Best Christmas Books For Kids
There's something for everyone in my list of the Top 10 Very Best Christmas Books for kids.
All these books should be available at your local library or, if you'd like to buy one (or a couple), at your favourite book shop.
Starting a special
library of Christmas books
is a lovely way of getting kids involved in your family's preparations for Christmas. Why not start one for your family?
My First Christmas Board Book by DK Publishing
Babies love this bright, colourful book full of clear pictures of all things Christmassy.
There's a snowman, a stocking and lots more.
Recommended for ages: birth - 18 months
Slinki Malinki's Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd
Everyone loves Lynley Dodd's gorgeous characters and wonderful rhymes. This book gets my vote as one of the best Christmas books for kids and adults alike.
This one's about Slinki Malinki, the 'rapscallion cat' of an earlier, equally good book:
Needless to say, the mischievous Slinky Malinki can't resist the temptation to investigate the Christmas tree ...
Recommended for ages: birth - 5 years
Spot's First Christmas by Eric Hill
Little ones love Spot, the cute little puppy who stars in a series of lift-the-flap books.
In this lovely board book, Spot finds out about Christmas trees, carol-singers and presents from Father Christmas.
One of the best Christmas books for littlies around.
Recommended for ages: 6 months - 2 years
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
This is a delightful and very Australian Christmas story by much-loved Aussie children's author,
Recommended for ages: 2 - 5 years (and adults!)
If you'd like to read about how Mem Fox came to write Wombat Divine,
My First Story of Christmas by Tim Dowley
Even if you're not religious, you may like to introduce your child with the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as a way of building background knowledge. If so, this book would be a great way to do it.
It's basically a straight forward retelling of the Biblical account of the Christmas Story, with simple, carefully-written sentences and endearing illustrations by artist Roger Langton.
Recommended for ages: 4 - 8 years
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This is one of the best Christmas books to share with older kids.
It's not the kids' version or the Disney version of this classic story - this is the real, grown-up original story first published in 1843.
Yes, the language is old-fashioned but children really do need to hear this sort of writing. It increases their vocabularies and gets their imaginations working, in addition to being just a fantastic story.
You're probably already familiar with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean, miserable, bitter old man with no friends. One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take him on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways.
With the ghosts, he visits his past, present and his future and learns to love Christmas and the people all around him.
This book comes with a fun introduction by the best-selling English author Anthony Horowitz who wrote the Alex Rider books.
Even if your older kids turn their noses up at the idea of being read to, try and get them to give it a go with this one. Snuggle up together and hopefully they'll soon be engrossed in the story.
It's definitely one of the best Christmas books in print.
Recommended for ages: 10 and up
'Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit from St Nicholas by Clement C Moore
No list of the best Christmas books would be complete without 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
This well-known poem was originally written by Clement C Moore and published anonymously in a New York newspaper in 1823 under the title
A Visit from St Nicholas.
I found out an interesting fact when I was doing the research for this page. Did you know that this poem is actually responsible for introducing Santa Claus to American children?
Before it was published, Saint Nicholas wasn't really known much outside Germany however the poem became popular pretty much as soon as it was first printed and the legend of Saint Nicholas, who gave presents to children, wore a red suit and travelled in a sleigh pulled by reindeers quickly spread throughout the English-speaking world.
Some families make reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas together on Christmas Eve a special
A Christmas Treasury by Christian Birmingham
This is a truly beautiful hard-cover book, suitable for reading aloud to younger children or for older children to read themselves.
If you're looking for a book of Christmas-themed short stories and poems to keep in the family and read every year at Christmas time, this is one of the best Christmas books to buy.
Christian Birmingham's illustrations are gorgeous!
Recommended for ages: 8 to adult
Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkein
When J R R Tolkein's eldest son, John, was three years old in 1920, the first of the Father Christmas letters arrived, addressed from the North Pole.
For over twenty years, John and his brothers and sister received a letter every Christmas, written in Father Christmas's shaky script and illustrated with paintings and sketches.
The letters told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole ... how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house ...
This book is quite a find. I didn't know it existed and was delighted to come across it recently by chance.
Originally titled The Father Christmas Letters, the book was republished under its current title in 2004. The new edition is edited by Baillie Tolkein, the wife of J R R Tolkein's youngest son, Christopher.
This book is one of the best Christmas books to share with your children. Each letter is a nice length to be read as a bedtime story to younger children and the drawings and funny stories are enchanting for adults and children alike.
Older children who are fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will recognise some familiar elements ... the goblin attack on Father Christmas's cellar reminds me of the Goblin-Elf wars and his elf-secretary Ilbereth is probably the model for the elf-queen Elbereth.
Horrible Christmas by Terry Deary and Martin Brown
Horrible Christmas is a book about Christmas traditions and customs and where they came from.
It will appeal to children aged from about four years right up to adults but will probably hold a special fascination for kids in the 5-10 age group. In fact, I rate it as one of the best Christmas books for this age group.
All the customs and traditions which surround the Christian celebration of Christmas are explained but the information is served up in a wacky format with some silly (and just-plain-weird) stories thrown in.
The illustrations are hilarious and the format's great too - short anecdotes and quizzes with lots of illustrations. This makes it easy to read a bit here and there whenever it suits you - perfect if you have a child who perhaps isn't a very keen reader.
Included are things like ...
Some hardcover editions of the book include a CD called Curious Carols. With or without the CD, this is a great Christmas book for kids.