Favorite Christmas Books for Families (including a giveaway)

I hope this doesn’t count as playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  I just want to give you some great ideas so you can get a jump start on the holiday season.  We love to read around here anyway, but come Christmas time, I hit the library and clean them out of nativity-related stories (I know, I’m selfish).  We also own several that we love to read every year.  I keep a basket full of Christmas books by the fireplace, and send my children there anytime I want them to settle down.  We all cuddle on the couch and read stories for a while, and we usually read several stories at bedtime as well.  Here are some of our favorites:  (I got the pictures from Amazon.com)

What is Christmas? by Michele Medlock Adams is a sweet rhyming book that talks about the true meaning of the day.

The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri:  I love this one about how Jesus loves us all just as we are.

The Fourth Wise Man by Susan Summers and Jackie Morris: You might have to tell it in simpler words to the youngest children, but the story and pictures are beautiful.  (Incidentally, I watched the movie “The Fourth Wise Man” at a zone conference on my mission and it fast became a holiday favorite for me.  I really recommend it as a great Christmas movie to watch with your family.)
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson.  This is one of my favorite stories about a mouse whose selfish ways turn around when the real story of Christmas changes his heart. So sweet.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas is by the same author,but this one doesn’t count for the nativity-type.  The rhyming text is just whimsical, the story is cute, and my kids love it.

my very first Christmas Story: a very simple board book that tells the true story of Christmas with cute pictures

The Shepherd Boy’s Story: another cute Christmas story board book that encourages children to tell others about Jesus.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is an excellent read-aloud about some rotten kids from a troubled family who forced their way into roles in the local Christmas play.  Your children will love reading about all their mischievous antics, and I’ll be surprised if you can read about the actual performance without tearing up.  It’s a great story about the goodness in all of us, even where we least expect it.

Okay, so technically this is not a book. Classic Holiday Stories is a Disney DVD.  I like to read my children some kid-friendly version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, or maybe the original text this year. This DVD has the Disney cartoon, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which I think is cute and my boys really liked it last year. It will be fun to watch it again after reading the story.

Finally, I recieved this book as a gift from Jana Parkin (a.k.a. Charette in the blogging world) a few weeks ago.  It is called What Think Ye of Christmas? by Ester Rasband. 

Jana did all the artwork for the book in beautiful watercolor paintings.  It is really a lovely book that explains the Christian message behind all the symbols of Christmas time.  It helps you to find and recognize Christ even amidst a commercial wonderland.  “All things bear record of Him.” It encourages you to live out that Spirit of Christ as you celebrate the holiday.  And Jana’s paintings are so masterful and charming.  We went out to lunch the day she gave me the book as a gift, and after I took it home and read through it, I wished I had kidnapped her to come home with me and paint something beautiful like that on my walls.  Would you like to win a free copy of “What Think Ye of Christmas?” Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for this fantastic Christmas book, courtesy of the artist herself.  For anyone who would like to purchase copies as gifts, you can do so here (you can find a discount code on Jana’s blog).  Drawing will be open through Thanksgiving Day.

Do you have any favorite Christmas books in your family?


36 thoughts on “Favorite Christmas Books for Families (including a giveaway)

  1. Every year in December we read “The life of our Lord” by Charles Dickens. It is written for children. We read a section of it every night the week before Christmas.

  2. Thanks for this…I was just searching for some new titles for our collection…some of my favorites are “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect”, “Donkey’s Dream” and We were there…

  3. The prints are beautiful from the glimpses I saw of them. We like Ellen’s Christmas Dress by Thomas Monson and The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.

  4. Great suggestions here. Thanks, Steph. One of our favorites is “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey”…because the greatest miracle that results in anyone’s life is a changed heart. I also love “Auntie Claus” for the lovely atonement metaphor, and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” that teaches so beautifully that joy is not centered around things.

  5. I too was just beginning my search for this year’s Christmas books. “Santa” gives my kids each a Christmas book for Christmas and they come out during the season for regular reading and cuddling. Some of our favorites are The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt, Who is Coming to our House by Joseph Slate, and God Bless Your Way by Emily Freeman (with a score by Hilary Weeks).

  6. I know we have “The Donkey’s Christmas Song” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. We also read a Christmas story written by a distant relative about her family.

    I haven’t pulled the Christmas stuff out yet, so I can’t remember what books are in there! I do love “Cracked Wheat for Christmas” By Ted C. Hindmarsh. It’s a little bit longer than a children’s book, but great for kids and adults.

  7. I usually read chapters in Jesus the Christ associated with the Savior’s birth, and of course Luke 2! Otherwise, I love the Christmas Orange book a VT gave me a few years back.

  8. All great suggestions! I’m reading A Christmas Carol to my 6 and 4 year old right now. I’ll have to let them watch a version of it geared for kids after we’re done. I do like many of the books centered on Christ’s birth, but we also like the Grinch, Polar Express, Too Many Tamales, and other books of the season. We have a couple of baskets filled with books we read through the season, along with short stories and scriptures.

  9. We like “I Believe in Santa”. It is a book that likens Santa to Jesus Christ. It is a great message and helps the young ones (who know who Santa is) still appreciate and recognize Jesus in the holiday (when sometimes it is hard).

    • One of my favorites! “I Believe in Santa Claus” just kind of ties it all together. And I always read the Forgotten Carols on my own.

  10. I have been blog stalking you for awhile, and have especially enjoyed your General Conference Book Club. I love reading with my kids, and anything that helps keep in their little heads what Christmas is really all about is a welcome addition in our home. Thank you for your sweet and thoughtful blog.

  11. I love holiday books! Of course I read A Christmas Carol every year. There is nothing like that book to get you in the mood for giving and appreciating the holiday. Also, The Polar Express is a favorite, though I am a little sad that it was made into a movie. Does anyone else feel like the movie (though it was good) ruined the book a little? Just asking. I hope I win the What Think Ye of Christmas book. It would be wonderful to add to my collection!

    • I must agree about the movie, The Polar Express. The book is simple and beautiful. The movie is… well just a different thing altogether. But my kids like both so that’s the end of it.

  12. I love “The 4th Wise man” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” We have a collection of Christmas short stories that my visiting teacher gave me years ago… Our family loves to read one each night before bed during the month of December. These stories always touch my heart and bring the true Spirit of Christmas into our home. 🙂

    I also like, “The tale of the three trees”

  13. Growing up my dad would always read “The Fourth Wiseman”. We would go caroling and we would also do what we call, “Mormon Phantom”, where would would bake a bunch of holiday cookies or get Christmas for a family in need and then go out drop the packages/cookies at the doorstep and ring the doorbell and then watch from a far as they look for who left the package/cookies on the doorstep. It was great. This year we are not really able to buy anything for our family this year and I think this would make for a great present we could send off to family! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  14. Thanks for the suggestions. We’ll be reading A Christmas Carol as a family as soon as we finish our Pilgrim book. We read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” last year and the kids liked it so much we ended up reading it in two nights. I love books with pretty art and important messages so thank-you for letting us know about “What Think Ye of Christmas?”

  15. Bear Stays Up For Christmas is one of my all time favorite books. In fact, I love all the Bear books. We also like the Mary Engelbreit version of The Night Before Christmas. We have a stack of picture books that are in with the Christmas decorations. I can’t think of any other titles right now.

  16. I love christmas books that tell the story. I also am a sucker for beautiful illustrations (watercolor–yay!). So I’d love to win this book and bring it into our Christmas tradition.

  17. Thanks for this I was just looking for a book for our preschool book club. These give me several titles to present! What a great tradition, I think I may start doing this with my boys, LOVE it!

  18. Jana’s book is the only one on the list that I own and I absolutely adore it. Moved me to tears the first time I read it. Thanks for sharing these others…I must try to find some of them!

  19. Off to the library I’ll go. We don’t have much of a Christmas book collection, if any at all. Sad, I know. We really don’t have many holiday books at all which is weird considering I collect children’s books left and right. Thanks for all of the recommendations and for a shot at a nice gift. 🙂

  20. I also appreciate you bringing all of these titles together. It saves us lots of internet searching. I love to countdown to Christmas reading and watching different Christmas stories every night to our children. You’ve given me some meaningful stories to add to our tradition.

  21. We just had our first baby in September, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting her books a ton of books already:) I know I’ll be adding a few of these to our collection. Thanks so much for the recommendations and a chance to win such a lovely book!

  22. “The Small One,” by, Alex Walsh is one of our kids favorite Christmas stories to read. It is about a boy who is forced to sell his beloved donkey Small One, now old and weak, a young boy from Nazareth finds the perfect buyer in a man who is seeking a donkey to carry his wife, Mary, to Bethlehem. 🙂

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