple. I have always loved the irony in O. Henry’s stories, and this story delivers the classic twist at the end. The story also lends itself to a great discussion on the ultimate sacrifice that was given by God in his infinite love for his children.

You can read the full story here: https://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/1-the_gift_of_the_magi_0.pdf

Book Pick No. 11: Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krause Rosenthal

Age Range: All ages

This book uses cookies to make vocabulary and definitions come alive, as we all can recall the different feelings and emotions associated with baking, tasting, and giving Christmas cookies! The illustrations and word meaning examples will resonate with readers of all ages. My favorite page? “Frustrated means, I can’t believe we burned them again!”

Book Pick No. 12: Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? By Jan Brett

Age Range: All ages