One of my favorite holiday traditions is to save certain Christmas books to read only at Christmas time. We keep a stack of Christmas books on the shelf all year. They aren’t off limits, exactly, but I don’t like to read them to the kids unless it’s at least December.
When I was little my mom would usually read The Littlest Angel out loud to us on Christmas Eve. That along with listening to Elvis’ Christmas Album and opening 1 present (usually, but not always, pajamas) ushered in the painfully sleepless night I looked forward to all year.
I planned to read 1 of our Christmas books to my kids every night this December, but with a 15-year-old planning his own Festivus party tonight and different bedtimes for the rest, we may have to do some catching up these last few days. Here are some of my favorite Christmas stories to read out loud to my kids over the holidays.
Albert and the Angels by Leslie Norris 1 of 98-year-old Albert and his talking dog, Lucille, set out to get his mom a thoughtful Christmas gift. An angelic boy and a little magic help make the present extra special. This book has lots of text, which might take a few nights to finish but it's wonderful to read out loud. I've heard the Welsh author read many times so I try to copy his charming accent.
Available at Amazon for $12.91
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant 2 of 9This Christmas story set in Appalachia is about a boy named Frankie who waits hopefully for a specific present to be delivered by the Christmas train. Spoiler: He learns about the true meaning of Christmas.
Available at Amazon for $11.33
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost 3 of 9This picture book presentation of Robert Frost's poem is edited by Susan Jeffers and I LOVE reading it at Christmas time. It's a great way to introduce little ones to the classic poem. Reading it and looking at the pictures is incredibly cozy.
Available at Amazon for $11.55
Who Will Help Santa This Year 4 of 9This quirky Christmas story explains why elves are just the best suited beings to help Santa, even though gnomes, mermaids, and the like are also willing to lend a hand. This is a short fun one to read as the anticipation for Christmas grows.
Available at Amazon for $8.99
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson 5 of 9This is one of the first books I remember a teacher reading to me. I thought the Herdmans were the most hilarious and audacious pack of kids I'd ever heard of. Your kids will love it, too. It's about 120 pages long so you can read it over a few days.
Available at Amazon for $97.99
Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Dick Schneider 6 of 9This is one of my favorite Christmas fables about Small Pine, a tree who hopes to become the Queen's pick for Christmas. But as it gives shelter to birds and other animals its branches become damaged. I won't ruin the end for you, but it's really cute.
Available at Amazon for $12.14
The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens 7 of 9An earnest, personal telling of the story of Jesus Christ's birth and death. Charles Dickens wrote this for his children and I love it. It almost feels to personal to share with the whole world, but I'm glad to be able to read it to my kids.
Available at Amazon for $10.88
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien 8 of 9This is the greatest collection ever. It includes letters from Father Christmas that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his children. They have bits of Elven and are beautifully illustrated and hand written. This is a treasure trove for kids. Makes me wish I were talented and could do something like this for my own kids.
Available at Amazon for $14.93
The Night Before Christmas by Clemente C. Moore 9 of 9This book is required reading for Christmas Eve, even though Santa smokes a pipe in it. In our copy of this book the man of the house wears a nightgown. Times change. But this poem is how kids learn the specific mechanics of Santa Claus. The bowl full of jelly, the finger placed on the side of his nose—It gives you something to think about while you're trying to fall asleep.
Available at Amazon for $8.99